A Lucky Plan for Climate Change Education in Ethiopia?

01 March 2018, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - Ethiopia is lucky. Lucky because it is a young country. Young in the sense that it has an overwhelmingly youthful population, with more than 50% being 21 years of age or less. It stands to reason, therefore, that education is a major national priority. But it is only quite recently that policymakers have recognised that education must include climate change.

In Ethiopia’s regions, particularly in the South, in Oromia, and in Amhara (among others), the impacts of climate change are easy to see, from the increasing frequency of dry periods and droughts to the unpredictability of rains. The country’s world-famous uplands – the cradle of the world’s coffee industry – are not being spared either, with a noticeable upward shift in mean temperatures.

Ethiopia Environment Minister Ato Kare Debessa looks on as Ministry of Education official outlines climate change priorities.Last September Ethiopia endorsed a Climate Change Education Strategy which explicitly places the education system at the forefront of the response to climate change. Education, in all its forms, is probably the most cost-effective way of addressing climate change in the long term. It has taken too long for this realisation to dawn on the global development system, but once again Ethiopia is stealing a march on the world by shinning its unique light on the issue.

Others will surely follow, just as they did in 2011 with the launch of the national Climate Resilient and Green Economy Strategy, the first of its kind across the continent and an inspiration to many countries who have followed in its wake.

UN CC:Learn is proud to be associated with Ethiopia’s climate change education revolution and we were delighted to participate in a high-level meeting on 1 March, attended by Mr. Angus Mackay, Head of the UN CC:Learn Secretariat based at UNITAR in Geneva, and  chaired by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, as well as the Ministry of Education. A decision was made at this meeting to establish an institutional mechanism at both national and regional levels to work on climate change education, witnessed by several regional representatives. It’s much more than a beginning and, as they say, “you make your own luck in this world”.


About UN CC:Learn

UN CC:Learn is a partnership of more than 30 multilateral organizations supporting countries to design and implement systematic, recurrent and results-oriented climate change learning. At the global level, the partnership supports knowledge-sharing, promotes the development of common climate change learning materials, and coordinates learning interventions through a collaboration of UN agencies and other partners. At the national level, UN CC:Learn supports countries in developing and implementing national climate change learning strategies. Through its engagement at the national and global levels, UN CC:Learn contributes to the implementation of Article 6 of the UNFCCC on training, education and public awareness-raising, and the 2012-2020 Doha Work Programme.  Funding for UN CC:Learn is provided by the Swiss Government and UN partners. The Secretariat for UN CC:Learn is hosted by the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).


Photo: Ethiopia Environment Minister Ato Kare Debessa looks on as Ministry of Education official outlines climate change priorities.