16-17 September 2013, New York, USA - The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) organized the Annual Meeting of the Inter-Agency Committee for the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (IAC/DESD) on 16-17 September 2013 at UNICEF headquarters in New York, USA. The meeting provided an important opportunity to share best practices and take stock of the ESD agenda setting process beyond 2014. Participants stressed the importance of promoting the integration of education and sustainable development in the respective agendas to scale-up ESD initiatives at international, national and local level.
The two-day meeting brought together representatives from various United Nations agencies, research institutes, the academia and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), as well as youth leaders and education and climate change experts. UN CC:Learn, a One UN Initiative for which UNITAR provides the secretariat, participated in the meeting. The first day consisted of a “Thematic Workshop on Climate Change Education” during which delegates exchanged experiences on climate change learning.
Ms. Adriana Valenzuela from UNITAR spoke on behalf of UN CC:Learn, highlighting its achievements in the area of climate change education, which include the compilation of a resource guide on “Integrating Climate Change in Education at Primary and Secondary Level”, the development of a series of introductory learning modules on climate change, and several initiatives aimed at strengthening climate change education at primary and secondary level in the Dominican Republic, Malawi, and Uganda. Ms. Valenzuela thanked the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), UNICEF and the other UN CC:Learn partners for their contributions.
During the second day, participants discussed ways of enhancing collaboration on the implementation of the post-DESD. UNESCO invited delegates to participate in the World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) – Learning Today for a Sustainable Future, organized in collaboration with the Government of Japan. It was announced that the United Nations University (UNU) will serve as the Chair of the IAC Committee for the period 2013 -2014.
Key recommendations: (1) explore ways of enhancing local authorities and stakeholder participation in the DESD and the post-DESD agenda; (2) define mechanisms for monitoring ESD; (3) promote more children and youth participation in ESD initiatives; and (4) mobilize financial resources for ESD.
FOCUS: Resource Manual on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction
During the event, UNICEF launched a new resource manual on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction (CCADRR) in the Education Sector. The manual provides guidance on policy and planning for sustainable development throughout the education sector in both non-formal and formal learning places at all levels of action, from national to local.
About the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD)
The UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) 2005–2014 was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2002 with the overall goal to integrate the principles, values and practices of sustainable development into all aspects of education and learning. UNESCO is the lead agency of the Decade and the Task Manager of Chapter 36 of Agenda 21 on education, training and public awareness.
About UN CC:Learn
UN CC:Learn is a partnership of 33 multilateral organizations which supports Member States in designing and implementing results-oriented and sustainable learning to address climate change. The Secretariat for UN CC:Learn is provided by UNITAR. An important aspect of UN CC:Learn is to support countries develop a National Strategy to Strengthen Human Resources and Skills to Advance Green, Low Emission and Climate Resilient Development through a multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder process. During the course of 2012-2013, Benin, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Malawi, and Uganda are participating as UN CC:Learn pilot countries. Core funding for the 2011-2013 implementation phase of UN CC:Learn is provided by the Swiss Government.
Photo 1: IAC/DESD meeting participants
Photo 2: Ms. Adriana Valenzuela, UNITAR
Photo 3: UNICEF representatives launch a new resource manual on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction in the Education Sector