UN CC:Learn and MIET Africa are turning climate change into an everyday topic in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Through a series of TV and radio programs, the two projects are streamlining the access to climate change discussions and raising awareness of this issue among people who previously didn’t have a chance to get any information about it.

How do we promote climate action even during a worldwide pandemic? That’s a question, that UN CC:Learn and MIET Africa asked and are trying to answer in three Southern African countries: Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Through a series of radio and TV programs  called “Our Changing Climate – Our time to act!”, the two partners are raising awareness of climate change and fostering climate action in the region.

The idea of hosting programs to discuss climate change and related topics arose in the aftermath of the health, economic and social problems brought about by COVID-19. To come out of this situation sustainably, and ensure an equitable, environmentally friendly and climate resilient economic recovery, it is crucial for everyone to understand the interlinkages between climate change, human health, and socio-economic development. The TV and radio programs in the three Southern African countries supported by UN CC:Learn have proven to be the perfect opportunity to do that.

These country-specific programs allow climate change to remain a topical issue in the region while helping them with the implementation of their National Climate Change Learning Strategy by touching on specific areas addressed by the strategies, like energy, agriculture, and health. Each episode approaches one main topic and hosts exclusive guests, such as young climate activists, experts, and government officials. Although these programs are produced independently in each country, these project aims to address the following points:

  • The global significance of climate change and how it impacts countries, communities, and individual lives.
  • How one could adapt to and mitigate climate change at country, community, family, and individual levels.
  • Get an overview of global and national responses to the climate crisis and a “call to action” for communities, families, and individuals, particularly youths, to do their part as friends of the earth.

The TV and radio programs are divided into episodes and each episode is broadcast in three languages in each country: Tumbuka, Chichewa, and English in Malawi, Nyanja, Bemba and English in Zambia, and Ndebele, Shona, and English in Zimbabwe. Each country will have 36 radio episodes and 6 TV episodes in total, equally distributed in the aforementioned languages.

Follow us on social media to get firsthand information on the upcoming episodes: Facebook. Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

UN CC:Learn and Thomson Reuters Foundations delivered a two-part training to journalists and media professionals in Southern and Western Africa. The trainings took place online and walked participants through the potential that accurate and reliable climate change reporting can have in raising awareness of climate change and inspiring climate action.

In November 2020, UN CC:Learn organized two online trainings for journalists and government officials in West and Southern Africa. The two-part training was delivered by the Thomson Reuters Foundation on 16 – 20 November 2020 for Southern Africa in English and 23 – 27 November for West Africa in French. The trainings brought together UN CC:Learn expertise in climate change learning with Thomson Reuters vast experience in media coverage and reporting.

Journalism is an essential tool for enhancing climate literacy. Through reliable information, it can help embed climate change into the daily lives of people, turning it into it a day-to-day topic, fomenting discussions and solutions. Mr. Angus Mackay, the Head of UN CC:Learn Secretariat, conveyed this message in his opening speech to participants. He also stressed the need of informed journalists and media professionals to really strengthen society-wide climate change consciousness.

The first part of the training – the journalism training – for the journalists, was aimed at strengthening the climate change knowledge of journalists and promote independent, evidence-based reporting and the production of balanced and insightful off-diary stories that encourage public engagement and debate.  The second part of the training – the media training – for the media facing government officials, was aimed at strengthening the media handling skills to help develop and promote public interest in climate policies.

Amongst many issues covered in the journalism training, the following issues were targeted over the 5 days:

  • Review participants’ understanding of climate science, fill in any significant gaps;
  • Examine the impact of climate change on their different countries and mitigation and adaptation options;
  • Introduce techniques to simplify the jargon and explain scientific terms;
  • Identify stakeholders and direct journalists to experts and authoritative sources to grow their pool of contacts;
  • Highlight the importance of listening to sources with alternative perspectives, and analysing what they say in the light of the evidence they offer;
  • Explore information-gathering, analytical, storytelling and pitching techniques

The 2-day media training looked at specific issues such as:

  • Tools to use to promote public interest in climate policies in the different countries and encourage and inform public debate on the best way forward ;
  • Connecting government officials and through them to the country’s wider story.  g. local  farmers probably don’t realise that they are in the forefront of a huge debate that is starting to take hold in different parts of the world. Through the training, the government would be able to tell people through the media  in their countries what is being done locally and what is being done elsewhere, and how that might affect their lives;
  • Helping government officials to develop and effectively pitch their climate messages to the media and to the journalists in order to reach the target audiences.

