Inspiring Climate Change Learning @ COP 19

22 November 2013, Warsaw, Poland. While negotiators at the Warsaw Climate Conference (COP 19) racked their brains on numerous controversies, one subject provoked little dispute: the need for capacity development in developing countries and the importance of skills development as a means of delivering on the objectives of the Climate Change Convention.

The UN CC:Learn initiative was visible at 3 separate side events during both weeks of COP. The most important one came on the last official day  where  more than 80 delegates, including inter alia three Ministers, two Ambassadors, Members of Parliament, a UN Resident Coordinator, university professors and four teachers, came together  to discuss the results of three years of work in five countries (Benin, Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Malawi and Uganda). The event, which was entitled “Building Skills to Address Climate Change – Lessons from the UN Climate Change Learn Partnership”, was hosted by the National Council for Climate Change and Clean Development Mechanism (CNCCMDL) of the Dominican Republic and the Sur Futuro Foundation.

From left to right: Angus Mackay, UNITAR; Omar Ramírez Tejada, CNCCMDL, Dominican Republic; Shamiso Najira, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Management, Malawi; H.E. Darmansyah Djumala, Ambassador of Indonesia to Poland; Veerle Vandeweerd, UNDP; Ephraim Kamuntu, Honourable Minister for Water and Environment of Uganda; Daniel Abreu, CNCCMDL, Dominican Republic; Eduardo Julia, Sur Futuro; Césaire Gnanglè, Ministry of Environment of Benin.

The event focused on practical lessons learned from the development of national climate change learning strategies.  A mixed panel of technical staff and high-level Government representatives (including the Hon. Minister of Water and Environment of Uganda and the Indonesian Ambassador to Poland) provided  perspectives on why a strategic approach to learning is  important, what they would do different next time around, and the importance of spreading the word to other countries. The discussions were moderated by Ms. Veerle Vandeweerd, Director, Environment and Energy Group, UNDP.

Bob Natifu, Ministry of Water and Environment, Uganda discussing lessons learned from the UN CC:Learn pilot phase.Some of the key lessons learned were summarized by Mr. Bob Natifu, Senior Climate Change Officer at the Ministry of Water and Environment of Uganda, on behalf of the UN CC:Learn partnership (see presentation for download below).

Voices from the event:

Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu, Honourable Minister for Water and Environment of Uganda: “The greatest challenge in effectively addressing climate change is changing people’s mind-sets. Our national climate change learning strategy is an important step forward to meet this challenge.”

H.E. Dr. Darmansyah Djumala, Ambassador of Indonesia to Poland: “Learning and skills development can help people to turn climate change from a threat into an opportunity.”

Dr. Césaire Gnanglè, Director General of Environment, Ministry of Environment of Benin: “Currently no formal education programme on climate change exists in Benin. The UN CC:Learn project has helped to initiate this process and strengthen national learning institutions.”

Mr. Daniel Abreu, National Focal Point UN CC:Learn Project, CNCCMDL: “Climate change education and training must be practical and solution-oriented. It must provide students with skills needed in the labour market.”  

Ms. Shamiso Najira, Chief Environmental Officer and CDM Focal Point, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Management of Malawi: “The UN CC:Learn project has facilitated the engagement of the Ministry of Education in our National Climate Change Programme.”

Country representatives were also keen to point to on the ground implementation. The host of the side-event, Mr. Omar Ramírez Tejada, Executive Vice-President of the Dominican Republic’s climate change council highlighted a comprehensive programme for training secondary teachers on climate change, which has reached already 400 teachers and promises to reach more than 3,000 teachers in total. The co-host of the side-event Mr. Eduardo Julia, Director for Climate Change at Sur Futuro, stated that “teachers are the new climate leaders”.

Presentation

Presentation “Building Skills to Address Climate Change - Lessons Learned from the UN CC:Learn Partnership”. Download

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.