Article / 02 May, 2019
Climate Education Initiatives Pick up Pace

UN Climate Change News, 02 May 2019 – The UN, governments and many organizations are ramping up efforts to boost climate education – both relating to climate science, and ways to tackling climate change. New projects and initiatives are emerging to educate young people, boosted by mandates under UN Climate Change.

The clearly visible impacts of climate change are accelerating and are threating to disrupt the lives of billions of people around the world. Notably the lives and livelihoods of younger generations are at stake. Acting now with better education can have a major impact a few years down the road, when young people come of age and can take the decisions that shape society.

Angus Mackay, Manager of the Climate Change Programme at UNITAR, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, says:

"We’ve come to the conclusion that education is probably the fundamental and most cost-effective way to deal with climate change. Because it has to do with innovation and inspiration and that’s probably the easiest way to scale things up.” 

One good example of the groundswell of educational initiative is that of Hardwood education, which has teamed up with the One UN Climate Change Learning Partnership (UNITAR; UN CC:Learn) and launched a climate change academy for teachers in the UK.

At least 80 teachers are required to sign-up and complete 5 online courses to be accredited as a “Climate Change Teacher.” The next phase involves children teaching other children through a series of interactive videos that can be incorporated into classes. This allows students to communicate more effectively with their peers to learn about climate change.

While schools in different countries have different challenges introducing climate change into the curriculum as a separate subject, this initiative is based on the current school curriculum but with Climate Change Literacy at their core. The lessons and new learning materials for school teachers and students build on the Youth Climate Dialogues and UN CC:Learn e-learning resources and are delivered via tablet computers.

If the project is successful in the UK, the long-term plan is to scale it up internationally. The experience gained from the British edition will lay the groundwork for broader climate change learning methodology that can be applied within different national education systems including the most climate-vulnerable ones (Africa, Asia and Central America).

The UK pilot project was introduced during COP24:

Other inspiring examples of climate education can be seen in countries such as Indonesia, which has  been increasingly experiencing floods, droughts and landslides. Indonesia has launched an initiative to focus on educating the next generation of citizens and decision-makers by making teachers part of the solution to climate change.

This initiative was inspired by a teachers’ training programme in the Dominican Republic, with UN CC: Learn’s support.

In Ethiopia, a UN CC: Learn project implemented in 2015 under the joint leadership of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change and the Ministry of Education, helped launch the Climate Change Education Strategy of Ethiopia 2017-2030. The strategy is aligned with national action plans on climate change education and international frameworks that Ethiopia has signed up to, such as the Kyoto Protocol, Paris Agreement and Agenda 2030.

The goal is to enhance the level of integration of climate change education into the education system and raise awareness on the climate change education strategy, so that every school in Ethiopia becomes a champion of building a climate-resilient and green economy by 2030.

For information about UN CC:Learn projects in other countries click here.

About UN Climate Change’s Action for Climate Empowerment

Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) recognizes the importance of climate change education, training, public awareness, public participation and public access to information, and asks Parties to cooperate in taking appropriate measures. ACE is the focus of Article 6 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the parent treaty of the Paris Agreement.

The Paris Climate Change Agreement also encourages Parties to continue to promote the systematic integration of gender-sensitive and participatory education, training, public awareness, public participation, public access to information, and regional and international cooperation into all mitigation and adaptation activities implemented under the Convention, as well as under the Paris Agreement, as appropriate, including into the processes of designing and implementing their nationally determined contributions, national adaptation plans, long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies and climate policies.

You can find useful ACE resources here.

About UN CC:Learn

UN CC:Learn is a partnership of more than 30 multilateral organizations supporting countries to design and implement systematic, recurrent and results-oriented climate change learning. Through its engagement at the national and global levels, UN CC:Learn contributes to the implementation of climate change training, education and public awareness-raising.