COP23: States must be more ambitious with regard to climate change education and training

published 15 November 2017 updated 16 November 2017

The key role of education and training on sustainable development to safeguard the planet was highlighted at the 23rd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Agreement on Climate Change.

The 23rd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Agreement on Climate Change (COP23), which is being held in Bonn between 6 and 17 November, began its second and final week in Bonn under the presidency of Fiji. This is a strong symbol given that this small country in the Pacific is already being hit hard by the effects of climate change, in particular the devastation caused by cyclones, as recalled Richard Langlois, economist and representative of Education International (EI) at the COP23.

Current carbon emissions are a grave threat to humanity

The findings detailed in the discussions at the COP23 are clear and unequivocal: the current trajectory of carbon emissions, should it remain unchanged, would render it impossible to reach the objective of the Paris Agreement which, according to a majority of experts, is a minimum threshold that should not be exceeded at the risk of exposing humanity to grave danger.

This situation requires urgent mobilisation of all relevant stakeholders, and government first among them, which must rapidly fulfil their role as leaders. According to the trade union movement, which was strongly represented in Bonn, it is imperative for governments to strengthen international climate governance. This means raising their "ambitions" by 2020, observing their financial commitments and committing to a fair transition for workers and populations.

EI: The planet's future depends on generations of educated citizens informed about the climate emergency

According to EI, better governance must also include an ambitious programme on climate-related education and training. The education sector has a crucial role to play in the transition towards a low carbon emission global economy.

With new business models making a significant impact on workers, EI also emphasised that education and training must prepare young people for civic and professional life. Similarly, technological research and development will be of paramount importance in combating climate change.

Consequently, EI calls on the world's governments to strengthen initial training and lifelong professional training programmes for teachers who must have the necessary skills with which to deliver education on sustainable development and climate change. The future of the planet will rest in the hands of generations informed and educated with regard to the climate emergency.

EI's brochure for the COP23 is available here.