The last day of the trainings offered an opportunity for the two groups to come together to share ideas and brainstorm around what the climate story is in their countries and how work together to promote and inform public debate.  Attendees discussed how to mutually facilitate the work of journalists covering climate change and that of government officials working at government institutions. Below are some of the suggestions that came out of the discussions:

  • Set up a mixed network of journalists and communication officers (i. e. WhatsApp group).
  • Set up a regional network of journalists and climate communication officers.
  • Create a network of environmental and climate radio stations.
  • Encourage journalists to specialize in different areas of environment and climate change.
  • Recurrent capacity-building on climate change and related topics.

In total, 10 francophone UN CC:Learn West Africa Hub member countries took part in the trainings: Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Togo.  Similarly, 16 journalists and 13 government officials from the Anglophone partner countries participated: The Gambia, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Thomas Reuters Foundation invited experienced journalists to facilitate the trainings. Mr. Nicholas Phythian, who has over 20 years’ experience at Reuters, oversaw both journalist trainings, and was assisted by Ms. Joanna Winterbottom in the English training and by Ms. Nellie Peyton for the French training.  The media training was conducted by Ms. Naglaa El-Emary with assistance from Ms. Reem Shamseddine.  Thomson Reuters Foundation is the corporate foundation of Thomson Reuters global news and information services company and works to advance media freedom and development.

UNITAR and UN CC:Learn joined forces to deliver the Online Training Programme on Climate Change Diplomacy, at which 35 Kenyan diplomats, government officials, and civil society representatives were trained on climate diplomacy. The training took place between 13 November and 8 December 2020 and provided participants with knowledge on climate change and climate diplomacy, building their capacity for the upcoming climate negotiations at COP 26.

Climate change is recognized as a major challenge for the 21st century. New awareness, knowledge and competencies are needed across societies to be able to effectively address associated issues and negative effects. In order to enhance the knowledge and practical skills of Kenyan diplomats, government officials and civil society representatives, the Foreign Service Academy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Climate Change Directorate, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and The One UN Climate Change Learning Partnership (UN CC:Learn) joined forces to organize an Online Training Programme on Climate Change Diplomacy from 13 November to 8 December 2020

This training, designed in the lead-up to the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) scheduled in November 2021 in Glasgow (United Kingdom), aimed to provide the 35 selected participants with knowledge on climate change and climate diplomacy. It also built practical and in-depth understanding of negotiation skills and dynamics in the context of United Nations conferences and the UNFCCC process.

The official opening ceremony of the high-level segment of COP 25/CMP

The training was officially launched during an online Introductory Session held on 13 November 2020. This event featured interventions from H. E. Amb. Galma M. Boru, Director of the Foreign Service Academy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Pacifica Ogola, Director of the Climate Change Directorate, Ministry of Environment and Forestry and Mr. Angus Mackay, Head of the UN CC:Learn Secretariat. It also provided an opportunity for participants to receive more detailed information about the programme and meet each other.

Participants were then invited to complete a Climate Change Diplomacy E-learning Course, consisting of approximately 13 hours of flexible, self-paced study time distributed over a period of 3 weeks, from 16 November to 6 December 2020. The course included 7 modules, each including quizzes and interactive exercises, providing an introduction to climate change, its key issues and possible response measures, followed by more specific information on climate diplomacy, including the structure and functioning of the UNFCCC, the history of negotiations to date as well as current discussion areas.

The programme concluded with an 8-hour hands-on Climate Change Diplomacy e-Workshop held on 7 and 8 December 2020. The workshop, delivered by a multilateral negotiation expert, included interactive sessions on negotiation skills, exercises, and simulations.

A follow-up survey will be distributed to participants in 2021 to assess the use and application of the knowledge.

This training programme was organized as part of the UN CC:Learn project in Kenya, which supports the development and implementation of the National Climate Change Learning Strategy.

On 30 September 2020, a validation workshop was held in Zambia to validate the country’s National Climate Change Learning Strategy (NCCLS). The event brought together key stakeholders who worked together on the development of document and set out the pathway for its implementation.

The government of Zambia, through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) and Zambia Climate Change Network (ZCCN) held a validation workshop on 30th September 2020, to validate the National Climate Change Learning Strategy (NCCLS) developed in partnership with UN CC:Learn. The event took place at Fringilla Lodge, in the city of Chisamba, and brought together key stakeholders who worked together on the development of the strategy.

