Our newly launched “Circular Economy in South Africa” e-course lays out this concept for you while providing examples of how it could bring economic progress to South Africa.

Read on to find out more about the course!

Everyone is talking about shifting to more sustainable models of production and consumption, but what does it actually mean? This question is complex and encompasses several aspects of people’s lives but there may be an answer to solve it all: a shift towards a circular economy. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation defines circular economy as “one that is restorative and regenerative by design and aims to keep products, components, and materials at their highest utility and value at all times, distinguishing between technical and biological cycles.”

To shed light on this issue and help unpack this concept, UN CC:Learn has recently launched the Circular Economy for the Waste Sector in South Africa. The three-module course takes an average of two hours to be completed. The course has been developed in collaboration with  United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), with support from the South African Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment (DFFE), under the framework of the EU-funded Switch Africa Green Programme. Among other things, you will learn to:

  • Explain what a circular economy is, its main principles, objectives, and benefits
  • Identify key issues and economic opportunities in the South African waste sector
  • Describe applications of circularity in the waste sector
  • Describe the current waste management policy framework
  • Identify concrete approaches that can support the circularity transition in South Africa

The course is filled with real-life examples of how circular economy principles can be applied to different businesses. For instance, learners will find out about companies helping push circularity across different industries, like Blueland, a company providing zero-waste, sustainable cleaning tablets, and Buy Me Once, which offers lifetime guarantees to consumers, giving them the opportunity to fix their products instead of having to change them.

The course considers the challenges and opportunities for applying best practices in circularity to the waste sector in South Africa. Even in the challenging country and regional context , circular economy nonetheless provides a pathway for delivering economic growth and job creation while improving people’s health and protecting the environment.

Start learning today!

UN CC:Learn has launched two different series of alumni engagement events.


Read on to learn more about them and to see which one interests you the most!

UN CC:Learn’s alumni network has grown considerably in the past years, reaching over 600,000 people with more 215,000 certificates issued from UN CC:e-Learn by September 2022. These learners from all over the world come to the e-learning platform to learn more about climate change and green economy and to get empowered to take climate change action and be drivers of change in their communities, work, or households.

But what happens when they finish a course?

To answer this question, UN CC:Learn has recently launched the Fireside Chats and the Masterclasses – two new series of online alumni engagement events – which aim to strengthen their learning while providing a platform for them to meet and interact with course experts, thought leaders and other alumni. Each series targets different audiences and has their own visual identity. However, to attend any of them you must have successfully completed one of the more than 40 e-courses on the e-learning platform.

The Fireside Chats are short and informal exchanges with engaging thought leaders and experts followed by Q&A with the alumni. This series provides direct access to the personal/professional insights of UN and other thought leaders/experts on key climate change topics. To date, UN CC:Learn has held two editions:

  • Fireside Chat on Why We Need to Talk about Gender in a Changing Climate, open to everyone who completed one of the gender-related e-courses.
  • Fireside Chat on the International Day of Awareness of Food Waste and Loss, open to everyone who completed one of the food-related e-courses, namely the Food Waste Prevention and the Sustainable Diet e-courses.

The Masterclasses are interactive workshops that aim to enhance participants’ skills so they can put into practice the knowledge acquired through the courses with guidance from high-level instructors and through learning by doing. They feature keynote speeches, experience sharing, peer learning and joint problem solving. To date, one Masterclass was held on the topic of Becoming a Climate Champion, which featured Amy Meek, who participated in last year’s TEDx The Tide Is Rising, and four 2020 UN CC:Learn Champions: Asha Alexander, Camile Clarke, Hassan Yasin and Supun Lahiru.

UN CC:Learn will periodically organize both types of events so stay tuned not to miss out on this opportunity to strengthen your learning and meet other alumni.

Innovation and climate change action walk hand in hand!


In July 2022, UN CC:Learn took part in the Global Challenge Lab, a 10-day entrepreneurship programme focused on reaching SDG 13 by Imperial College London, Tsinghua University, and the Technical University of Munich.


Read on to find out more about UN CC:Learn’s presentation on climate action!

Fixing the climate crisis requires innovative solutions, some of which have not even been thought of yet. Fomenting innovation and entrepreneurship are key to effectively responding to climate change and meeting emission reduction targets. Against this background, UN CC:Learn was invited to deliver a keynote intervention on climate action at the Global Challenge Lab, a 10-day entrepreneurship programme co-organized by Imperial College London, Tsinghua University’s x-lab in Beijing and the Technical University of Munich.

The Global Challenge Lab is part of the Imperial Enterprise Lab, which brings together hundreds of students and alumni to grow their international network, gain new skills and create new products or services to help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), focusing this year on UN SDG 13: Climate Action. The Lab promotes innovation by encouraging discussions, supporting the development of innovative projects, and granting a £10,000.00 prize to participants who pitch the best idea. From 1 to 15 July 2022, attendees had the opportunity to join panel discussions with industry leaders and other guest speakers and take part in expert training on cross-cultural collaboration, design thinking, prototyping and more.

