The crucial role of educators indelivering education for sustainable development and climate change education was reaffirmed at the “Sustainability starts with educators” roundtable at the 22nd Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
“As a world federation of unions representing organisations of teachers and other education professionals across the globe, Education International (EI) calls upon the United Nations (UN) and all governments to address the climate change emergency,” said EI representative Dennis Sinyolo at the roundtable co-organised by EI, UNESCO, and the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection, in the framework of the 22nd Conference of Parties (COP22) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, on 14 November in Marrakech, Morocco.
EI: education a key tool
“Teachers of the world, united under the EI banner, believe that education and teachers are the most powerful agents you can trust in the fight against climate change,” stressed Sinyolo. He acknowledged that adequate training, tools, resources, and support from governments and society are necessary for teachers to successfully deliver effective education for sustainable development (ESD) and climate change education (CCE).
New measures should be taken to adopt a model of sustainable development that meets the current needs of society without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs, Sinyolo added.
Implications of new economy
EI believes that “education is the fuel of the future” and a key tool to achieve sustainable development and to raise global awareness on climate change, he added. Indeed, the education sector has a crucial role to play in the transition to a low carbon global economy, and a new type of economy has massive implications for workers and the education and training that will be needed to prepare young people for life and for work. Teachers and educators are crucial in the delivery of quality ESD and CCE, he said.
Good practices on climate change education do exist, he emphasised, i.e. education institutions and teachers have made tremendous efforts in protecting the environment and fighting against climate change through greening schools, recycling programmes, or community awareness-raising campaigns. EI has been working with its affiliates to develop teacher competence profiles or guidelines on professional teaching standards, incorporating ESD and CCE.
At the COP21 held in Paris, France, in December 2015, which put climate change education at the centre of efforts to combat climate change, EI endorsed the demands of the international trade union movement for a just transition for workers confronted by significant economic changes that are already underway. EI also supports the recommendations submitted by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) to COP22.
EI Recommendations to COP22
Sinyolo highlighted EI’s four main demands to the UN and governments at the COP22 conference:
· Place education at the centre of national, regional and global efforts to combat climate change
· Adopt measures to strengthen initial teacher education and continuous professional development programmes to equip teachers and other education professionals with the competences needed to teach Education for ESD and CCE and support students to acquire knowledge, skills, attitudes and values needed to protect the planet
· Consolidate the Paris Agreement by introducing or restoring references to adequate and predictable financial support for CCE, training and research with an application across all parties, both developing and developed countries
· Make sure that international climate governance enforces the UN sustainable development goals and the UNESCO Global Action Programme on ESD to provide a robust international framework to curb climate change
You can learn more about the EI recommendations for COP22 here