Why continuing efforts in education, training and public awareness on climate change are important
24 May, 2012, Bonn, Germany - Article 6 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on education, training and public awareness and the development of a successor programme to the New Delhi work programme, are of key importance to developing countries. This was a key message coming out of a press conference organized on 24 May 2012 by the Dominican Republic in the margins of the Durban Forum on Capacity Building, Bonn, Germany. The press conference also provided an opportunity to present progress made in UN CC:Learn pilot countries that include Benin, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Malawi and Uganda.
Mr. Omar Ramírez Tejada, Vice President and Head of the National Council for Climate Change and Clean Development Mechanism of the Dominican Republic (CNCCMDL) pointed out that implementation of Article 6 is fundamental to achieve the goals of the Convention and promote sustainable development. He stressed that “education needs a long-term, strategic and country driven approach”. Mr. Ramirez further highlighted that it is imperative to continue working to adopt the New Programme on Education and Climate Change at the 18th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 18), in Doha, Qatar in December 2012. He underlined that the Dominican Republic was currently undertaking a national UN CC:Learn project to take a strategic approach to the implementation of Article 6. Finally, he highlighted that a National Strategy to Strengthen Human Resources and Skills to Advance Green, Low Emission and Climate Resilient Development will be launched in the next months.
Mr. Ibila Djibril, National Coordinator of the UN CC:Learn project in Benin and National UNFCCC Focal Point, Ministry of Environment, Housing and Urbanism, highlighted that climate change has not yet been integrated in formal education in Benin. He pointed out that it is necessary to increase public awareness to reduce the gap between professionals and experts and the broad population and to facilitate implementation of adaptation and mitigation actions. He concluded his intervention by stressing that the UN CC:Learn project in Benin will facilitate identification of needs and actions to increase the knowledge and skills of policy-makers and the population to address climate change.
Mr. Doddy Sukadri, Secretary, Forestry Working Group of the Indonesia National Council on Climate Change (DNPI) and National Coordinator of the UN CC:Learn project in the country explained that Indonesia is a tropical country, with a population of 230 million individuals. He highlighted that seventy percent of its territory is covered by forests. Therefore forestry and land use are strategic sectors for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the country. He expressed that UN CC:Learn provides a valuable contribution to foster a green and climate-resilient transformation. Finally he highlighted that there are three “S” to promote the change: “Start from yourself”, “Start from your family” and “Start from now”.
Mr. Paul Isabirye, UNFCCC National Focal Point, Coordinator, Climate Change Unit, Ministry of Water and Environment, and National Coordinator of the UN CC:Learn project in Uganda emphasized that Article 6 is a strategic component for implementation of the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol. He pointed out that it is necessary to promote a new approach for education, including concrete skills development action. He noted that the new work programme on Article 6 should address the gaps and needs that were identified during the review process. He also emphasized that a gender perspective needs to be incorporated to engage and mobilize action in climate change projects. Finally he said that “climate change needs to generate capacities at policy, institutional and grassroots levels. The UN CC:Learn project in Uganda will contribute to achieve this objective”.
Mr. David D. Mkwambisi, Senior Lecturer on Environment and Development, University of Malawi stressed that Malawi is highly vulnerable to climate change. During the last years the country has faced a prolonged drought which directly affected food security. He said that UN CC:Learn will contribute to develop capacities for implementing other programs lead by the government as the Climate Change Programme, the Agriculture Programme and the Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMA). He also stressed that the project is mobilizing different sectors and actors for addressing climate change in the country.
Mr. Achim Halpaap, Associate Director and Head of the Environment Unit, UNITAR highlighted that UN CC:Learn aims to promote multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder collaboration and the engagement of national education and training institutions. He further noted that the UN CC:Learn pilot projects apply the core principles of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness which emphasize country ownership, empowerment of national institutions, and alignment of support by development partners. Finally, Mr. Halpaap acknowledged the generous support of the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) for the implementation of the UN CC:Learn pilot phase in 2011-2013.