In this space, UN CC:Learn’s intervention highlighted the importance of taking climate action at all levels, providing an overview ranging from international efforts, national policy and urban planning, to business and institutions and individual action.  In doing so, it showcased a wide array of examples.

In addition, participants were introduced to key topics, like climate change mitigation and adaptation, and learned about relevant UN CC:Learn resources such as the e-learning platform, and important initiatives being carried out by the United Nations, like UNDP’s Climate Promise.

Watch the presentation! 

In June 2022, UN CC:Learn attended the Greentech Festival, a two-day event devoted to finding solutions for the climate crisis through green entrepreneurship and innovation. Among conferences with high-level speakers and exhibits of groundbreaking ideas, the festival showed where the corporate world is headed with regard to sustainability.


Read on to find out more!

Go green or go home! That was the message delivered by Gerd Müller, Director General at UNIDO and former Germany’s Finance Minister, at the Greentech Festival. For Mr. Müller, cooperation and green entrepreneurship are the watchwords around which the work being done by the private and public sectors should be anchored. For him – and several other personalities and keynote speakers at the festival – the tools and resources to clean up and go green are known and available, but cooperation and political will are  lagging a long way behind.

Speech by Gerd Müller at the Greentech Festival

With the motto “Together We Change the World for the Better”, the Greentech Festival, a Berlin-based, sustainability-focused event organized by former Formula 1 champion Nico Rosberg, provides a platform for sustainability-driven personalities and entrepreneurs in the sustainability space to network, showcase innovations, voice their concerns and debate about the role the private sector can play in driving the much-needed shift towards greener and  carbon neutral economies.  From small entrepreneurs to  global corporations, the two-day festival (22-23 June 2022) brought together like-minded people who are dedicating their efforts to solving the environmental crisis. For UN CC:Learn the event provided an opportunity to better understand the latest buzzwords from within the industry, to showcase the importance of education and training pathways for change and to … network too! 

Many  companies  now understand the importance of education of the workforce and supply chains as a way of changing mindsets and driving action at all levels of business.  But there was clearly more of a sense of delight in much more tangible things that can be done be it through the design of new products – such as “biocarbons”, which are high-quality materials with different types of use that are made through innovative processes that take out CO2 from the atmosphere – or systems and procedures. In a discussion hosted by Lufthansa for example participants thought that airlines should give priority treatment not to those with the most airmiles but rather those who offset the GHG emissions the most. What a visible and direct way this could send the message to consumers that things are changing. 

Day 2 closing debate at the Greentech Festival with Nico Rosberg and the CEOs of E.ON and Austrian Airlines.

Day 2 included an excellent series of bootcamps on  “Green Leadership, Goal Setting and Aligning Company Values”. These were highly interactive, engaging and expertly lead opportunities to get to grips with very practical challenges being faced by companies; such as how to ensure that offsetting is meaningful;  how car companies can communicate more effectively with consumers (in particular the under 35); and what the airline industry can to go net zero. For UN CC:Learn these bootcamps served to further demonstrate how important education is as a pathway towards  sustainable solutions. 

All of this said, there was still very much as sense that the future is still about developing and selling products, albeit products with a much lower carbon footprint. The ability of the earth’s systems to deliver on such a future was less in evidence in either the number or the discussion. For some it appears obvious that more and more products cannot be the way forward. 

Presentation at the GreenTech Festival

UN CC:Learn is looking to work with the conference organisers to identify a possible role in promoting education, training and awareness. The GreenTech Festival  is also hosting events in London and Singapore, as well as New York in the future. UN CC:Learn is very grateful for the support of the Nico Rosberg Family for their support in facilitating our participation. 

The Day May Break Photo Exhibit at the Greenwich Festival

Over 500,000 people have invested their time to learn more about climate change and green economy.

On 31 January 2022, UN CC:Learn reached the important milestone of 500,000 registrations on its e-learning platform. This achievement came against the backdrop of increased debate about and awareness of climate change worldwide, which consolidates the importance of UN CC:Learn in promoting climate change education and the role it plays in providing up-to-date and accessible online courses on climate change and green economy.

Over the past years, the programme has diversified its portfolio and started to offer a variety of different courses on climate change and green economy, such as the “Climate Change, Peace and Security”, the new “Introduction to Sustainable Finance” and the latest “Gender Equality and Human Rights in Climate Action and Renewable Energy” e-courses, unraveling complex topics and delivering informative, interactive and pertinent e-learning resources that cater to different audiences, spanning technical experts, policymakers, academia, and the general public. The relevance and diversity of the content proposed, which builds on the most up-to-date knowledge of the United Nations, combined with an engaging user experience, are key to the success of the e-courses offered by UN CC:Learn. This is reflected by the high conversion rate of the platform: almost one person out of three ends up completing a course and getting a certificate.

Multilingualism, tailoring and accessibility are cornerstones of UN CC:Learn work. The e-learning platform follows the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (Level AA) and is currently available in 6 languages. Users who register to it have an array of different courses to choose from, many of which being offered in two or more languages. Currently, there are 16 languages represented in the platform and this enhances the users’ experience by allowing them to complete the courses in their native language. The “Mastering NAPs: from Start to Finish”, for instance, can be done in English and French. The flagship “Climate Change: From Learning to Action” e-course, is currently available in English, Spanish, French and Russian, with a translation into Chinese under way. In addition,  it offers region-specific content, for instance through the “Sustainable Consumption and Production in Africa” course, which can be accessed in English and French.

