Experts Adopt Recommendations on Climate Change Education in SIDS

23 September 2011: The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) organized an Expert Meeting on Climate Change Education for Sustainable Development and Adaptation in Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which focused the challenges that climate change poses to education systems in SIDS, and on promoting education to enhance adaptation to climate change in the context of sustainable development.

The meeting took place from 21-23 September 2011, in Nassau, the Bahamas, and brought together around 100 experts, primarily from SIDS in the Caribbean, the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean, representing a multi-disciplinary and diverse group of stakeholders. Participants adopted recommendations to serve as a contribution to the 17th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 17) to the UN Frameowrk Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20), and the End-of-Decade Conference of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development in 2014.

The recommendations include to: take into account the interdisciplinary nature of Climate Change Education for Sustainable Development (CCESD); link the local and global perspectives in CCESD; link and integrate education for disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change education; involve learners and communities in the planning and design of educational programmes and activities; link education and research; encourage the development of a SIDS research agenda; support interregional SIDS-SIDS cooperation; learn from local and indigenous knowledge and respect other systems of knowledge and values; tailor education programmes and public awareness campaigns to the needs of different learner groups; reach and empower the most vulnerable; diversify climate change communication; link climate change education to the arts; support the maintenance of healthy ecosystems; build teachers' capacities on climate change mitigation and adaptation; encourage the development of pedagogies that support quality education, with a special emphasis on skills and competences required to mitigate and adapt to climate change in SIDS; adjust educational planning to climate change; advocate for climate change education in SIDS and mainstream CCESD in international mechanisms and processes; adopt a system-wide approach; make adaptation funds available for CCESD; and prepare learners to cope with forced migration and other potential threats to human security posed by climate change.

In the coming years, UNESCO's Climate Change Education for Sustainable Development programme plans to implement at least four country programmes in Africa and SIDS, and will develop tools including a Climate Change Education Teacher Education Course and policy guidelines for the inclusion of climate change into curricula. During the 2012-2013 biennium, UNESCO's Intersectoral Platform on SIDS will facilitate the further development of interdisciplinary action specifically targeted towards SIDS priorities. [CC:Learn Press Release] [UNESCO Press Release] [IISD RS Sources]