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These pages and sections capture news of climate change and stories about the groundswell of climate action by governments, companies, cities, the UN and civil society around the globe. To provide feedback, email us at press@unfccc.int Photo©Naziha Mestaoui

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Education is a key component of the global response to climate change, and crucial for the for the rapid and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.

However, less than 40% of countries surveyed by a recent UNESCO report include climate change-related issues in school curricula.

Speaking during Education Day at the UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakech, the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Patricia Espinosa said:

“Governments need to integrate training, public awareness, public participation and public access to information into all of their climate action activities – both in the areas of curbing greenhouse gas emissions and building resilience. These elements must also be integrated into their national climate action plans - their Nationally Determined Contributions - as well as in long-term, low-emission development strategies”.

Inspiring initiatives of climate change education

Education Day at COP22 was hosted by the Kingdom of Morocco and the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection, in partnership with the UNFCCC, UNESCO and the UN Alliance on Climate Change Education, Training and Public Awareness. It showcased how education connects implementation of action on climate change by government and non-government stakeholders. During the Education Day governments, UN agencies, universities, schools, NGOs teachers, youth organizations and grassroots communities spoke of the  groundswell of climate action currently underway, and highlighted innovative solutions and good practices for formal, non-formal and informal climate change education.

Some of the examples mentioned were:

  • UNESCO is mobilizing its network of 10,000 UNESCO Associated Schools (ASPnet) to implement climate change through a ‘whole-school approach’, using its newly-developed Guidelines for Whole School Climate Actions.
  • Costa Rica has a National Strategy on Climate Change that includes specific attention to education in order to boost environmental literacy. Some 2,000 schools have undertaken environmental protection actions since 2004.
  • Kenya has developed a national action plan on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) being rolled out across the country, with a strong capacity-building and advocacy component, in cooperation with UNESCO.
  • In Viet Nam, the Ministry of Education and Training, UNESCO and Samsung launched an initiative to bring together schools, communities and the society at large to create an enabling environment for Education for Sustainable Development. Currently, the country is developing a national framework for ESD with UNESCO’s support.

The highligh of Education Day was a high-Level Event with the participation of Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Hasnaak, President, of the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection. She said:

“The Paris Agreement confirms the importance of education, training and awareness-raising in the fight against climate change. Accordingly, it is our duty, here in Marrakech, to work together to develop and improve environmental education, particularly with regards to climate change."

Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO said UNESCO supports Member States in scaling up the education component of their climate responses in particular through the Global Action Programme (GAP) on ESD.

The programme aims to accelerate progress towards sustainable development by generating and scaling up action in five Priority Action Areas: 1) advancing policy; 2) transforming learning and training environments; 3) building capacities of educators and trainers; 4) empowering and mobilizing youth; 5) accelerating sustainable solutions at local level. Climate change is a critical focus in all five areas.

Irina Bokova said that countries need a strategic and systemic approach to climate action, backed by the necessary resources:

“This is where the “Action for Climate Empowerment Guidelines” for accelerating solutions through education, training and public awareness developed jointly by UNESCO and UNFCCC come in and provide a valuable roadmap. Action is our key word at this Conference and it calls for partnerships”.

The Zoom campaign team hand over green footprints to Patricia Espinosa

On Education Day, the  ZOOM campaign presented the climate protection efforts of more than 174 thousand children from over 10 countries to UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa. The children earned a total of 1,7 million “green footprints” as part of the Climate Alliance’s ZOOM campaign by making climate-friendly trips to school, saving energy in their classrooms, eating regional foods and choosing notebooks made with recycled paper.

 “The children want government delegates to be better role models and fill the Paris Agreement with both concrete and creative climate action – much like the children do in their schools and at home with their parents”, said Markus Hafner-Auinger from the Climate Alliance.

About Acton for Climate Empowerment

Education, training and public awareness on climate change - "Action for Climate Empowerment" (ACE) - is the focus of Article 6 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The critical role of education in the global climate change response was further recognized in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as in the Article 12 of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

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