Education International
Education International

Critical moment reached before global climate negotiations kick-off

published 22 October 2015 updated 29 October 2015

With time ticking away before the world’s leaders meet in Paris in December to strike a new climate deal, sustainable development education is one step closer to becoming a reality in curriculum around the world.

The stage for negotiating a new global climate deal at the 21st meeting of the UN Conference of Parties, better known as COP21, is set after pre-talks were finalised today. High level discussions are set to take place in Paris in early December.

Education International (EI) is happy to learn that education, and its importance in communicating sustainable development, has been included in the preliminary language to be on the table before heads of state and government.

Participating at COP21 as part of the civil society group, EI is set to make a bold statement about how a comprehensive agreement is needed for the world’s future. The general secretary of EI, Fred van Leeuwen, is set to head a panel discussion with other education unions and environment organisations on November 3, the day before negotiations begin. The panel is going to focus on how education is crucial in making sustainable development a reality.

“We want to see that education is included as an integral part of a climate deal,” said EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen. “In order for this to happen, financial commitments must be added to any agreement to ensure that schools and teachers have the resources to include climate change in curriculum, which is particularly necessary in developing countries where these issues are not only having a direct impact on society but are being grossly neglected.”

Van Leeuwen says that teachers are fully committed to making sustainable development a priority across the education spectrum, from primary to university studies.

Climate change was a focus at EI’s latest quadrennial congress last July, where resolutions were passed to make sustainable development one of the organisations priorities in its programmes moving forward. The UN Sustainable Development Goals, adapted in September, has included in target 4.7 of the education goal that by 2030 “all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development.”