The event kicked off with Mr. Nyirenda B. Steven, the Coordinator for the Zambia Climate Change Network, highlighting ZCCN’s role in disseminating climate change information. He acknowledged the fruitful partnership between ZCCN, ZEMA, the Ministry and UN CC:Learn that made the development of the NCCLS possible.

He was followed by Mr. Friday Phiri, the Assistant Communication Manager at ZEMA, who stressed that climate change is a serious global challenge that is already affecting Zambia. He recognized that the newly developed strategy would help build capacity on and promote climate change awareness within Zambia, especially among journalists, which would contribute to the dissemination of accurate climate change information.

Validation workshop participants.

The validation of the strategy was the culmination of a thorough review process. The first draft underwent 4 internal review phases before being brought for validation.  And Mr. Angus Mackay, the Head of the UN CC:Learn Secretariat, who joined the event virtually, acknowledged all this hard work in his remarks. He congratulated Zambia for achieving this important milestone and reminded everyone that, despite the negative impacts of Covid-19, the work towards the validation of the strategy progressed.

The pathway to the validation was as follows:

The Ministry of Lands and Natural resources was represented by Ms. Carol Mwape Zulu, Chief Climate Change Officer at Department Climate Change and Natural Resources Management. In her opening remarks, she stated that the Ministry is giving serious attention to all efforts aimed at raising awareness on climate change as this will empower key stakeholders to undertake actions to address mitigation and adaptation needs.

Regarding the implementation of the NCCLS, it was accorded that actions to build a climate resilient Zambia by end of 2030 will be achieved in three phases: short term (1 to 2 years), medium term (3 to 5 years) and long term (6 to 10 years). To attain all the strategy’s objectives, a workplan laying out the implementation process has been developed. The main implementation goals in the strategy are:

  • Raise awareness and strengthen climate change knowledge.
  • Build individual and institutional capacity in climate change mitigation and adaptation.
  • Mainstream climate change learning into national development planning.

To find out more about UN CC:Learn work in Zambia, click here.

Chief Climate Change Officer, Carol Mwape Zulu giving her remarks

 

Sirajul Islam from Bangladesh took the MOOC e-course on National Adaptation Plans: Building Climate Resilience in Agriculture. In this story, he explains his experience with the e-course and how it has contributed to his work as a researcher on climate-resilient agriculture and food security.

Agriculture turns to be the most vulnerable to climate change. The effects of climate change on agriculture will have consequences for food security through changes in crop yields, food prices and processing, storage, transportation, and retailing. Adaptation measures can help delay and reduce some of these impacts.” — Sirajul Islam

Sirajul (in the middle) with his daughter and son. /©Sirajul Islam

Sirajul Islam is a linguist. Originally from Bangladesh, Sirajul has over 35 years of experience working with national and international NGOs. Currently, he serves as an adviser at a national NGO and recently retired as the CEO of ASHRAI, a Bangladeshi charity.

Throughout his career, Sirajul has worked in the social development sector in Bangladesh: from managing programs on humanitarian actions to climate-resilient agriculture and food security.

He considers himself a lifelong learner, which is why he took the “National Adaptation Plans: Building Climate Resilience in Agriculture” (NAP-Ag MOOC) delivered by UNITAR, FAO and UNDP which is available on the UN CC:e-Learn platform.

©Sirajul Islam

The course was particularly interesting because I had the chance to engage with global experts on climate change and explore best practices, country examples, and new approaches for building climate resilience in an interactive video-based format. It made my learning process more interesting, effective and engaging.”

Sirajul experienced this exchange through the peer assessment, which asked participants to develop a four-step process with an adaptation action in agriculture that could be implemented in their preferred focus area. The tasks were not easy and required careful adaptation planning.

His research focused on the coastal areas of Bangladesh; his small country in the South Asian green belt is the ninth most densely populated country in the world today. A country of 160 million, Bangladesh has been hit severely by climate change.

©Sirajul Islam

[Bangladesh] is facing trouble in agriculture due to sea-level rise, salinity-intrusion in the south, floods in the river basins, and drought in the north,” he says.

More specifically, he picked the paddy and rice since it’s considered a staple crop and key to food security, but at the same time, highly vulnerable to climate change. He observed that agricultural communities are already adapting by working with the private sector to develop new tolerant seed varieties for rice, by cultivating saline-tolerant varieties, which can withstand the salty water infiltrating their fields from the ocean. He also observes that farmers are now cultivating vegetables above ground.

