Education is an essential component and a catalyst for responding to global climate change. This is outlined in Article 6 of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Article 12 of the Paris Agreement.
To highlight the importance of promoting knowledge and skills development, the 23rd Conferences of the Parties (COP23) to the UNFCCC, held in Bonn from 6-17 November, dedicated a full day to climate change education in their programme. UN CC:Learn and the UN System have actively participated in the activities of the day.
A One UN side-event was held on 16 November 2017, focusing on “Dreaming Big in Climate Education” through innovative partnerships. This event was jointly organized by UN CC:Learn Supports Education Day at COP23.
Through two panel discussions and interactions with the public, the event aimed at:
- Demonstrating the tangible contribution that learning and skills development is already making to climate change adaptation and mitigation,
- Discussing new types of partnerships needed to engage a critical mass of children, youth, professionals, decision-makers and society as a whole in climate action.
Dr. Amanda Katili Niode, Manager of the Climate Reality Project, Indonesia opened the event. She gave the audience and panelists a reflection on why it is important to dream big in climate change education and the difference it can make in the lives of people. Dr. Katili highlighted her experience collaborating with UN CC:Learn as an example of a successful partnership.
After Dr. Katili’s remarks, a first panel focused on the question: “How can partnerships increase the quality and relevance of education and training for mitigating and adapting to climate change?”. Issues discussed include the importance of partnerships to increase the relevance of professional training for green jobs, to tailor content to different contexts and audiences, and to spread comprehensive climate change education in schools, leading to concrete behavior change among youth and their communities.
The second panel discussion focused on the question: “How can partnerships contribute to educating a critical mass of individuals on climate change?”. Points raised include the relevance of the Convention of the Rights of the Child as a starting point to ensure that all children receive an education about their environment, the importance of mobilizing international networks for relevant outreach, coupled with advocacy, the added value of partnerships to support teachers around the world, and the role of technology in helping to promote climate change education.
Dr. Emmanuel Tachie Obeng, National ACE Focal Point, Environment Protection Agency, Ghana and UN CC:Learn Ambassador, concluded the event by providing a reflection on the key ideas that were highlighted from a country perspective.
Throughout the discussions, the panelists shared their own experiences and perspectives but one theme was common: the crucial role of bringing different stakeholders together to reach out to more people while providing education that is relevant and tailored to the needs of the end-users.
High-Level Event: Uniting for Climate Education Further, Faster, Together through Partnerships.
In partnership with UNFCCC, UNESCO and the United Nations Alliance on Climate Change Education, Training and Public Awareness, of which UNITAR/UN CC:Learn is a partner, the COP23 presidency organized a high-level event that brought together ministers, international organizations and non-Party stakeholders to discuss how partnerships on education can accelerate the implementation of the Paris Climate Change Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
As part of its support to Education Day, UN CC:Learn contributed to the One UN Exhibit on Quality Education and Climate Classroom on Climate Empowerment. For further information on UN CC:Learn participation at COP23, please click here.