By Mark Richmond, director, Division of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development, UNESCO
The latest round of international climate talks, which began on November 28 in Durban, South Africa, is focused on preventing “dangerous human interference with the climate system” by securing a new binding agreement on greenhouse-gas emissions. But the question of how to cope with the impact of climate change is also high on the agenda – and that’s where education has a vital role to play.
Climate change education should aim not only to foster public understanding of climate change and “climate literacy” among students, but also to reorient the entire education system to achieve low-emission and climate-resilient development. This includes, for example, rethinking unsustainable lifestyles and promoting responsible consumption, “greening” technical and vocational education and training, integrating disaster preparedness in education, and building safe and green schools.
UNESCO promotes climate change education as a central element of the global response to climate change through its Climate Change Education for Sustainable Development programme, within the framework of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).
Equipping people with knowledge, skills and values to cope with climate change and ensuring safe, inclusive and eco-friendly learning environments are a vital part of facing the challenge of sustainable development.