©Sirajul Islam

An interesting fact is that saline water tables can cause productive land to become barren, causing loss of agricultural production. Soil salinity also enhances erosion and loss of farm income. So, the upshot of the use of saline-tolerant rice seed to keep rice production stable and cost-efficient alternative may not sustain as a long-term adaptation option.

Despite this challenge, he chose this project for its impact on potential and relevance.

Salinity became one of the major soil problems in many rice-growing areas in the world, including Bangladesh. About 1.9 million hectares of land in the humid regions of Southern Bangladesh are technically suited for rice production but remain idle or are grown with poor results due to salinity.

Studies show, however, that sustained and profitable production of crops, specifical rice on salt-affected soil is possible if appropriate farm management practices are implemented.

©Sirajul Islam

After completing the NAP-Ag MOOC, Sirajul Islam recommends people to take it too.

The agricultural system depends critically on climate. Agriculture plays a complex role in the rural, national, and social economic systems and everybody concerned should know how climate change has the potential to affect the productivity of crops, livestock, and fishery systems at the local, national, and global scale both in a positive and negative way.”

It’s important to be aware of this because it will alter the stability of food supplies and create new food security challenges for many countries,” he says.

To read more about the work of Sirajul Islam, check out some of his selected publications:

To access all the papers, you can also visit: https://independent.academia.edu/SirajulIslam1

In celebration of World Food Day, UN CC:Learn and Danone launched the Sustainable Diet e-course in Portuguese. The course has been taken by more than 12,000 learners from all over the world and it can be found at UN CC:e-learn platform.

Food systems are simultaneously a leading cause of environmental degradation and depletion of natural resources. Currently, food systems are responsible for a significant 20 percent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and are a major driver of land conversion, deforestation and loss of biodiversity.  Agriculture alone accounts for roughly 70 percent of global freshwater withdrawals and water pollution and is responsible for 80 percent of worldwide deforestation.

With the world’s population predicted to expand to 9.7 billion individuals by 2050, these environmental impacts do not make current food systems sustainable. According to the most recent report published in 2019 by The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC):

Consumption of healthy and sustainable diets presents major opportunities for reducing GHG emissions from food systems and improving health outcomes”

The food system embodies a complex chain that includes environmental, social and economic outcomes to provide food that comprises diets. Healthy diets generally encompass dietary goals defined in terms of nutrient adequacy, intake of specified food groups and adherence to a dietary pattern. Sustainable diets, however, are more than the sum of nutrients and foods consumed as they are strongly conditioned by the ways food is produced, distributed, marketed, chosen, prepared and consumed.

According to FAO (2019), the aims of sustainable diets are: to achieve optimal growth and development of all individuals; to support functioning and physical, mental, and social wellbeing at all life stages for present and future generations; to prevent all forms of malnutrition; to reduce the risk of diet-related non-communicable diseases, and to support the preservation of biodiversity and planetary health. Sustainable and healthy diets must combine all the dimensions of sustainability to avoid unintended consequences.

In this context, UN CC:Learn and Danone launched the Sustainable Diet e-course. This course is now translated into Portuguese and aims of helping people decide on choices that can promote real changes in their health and our planet.

Our role is to motivate people, through this food revolution, to make their choices considering the positive impact they can have on their health, on their community and on the planet” – said Edson Higo, CEO of Danone Brazil

The e-course is free of charge and has eight interactive modules which include videos, factsheets, and activities. The course identifies ways in which changing your diet makes a positive impact and invites the participants to develop a personal plan for a sustainable and healthy diet. This e-course is also available in English and you will receive an official certificate after successfully completing the course. Watch the teaser below and join our learning community today! Registrations are open.

What our learners have said:

I have learned how my diet impacts our planet and affects our health, and also how to start eating healthy and sustainably. A truly inspiring course.” – learner from Brazil

The course is amazing! It’s up-to-date, very simple to browse the site, the videos are really well-made, and the factsheets are so dynamic! Also, the completion marks on the activities were a nice way to motivate me to continue doing the course!” – learner from Brazil

As a professional in the health area, I can properly say that this course truly added value in my knowledge. Now, it is on me to act.” – learner from Kenya

I believe that being part of the sustainable food revolution helps us think how our eating habits and daily choices are affecting our health and the planet. I believe that if we all take this course, things would change favorably since we would have the knowledge to make a healthier and more sustainable choices” – learner from India

Kenya’s first Technical Task Team Meeting took place in Nairobi, Kenya, on the 22 September 2020. This was another important step towards the development of the country’s National Climate Change Learning Strategy.

