by Alexander Pfeiffer
Today was Education Day at the COP. Just like Gender, Farmer’s, and African Day, the theme day today was heavily structured around its leitmotif with side events, high level panels, and actions. It kicked-off in the morning with a high-level event with UNFCCC Secretary Patricia Espinosa and Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Hasnaa of Morocco. Both stressed the importance of education for climate change. They also re-emphasized that much more must be done to make sure that countries and organizations work together to achieve a widespread awareness and understanding of climate change in the broad public. As Patricia Espinosa put it: “Transformations don’t happen in isolation, they require education and they require partnerships.”
Education has a special and important role in fighting climate change. In fact, it is important enough to be mentioned in a dedicated article (one of only 26 articles) within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Article 6 (‘Education, Training, and Public Awareness’) states that to effectively fight climate change, participating nations (parties) shall “promote and facilitate […] the development and implementation of educational and public awareness programmes […]; public access to information […]; public participation in addressing climate change and its effects and developing adequate responses; and training of scientific, technical and managerial personnel.”
To understand the reasons for and impacts of climate change, it is important to grasp the urgency of why we must act to reduce CO2 emissions decisively, and why we must work on adapting societies and economies to prepare for the climate change that we can no longer avoid. Article 6 emphasizes the role education, training and public awareness play. Climate change is the entry point for a global transformation to a sustainable future. Everyone has something to learn and to contribute to that transformation. Education and training enables society to be a part of the solution.
Alex is a delegate in Young European Leadership’s delegation to the COP and a doctorate student at the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) at the Oxford Martin School.
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