Conferences COP23 - 2017

COP23: Education day

By: Alicia Medina Valdiviezo


Title: “Uniting for Climate Education Further, Faster, Together through Partnerships”
Place and time: 11:30 – 13:00 , Meeting Room 6, Bonn Zone

Panel discussion at the Education Day, High Level Event (16.11.17)

The solutions to climate change are also the paths to a safer, healthier, cleaner and more prosperous future for all, said this morning Patricia Espinoza, UNFCCC Executive Secretary. However, for such a future to become a reality, people in all countries and at all levels of society need to have a better understanding of the issue and get involved. In this context, a better future cannot exist without education. That is why Article 12 of the Paris Agreement, focused on enhancing climate change education, was the first to be agreed upon by countries.

Article 12. Parties shall cooperate in taking measures, as appropriate, to enhance climate change education, training, public awareness, public participation and public access to information, recognizing the importance of these steps with respect to enhancing actions under this Agreement.

On Education Day at COP23, the COP23 Presidency in partnership with UNFCCC, UNESCO, the UN Alliance on Climate Change, Education, Training and Public Awareness and the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection hosted a high-level event. Here, together environment and education ministers, as well as international organizations, meet to discuss partnerships for education as the key to prepare societies for global change and an integral part of any strategy to combat climate change and achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

SDG 4.  Quality Education” & “SDG 13.  Climate Action

Patricia Espinoza’s speech included some statistics about a recent worldwide citizen survey on climate change. To the question what do you think it is the best instrument to reduce the level of greenhouse gases emissions?, instead of electric cars or reforestation, 77% of people chose education and supported the idea of education in the middle or long term would trigger the implementation of climate solutions. Besides, later on, she claimed that only 40% of Parties have include climate change in their educational curricula, which disrupts the local action and the innovative students and young people to take action.

Princess Lalla Hasnaa of Morocco highlighted as well the undeniable importance of Climate Education for changing people’s perception and behaviour through education is the way to create long-lasting positive impact. Indeed, transforming our societies towards low carbon and resilience means changing values, norms and behaviour, in other words:

<< It’s time to pay attention to ‘education for social change’ strategies and create more examples in the climate change community too. >>
– Shyamal Majumdar, UNESCO

Finally, Dessina Williams from the department of SDGs implementation added that to do it truly effective right partnerships are still required. All speakers strongly concluded that there is a gap between what it is happening, what we already know and what we should do to address the issue.  

The key messages overall were:

  • Education as a key driver in the implementation of the Paris Climate Change Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • It is still required to provide further guidance on how education can be integrated into NDCs.
  • Keep working to set up strategic orientations and priority actions for anchoring climate change education and Education for Sustainable Development in national education policies and systems at government level sectors and at sub-national and local levels.
  • It is time to recognise good practices linking climate change education and the SDGs.


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