Coming on the heels of the National Planning Workshop, a core group of technical stakeholders gathered in Nairobi on 22 September 2020 in the first Technical Task Team Meeting. The meeting was opened by Dr. Pacifica Ogola, Director of the Climate Change Directorate, Ministry of Environment and Forestry. The aim was to build upon the outcomes of stakeholder consultations during the planning workshop. The National Technical Task Team comprises a multi-stakeholder, cross-sectoral representation of institutions critical in the development of the National Climate Change Learning Strategy that is aligned to the priority sectors of the strategy i.e. Education, Environment, Energy, Agriculture and Water.

The meeting was engaging as members discussed the terms of reference for the strategy, providing further clarity on the roles and responsibilities of the technical team. Moreover, the team deliberated on the priority sectors and themes for further refinement and consensus for the strategy moving forward. The outcome of the technical meeting was not the only endorsement of the priority sectors and cross-cutting themes but most importantly, ownership and support of the National Climate Change Learning Strategy development process from the key institutions, as a tool to drive the pursuit of a green economy as envisioned in Kenya’s development Agenda, Vision 2030.

Saraswati is a young lady from North Sumatra. Addressing climate change in Indonesia is a priority for her and she believes that raising awareness is key in this process. That’s why she wants to become a climate educator and have been leading a project to introduce children to climate change.

 

By preserving nature, there will be access to more than there was before. That is the way to enjoy nature: taking care of the Earth and by doing this, it will allow our children to be taken care of.” — Ms. Saraswati

By Ms. Saraswati /©UN CC:Learn

By Ms. Saraswati /©UN CC:Learn

Project website: Bamboo Workshop

Saraswati is a 24-year-old young lady from North Sumatra and has a Batak ethnic background. Addressing climate change in Indonesia is a priority for Saraswati. Raising awareness is key in this process. That’s why she leads a project to introduce children to climate change, as they are the future generation who will live with its impacts. Saraswati teaches children to use bamboo instead of wood through craft making, in order to tackle deforestation and land degradation. She wants to be a climate educator to help change people’s behaviours and lifestyles so they can be more eco-friendly by providing them accurate climate information. At the Tribal Climate Camp, she learned strategies to develop climate change plans, which she can use to make her dream of climate education come true.

YLCCC 2017 top thee students, awarded by Dr Shahbaz Khan, Director and Representative, UNESCO Regional Science Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, win sponsorship for Tribal Climate Camp, in the USA. /©UN CC:Learn

YLCCC 2017 top thee students, awarded by Dr Shahbaz Khan, Director and Representative, UNESCO Regional Science Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, win sponsorship for Tribal Climate Camp, in the USA. /©UN CC:Learn

1. What issues are you trying to solve and how do you think you can contribute?

Climate change can affect the environmental balance on Earth and it has become a much-discussed topic. However, there are still many people that don’t realise this. This, together with lack of information, affects policy-making and action. Among environmental issues, deforestation has very negative impacts. Substituting wood by bamboo can decrease forest degradation. However, bamboo with certain processing techniques can be as the strong as wood. Providing this information to people, particularly to children, can have benefits. Therefore, through an interactive workshop, we communicated about climate change and deforestation to primary students at the International Humanity Foundation Medan Center in Indonesia. Children in primary schools are our main target, as they are the ones who will face the risks of climate change’s impact in the future and need to be educated as early as possible. Introducing and training them on climate change and creating crafts from bamboo help the awareness of natural environment. Being part of the environment, children can learn about consumption and waste disposal in a correct manner.

Ms. Saraswati with two other students at the Tribal Climate Camp in Eatonville, United States. /©UN CC:Learn

Ms. Saraswati with two other students at the Tribal Climate Camp in Eatonville, United States. /©UN CC:Learn

2. How do you think you can address climate change?

As the 5th world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG), Indonesia aims at reducing 26% of its emissions by 2020 and 46% by 2030. The challenge of Indonesia is how to build strategies to address climate change and its impact. Real action needs to happen at all levels, from government to local community based efforts. However, many people in Indonesia are still lacking information of climate change risks and may not realize the effect of climate change. Climate education is one of the solutions for this problem and much needed to increase awareness. Therefore, I would like to dedicate myself to becoming a climate educator in the future. I hope climate change becomes a subject in schools so everyone can get more accurate information and increase awareness to change lifestyles to more eco-friendly behaviours. Climate education can be a solution to spread information and to engage more people to take actions on climate change adaptation and mitigation. I believe that education moves slowly but has strong power to change the world.

