UN Alliance to Support Climate Change Education, Training and Public Awareness Launched at COP 18
More than 250 delegates participated in the launch of the United Nations Alliance on Climate Change Education, Training and Public Awareness at a side-event on 3 December 2012 organized in the margins of the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP 18) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The event took place just after Parties agreed on Saturday night on the new Doha Work Programme on Article 6 of the Convention which deals with education, training and public awareness. Founding members of the Alliance include: the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the UNFCCC Secretariat, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), with the UNFCCC Secretariat providing the Secretariat for the Alliance.
In this opening remarks, Mr. Daniele Violetti, Chief of Staff, UNFCCC Secretariat congratulated Parties to the successful agreement on the new work programme. He highlighted that the UN Alliance was aiming to provide a framework for coordinated support for Article 6 implementation building on existing initiatives and collaborations. Mr. Tomasz Chruszczow, Chair of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI), emphasized that after the Bonn Climate Change Conference, May 2012 many had doubts if the Work Programme would be decided upon in 2012. He pointed out: “We have proved that use of modern media and willingness to corporate can deliver results.”
European Union (EU) highlighted that the EU was committed to Article 6 implementation and was earmarking part of its climate change funds for Article 6 implementation. He also thanked the Dominican Republic which played a key role in advancing the new Doha Work Programme for organizing an online Inter-sessional Consultation Platform which was developed in cooperation with the UNFCCC Secretariat making use of the UN CC:Learn Platform.The opening remarks were followed by statements from Parties who welcomed the UN Alliance and highlighted examples of existing cooperation with UN partners in the area of climate change learning. Mr. Tony Carritt, Information and Communications Officer,
National Council for Climate Change and Clean Development Mechanism (CNCCMDL), indicated that Article 6 is of utmost importance for the country. Given this priority the country has supported also regional action in this area and actively supported the negotiation process. He also informed participants that the Vice-President of the Dominican Republic launched in August 2012 the National Strategy to Strengthen Human Resources and Skills to Advance Green, Low Emission and Climate Resilient Development. He thanked UN CC:Learn Partners and UNITAR - the host agency of UN CC:Learn- as well as the Swiss Government for supporting the development and initial action to implement the Strategy.H.E. Mr. Omar Ramírez Tejada, Secretary of State and Executive Vice President of the
Mr. Anton Hilber, Co-Director of the Global Programme on Climate Change (GPCC), Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC), highlighted that Switzerland is fully supportive of scaling up Article 6 related action at the international and national levels. In this context, the Swiss Government was pleased to support UN CC:Learn, a UN initiative in the area of climate change learning that brings together 33 multi-lateral organizations and 5 pilot countries, including Benin, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Malawi and Uganda. The constellation of country-driven processes involving key sectors and stakeholders, coupled with a One UN approach supported by a small Secretariat based at UNITAR in Geneva, made UN CC:Learn an appealing initiative for SDC. He also expressed his hope that given the request from many countries to participate in UN CC:Learn, other development partners can consider providing support for country projects in 2013.
H.E. Ms. Flavia Nabugere Munabaa, Minister of State of Environment, Uganda highlighted that the country was finalizing its National Strategy to Strengthen Human Resources and Skills to Advance Green, Low Emission and Climate Resilient Development which was expected to be launched in early 2013. She also called upon national and international partners to provide the financial means for developing countries to advance Article 6 implementation. The Minister further highlighted that climate change communication, awareness-raising and education needs to use means that are appropriate at the local level in an African context.
H.E. Ms. Fatou Gaye, Minister of Forestry and the Environment of The Gambia, indicated that “Article 6 is the only Article of the Convention that has dedicated national focal points. We should take its implementation very seriously.” The Minister referred to CC:iNet as an important knowledge-sharing portal which countries should contribute to and utilize. She also expressed her hope that in selecting additional UN CC:Learn countries, country applications received for the pilot phase can be taken into account.
The Party statements were followed by pledges for support by representatives of the founding members of the Alliance including Ms. Alla Metelitsa, Team Leader, Capacity Building and Outreach, UNFCCC Secretariat; Mr. Nick Nuttall, Spokesperson/Head of Media, UNEP; Ms. Wendy Watson-Wright, UNESCO Assistant Director General and UNESCO/IOC Executive Secretary; Mr. Achim Halpaap, Associate Director, Training Department and Head of Environment Unit, UNITAR; Mr. Michael Williams, Chief, Communications and Public Affairs, WMO; Mr. Sessa Reuben, Environment Officer, FAO; and Ms. Jazmin Burgess, International Policy and Research Officer, UNICEF.
Participants were invited to share their views on the Alliance’s draft framework for action and contribute to its further development. The discussions highlighted a number of issues including: the importance of involving National Focal Points for Article 6 of the Convention as well as youth representatives in the work of the Alliance; the need to focus on implementation, including grassroots levels; and the ultimate objective of fostering behavioral change. Representatives from two UN CC:Learn pilot countries, Indonesia and Malawi, took the floor to inform participants about the status of the National Strategy development and thanked the Swiss Development Cooperation for their support.
The mission of the United Nations Alliance on Climate Change Education, Training and Public Awareness is to promote meaningful, result-oriented and effective international cooperation in support of the implementation of the work programme on Article 6 of the UNFCCC. The Alliance includes existing projects and initiatives of its member organizations including, but not limited to:
- UNESCO’s Climate Change Education for Sustainable Development (CCESD) Programme;
- United Nations Joint Framework Initiative on Children, Youth and Climate Change;
- UN CC:Learn, the One UN Training Service Platform on Climate Change;
- UNICEF’s Child Friendly Education Initiative: Transforming the Lives of Children;
- UNEP's TUNZA Environmental Youth Network; and
- Capacity development under the Global Framework for Climate Services.