Vice President of the Dominican Republic Launches National Training Programme Aimed at Strengthening Capacities to Integrate Climate Change into Education

13 March 2013, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. In the presence of more than 100 national and international guests, H.E. Ms. Margarita Cedeño de Fernández, Vice President of the Dominican Republic launched the National Training Programme for Teachers on Climate Change Education for Sustainable Development.

The Training Programme is being implemented in the framework on the National Strategy to Strengthen Human Resources and Skills to Advance Green, Low Emission and Climate Resilient Development with support from the UN CC:Learn project. It is based on a Climate Change Education for Sustainable Development course, originally designed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to support teachers in helping young people understand the causes and consequences of climate change, and bring about changes in attitudes and behaviours.

The high-level event took place on 12 March 2013 at the National Palace in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. It was organized by the National Council for Climate Change and Clean Development Mechanism (CNCCMDL) with support from UN CC:Learn, bringing  together participants from government, education institutions, NGOs, and the UN Country Team. National and international dignitaries attending the event included Mr. Omar Ramírez, Secretary of State and Executive Vice President of the CNCCMDL, Ms. María Roque, National Institute of Education and Training of Teachers (INAFOCAM), Mr. Miguel Llivina Lavign, UNESCO and Ms. Adriana Valenzuela, United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).

The Vice President H.E. Ms. Margarita Cedeño de Fernández pointed out that the Dominican Republic, as a small island developing state, is very vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. In this context, the Training Programme for Teachers on Climate Change Education for Sustainable Development aims at building capacities to address this challenge. The Vice President noted that teachers play a transformative role in re-orienting education towards the promotion of a more sustainable future and stressed that the programme should serve as a model for the development of additional initiatives. She added that the Ministry of Education is leading the technical review of the curriculum and is planning to formally integrate climate change into the national education system.

Ms. Cedeño thanked UNITAR, UNESCO and the Swiss cooperation for supporting implementation of the UN CC:Learn project and testing the training programme for teachers in the Dominican Republic. "Our government reaffirms our commitment to combat climate change, and we invite the international community and bilateral and multilateral cooperation organizations to support us in this initiative with additional financial resources that allow us to reduce our vulnerability to this phenomenon and to combat the critical level of poverty in our country" the Vice President concluded.

Ms. Adriana Valenzuela, UNITAR spoke on behalf of UN CC:Learn and its 33 international partners. She acknowledged the contribution made by CNCCMDL, the Ministry of Education and INAFOCAM as well as the significant support from UNESCO. “UNITAR and UN CC:Learn partners are committed to providing support towards implementing the National Strategy” Ms. Valenzuela stated. Mr. Miguel Jorge Llivina Lavigne, UNESCO regional office in Cuba, stressed the importance of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) noting that it allows every human being to acquire the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values necessary to shape a sustainable future.

More than 400 teachers at primary and secondary level will now be trained in 18 educational regions using the UNESCO course materials, which have been translated into Spanish and adapted to the Dominican context. This initiative has leveraged national budgetary resources from INAFOCAM. The project will be implemented from March to December 2013 mobilizing around 130,000 USD from both national (INAFOCAM) and international resources (UN CC:Learn).

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 in developing 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.