3. Can you briefly present your experience with the YLCCC?

The Youth Leadership Camp for Climate Change (YLCCC) is the right place to create green leaders. It was a valuable experience as I learned about climate mitigation and adaptation and carbon footprint calculation. We had a training on how to campaign and introduce climate change to others through short movies, e-posters, and social media. Climate change awareness should reach people all over the world!

The Tribal Climate Camp was held at the University of Washington Pack Forest Conference Center in the United States. /©UN CC:Learn

The Tribal Climate Camp was held at the University of Washington Pack Forest Conference Center in the United States. /©UN CC:Learn

4. How was your experience at the Tribal Climate Camp?

I did enjoy every activity at the Tribal Climate Camp. I learned how to develop a strategy plan for climate change, to use climate tools which can help with decision making in climate monitoring, and even to communicate and engage with communities on climate change actions. One of the strategies that I have learned came from Oregon, which will reap rewards — including clean, renewable energy and thousands of good paying jobs all over the state. This strategy can reach more professionals to be involved on climate change adaptation and mitigation. In addition to the discussions, during the camp we also visited the Nisqually Tribe, a salmon hatchery, and Mt. Rainier. These field trips made me enjoy more our nature and be more grateful to be part of this camp. I learned that the right way to enjoy the nature is by taking care of its beauty.

At the TTC, I presented my ethnic culture and explained my team projects. I am part of the Bataks, which is one of ethnicities from North Sumatra. During my presentation, I displayed Ulos, a Bataknese weaving craft symbolizing the “warmth” needed to survive. Giving an ulos to someone means giving respect and love. Then, I presented my “Climate Rangers” team’s group projects. The first project aims to introduce climate change to kids, who are the stakeholders of the future, through a video highlighting how animals lose their habitat because of littering and how planting bamboo is a way to mitigate climate change. The second project consists of teaching kids to make more eco-friendly decisions, such as using bamboo instead of wood, showcasing how to create pen holders with bamboo.

Ms. Saraswati at the Tribal Climate Camp in Eatonville, United States. /©UN CC:Learn

Ms. Saraswati at the Tribal Climate Camp in Eatonville, United States. /©UN CC:Learn

5. What’s your biggest take away from participating in the Tribal Climate Camp?

This Tribal Climate Camp has helped me to build wider international connections, needed to promote climate change awareness. The people I met at the camp provided guidance, knowledge and advice, helped me to advance my future to become a climate change educator, and even become friends. In my long-term planning, I would like to build a school where children can learn about climate change. I know this is not an easy thing to achieve. Administrative work and compiling all the necessary documentation to get permission and funding could be the challenges. One day, I would like to invite the participants of the TCC to work together in building the school, starting from finding the sponsorship until the administration files completion, or even visiting Indonesia to share their experience on climate change to motivate people to be more aware on climate change. I hope someday children will take care of their nature and become climate fighters of the future.

Ms. Saraswati was one of the three young leaders to receive the “Tribal Camp Award” and participated at the Tribal Climate Camp (TCC), hosted near Seattle, United States from 30 July — 4 August, 2017.

Dr. Ikram Ur Rahman has over 27 years of experience working for several different international organizations, where his focus has always been nature preservation. He took the REDD+ course which helped him tremendously in training rural Pakistani communities.

Being global citizens of the planet earth, let us join hand in hand to work individually and collectively to fight for global climate change issues. We must act today instead of thinking to do it tomorrow.” — Ikram Ur Rahman

Dr. Ikram Ur Rahman has over 27 years of experience working for several different international organizations, where his focus has always been nature preservation.

Dr. Ikram Ur Rahman visited the Kangaroos Garden in Melbourne Australia to observe forest conservation and wild life protection (July 2017)./©Ikram Ur Rahman

Dr. Ikram Ur Rahman visited the Kangaroos Garden in Melbourne Australia to observe forest conservation and wild life protection (July 2017)./©Ikram Ur Rahman

He is currently serving as a Regional Project Coordinator in the Mountains and Markets Project in the Northern Province of Pakistan, funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Environmental Facility (GEF). The goal of this project is to use the voluntary certification of non-timber forest products (NTFP) to promote conservation and to help create a market, which benefits existing conservation efforts.

