With COP21 negotiations in Paris focused on reaching a climate agreement, the central role of education in creating a sustainable future has largely been overshadowed, an issue that Education International is urging leaders to acknowledge.
For Education International (EI), the preservation of an article stressing the importance of education and training in the fight against climate change within the final Conference of the Parties 21 (COP21) agreement is crucial.
The same can be said about the section of the agreement dealing with research. By eliminating any reference to the necessary financial resources for its implementation, negotiators have significantly weakened the section’s scope.
Given EI’s resolution on education for sustainable development and on public research and the environmental crisis adopted in July 2015 at its last World Congress, EI is very concerned that the final agreement proves unsatisfactory on these very important aspects it considers crucial for the future of the fight against climate change.
This message was reiterated by EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen in his remarks at a COP21 event, stressing “the significant role which the teaching profession and our school systems play or can play in achieving ‘Global Climate Consciousness’.”
To properly prepare our children for these challenges which lie before them, he said, education must be a key component to a climate deal. “A serious commitment must be made to ensure that sustainable development education is fully integrated in school systems. It should be mandated within the curriculum.”
With ‘Education Day’ at COP21 held on Friday, van Leeuwen shared his disappointment that education only got one day, and found it “puzzling” why education has not been given a more prominent place in article 8 of the conference’s draft agreement.