This project provides local stakeholders, who were earning their livelihood with timber products, with the opportunity to become long-term guardians of natural resources, such as medicinal and aromatic plants (MAP).

The global trade value of MAPs is estimated at around 60 billion USD and is expected to grow to 5 trillion USD by 2050, a huge potential market for rural Pakistani communities, considering that the MAP’s value per weight is one of the highest amongst traded plants in Pakistan.

NTFPs Development Nursery for growing and transplanting high value MAP in respective habitats./©Ikram Ur Rahman

NTFPs Development Nursery for growing and transplanting high value MAP in respective habitats./©Ikram Ur Rahman

For this reason, Dr. Rahman is using his expertise in preserving wild origin organic products to support capacity building in rural Pakistani communities. He is training his community in the sustainable collection, post-collection processing, value addition, product development as well as the necessary marketing of NTFPs such as MAPs.

By informing rural communities on the natural and monetary value of resource management and sustainable land use, he is helping the local community to learn about alternative ways of increasing their economic growth, as well as creating awareness about the consequences of tree cutting and timber selling.

Maintaining high value MAP nursery in collaboration with NTFPs Directorate of Forest Department KP./©Ikram Ur Rahman

Maintaining high-value MAP nursery in collaboration with NTFPs Directorate of Forest Department KP./©Ikram Ur Rahman

In 2015, Dr. Rahman was at COP21 in Paris. He learned about the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation programme (REDD), which aims at reducing GHG emissions by introducing sustainable forest management in developing countries. Soon after, he observed many REDD related approaches dealing with the mitigation of climate change such as the conservation of existing resources and the enhancement of carbon stock through forestation and afforestation.

He integrated these new concepts into the technical training that he was delivering to the rural Pakistani communities. As he began to gain new knowledge on these topics, he started to do a UN CC:e-Learn course. Specifically, he enrolled in the REDD+ Academy e-Course, which enhanced his knowledge on setting reference levels, monitoring, and stakeholder engagement in forest preservation.

According to Dr. Rahman, these e-courses helped him tremendously in training the rural communities.

I was able to raise awareness in the approach of nature conservation” – he said.

He integrated information related to sustainable forest management and conservation issues into the presentation materials, which provided practicable information for people living in the rural Northern Pakistani areas.

By taking UN CC:e-Learn courses, I was able to grant communities, that committed to NTFP harvests, the access to national and international markets with their products” – he added.

The knowledge transmitted by the UN CC:e-Learn courses constitutes a key economic opportunity for the Northern Pakistani community considering the value of the total MAP market and demonstrates the impact that these courses might have on developing countries’ communities.

MAP collectors granted with safe collection tool kits after their training on sustainable collection of MAP./©Ikram Ur Rahman

MAP collectors granted with safe collection tool kits after their training on the sustainable collection of MAP./©Ikram Ur Rahman

Furthermore, Dr. Rahman, currently working under UNDP Pakistan, was rewarded for taking part in this course. After presenting his UN CC:e-Learn certificate to his UNDP supervisor — he was granted a raise, based on the fact that his newly acquired know-how can be used to boost economic benefits for his community by integrating newly learned approaches of nature preservation and resource management. This in turn shows that employers appreciate it when their employees seek ways for continuing learning.

Although Dr. Rahman has come a long way, he still aims to do more. He would like to take a more inclusive approach in his undertakings. This would mean involving women in sustainable resource projects. He also sees a need for educating schoolchildren and students about the importance of nature conservation in order to teach responsible conduct with the environment from an early age on. These two tasks can be supported by taking UN CC:e-Learn courses, namely the Children and Climate Change and an upcoming course on Gender Equality, Women’s Empowerment, and the Environment, both courses provide the opportunity to support Dr. Rahman and his community in their ambitions.

Surveying NTFP status to allocate sustainable harvest quota for different species and declare species for enhanced conservation./©Ikram Ur Rahman

Surveying NTFP status to allocate sustainable harvest quota for different species and declare species for enhanced conservation./©Ikram Ur Rahman

Dr. Rahman did not only gain in terms of monetary increments, but he also passed on the knowledge he acquired through UN CC:e-Learn courses to his community. In turn, people are now able to sell their products on the international market. These products provide a steady income to the poor rural communities of Northern Pakistan, and the change in resource use within the community is helping to decrease deforestation and upholding the rich biodiversity in the region.

*Dr. Rahman is currently acting as a Regional Program Coordinator in the Sustainable Land Management Project (SLMP-II) in Khyberpukhtunkhwa Province of Pakistan. The story is of 2017 when he was serving in the Mountains & Markets Project as Regional Project Coordinator. Local Communities, UNDP Pakistan, GEF, Ministry of Climate Change and provincial line departments/institutions work together as the key stakeholders in these Projects.

Ou alumni, Mr. Germain Goungounga is an expert who specializes in macroeconomics and environmental statistics. He carries out environmental and social impact assessments for projects that incorporate climate change issues in Burkina Faso. In this story, he tells us how the ‘Introductory e-course on Climate Change’ has contributed to advance his career on the field.

Mr. Germain Goungounga is an expert who specializes in macroeconomics and environmental statistics. He carries out environmental and social impact assessments for projects that incorporate climate change issues in Burkina Faso. Besides his job with a private consultancy firm, Germain works as an independent, self-employed expert consultant.

In five years of professional experience, he has contributed to the design and validation of a number of local development strategies that include the issue of climate change.

What motivated you to take courses on the UN CC:e-Learn platform?

GG: I heard about the Introductory e-course on Climate Change while attending my first course with UNDP. Because economic questions and climate issues cannot be addressed separately, I decided to register for this course in order to extend my expertise to this specific area and be able to integrate both aspects — economic and climate-related — into my work.

In what way has this course changed your life, advanced your career, or increased your income?

GG: First of all, I have gained key insights that help me speak with ease when I participate in panel debates on the issue of climate change. One thing I have noticed is that there is a growing interest in the scientific and intellectual contributions made on this topic.

This course also turned out to be helpful with regards to the Master in Engineering that I am currently completing, since I got the highest grade for a modeling course focusing on the topic of climate change.

In terms of my income, it indeed directly increased since I took this course. Clients are fully satisfied with my work as an independent expert, and they consider that my performance deserves higher remuneration than the amounts initially agreed, which is why, in the end, I systematically receive additional fees for the missions I perform.

High school students participating at the UN CC:Learn classroom preparation event. Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. ©UN CC:Learn/Frederic Ballenegger

High school students participating at the UN CC:Learn classroom preparation event. Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. ©UN CC:Learn/Frederic Ballenegger

What kind of actions have you been taking within your community and at work since you attended this course?

GG: I, of course, continue to work on development projects that take into account climate change issues, which are of particular interest to me. One of the most thrilling aspects of my job is to be able to work alongside the local communities involved in these projects. These experiences are very rewarding and the lessons I learn from such interactions are extremely valuable.

Furthermore, given the increasing role of environmental statistics and their broad scope of application, I plan to create either a research center or a think tank that will specialize in environmental economics, with the aim to produce three different types of data, namely environmental data and statistics, environmental indicators and indices, and economic and environmental accounts.

What message would you like to convey about the importance of education in the field of climate change?

GG: First of all, I would like to stress that climate changes are acknowledged by the scientific community as resulting, to a large extent, from human activity. The increasingly devastating climate events that we have observed over the past years remind us that urgent action is required to address the issue at the global level.

I want to insist here on the critical role of education in mobilizing the international community. Getting behavior patterns to change requires engaging truly impactful information, education, and communication efforts in almost all sectors. It is therefore crucial that governments design national learning strategies that will allow the people to take ownership of the mechanisms by which they can adapt to climate change and mitigate its effects. I call on our political leaders to implement such learning strategies while ensuring consistency with the actions taken at regional and even international levels so that tangible results can be achieved.

Watering a field of vegetables in Kieryaghin village, Burkina Faso, 2013. ©Dominic Chavez/World Bank

Watering a field of vegetables in Kieryaghin village, Burkina Faso, 2013. ©Dominic Chavez/World Bank

Would you recommend this course to other learners and if so, why?

GG: This training course is designed for both students and professionals, and it is an extremely valuable tool for acquiring key knowledge on climate change. It shows us how to question our production and consumption patterns, and most of all, how to take into consideration climate change concerns in our day-to-day lives. Hence, I encourage everyone to use the UN CC:e-Learn platform, especially the young who want to join the fight against climate change.

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Given the major socio-economic challenges posed by climate change, there is a growing number of project owners who rely on the services of consultancy firms specializing in this field of expertise, which, for Germain, means promising career prospects.