Moving forward, UN CC:Learn will keep increasing and improving its course catalogue while exploring other ways of promoting climate literacy and making its e-learning platform even more accessible. On top of the courses already in the making and forecast to be launched later this year, the programme is also planning to tap on “micro-learning”, a totally new way of putting together content and experiences. Stay tuned!

How can we accelerate the achievement of climate and development targets by leveraging the financial sector?


The Introduction to Sustainable Finance e-course has been completely revamped and will answer this and many more questions in 4 different modules that cater to several audiences, from the financial sector to civil society.


Read on to find out more about the course.

Sustainable finance is key to achieving the much-needed climate and development goals. In this context, the new Introduction to Sustainable Finance e-course has been developed to help users working in finance better understand the ins and outs of sustainable finance.

This interactive and practical e-course provides you with the basic knowledge you need to understand sustainable finance – its scope, its contribution to supporting action on climate change and sustainable development, the main actors and how financial institutions make decisions on sustainability-related issues. The course also allows you to dig deeper into topics such as sustainable finance instruments, methodologies and frameworks for integrating sustainability into financial decisions, key global initiatives and sustainable finance regulations. These topics are supplemented by examples and case studies from around the world.

The course is available in a self-paced format (i.e., you can take it any time) and has four modules that take about 10 hours to be completed. The target audience includes governments, academia, the financial sector, businesses, and civil society. To register for the course please register on the UN CC:e-Learn platform and then enrol to the course.

The Introduction to Sustainable Finance e-course was originally developed in 2018 by Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, as part of their Strategic Alliance (STA) on Green Bond Market Development in G20 Emerging Economies, and the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE), a One UN initiative bringing together five UN agencies. In 2021, the course has been comprehensively updated with technical inputs by the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

Take the course today.

This interactive and practice-oriented course, originally developed in 2018 and comprehensively updated in 2021, covers the basics of Sustainable Finance while providing several opportunities to dive deeper.

  • Finance
  • Green Economy

Self-paced course

10 hours


This interactive and practice-oriented course, originally developed in 2018 and comprehensively updated in 2021, covers the basics of Sustainable Finance while providing several opportunities to dive deeper. The course covers sustainable finance instruments, methodologies and frameworks for integrating sustainability into financial decisions, key global sustainable finance initiatives, and sustainable finance regulations. It is designed for interested participants from governments, academia, the financial sector, businesses, and civil society.

What you will learn

  • Explains the potential contribution of sustainable finance to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change;
  • Explains the core concepts of sustainable finance and the relevance of sustainability considerations for the key actors in the financial system;
  • Describes the role that regulation and industry initiatives (self-regulation) play in shaping sustainable finance;
  • Describes different sustainable finance products, such as bonds and loans, that may be available to provide the capital needed to support the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals and the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

The course at a glance

This course is presented in four modules:

  1. Sustainable Finance in Context: two lessons describing the role that sustainable finance can play in delivering global goals on climate change and development.
  2. Fundamentals of Sustainable Finance: five interactive lessons explaining the core concepts of sustainable finance and the relevance of sustainability to finance sector decision-makers.
  3. Sustainable Finance: Regulation and Self-regulation: three interactive lessons analyzing the role that regulation and industry initiatives (self-regulation) play in shaping sustainable finance.
  4. Sustainable Finance Products: six interactive lessons describing some of the products, such as bonds and loans, that may be available to provide the capital needed to support the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals and the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Romanian speakers can now embark on a journey to learn the basic concepts, policy instruments and international frameworks of inclusive green economies.

The Introduction to Green Economy course is now available in Romanian.  This newly developed version of the course has been launched on the occasion of the annual high-level event “Green Economy – Made in Moldova” on 29 January 2021. UNEP, one of  the implementing agencies of the EU-funded EU4Environment programme, along with UNITAR, has brought to life the version in Romanian, expanding the number of languages available for this course to 6: English, French, Spanish, Ukrainian, Mongolian and Romanian.

This 10-hour course is hosted on the UN CC:Learn e-Learning platform platform and can be completed at your own pace. It is free of charge and upon completion, learners gain a certificate.

It includes basic concepts, policy instruments and international frameworks that promote inclusive green economies at all levels. The course consists of five modules with interactive exercises that reinforce the readers learning.

After completing the course, learners will be able to:

  • Describe the rationale and core concepts for moving away from business-as-usual practices and towards an inclusive green economy;
  • Identify enabling conditions for greening national economies;
  • Outline principal opportunities and challenges to greening key sectors of the economy;
  • Provide examples of enabling national and sectoral strategies and planning;
  • Distinguish international frameworks and initiatives in support of an inclusive green economy.

This course is open to policy-makers, businesses, and the general public.

Are you interested? Have a try here.

How effective can putting a price on carbon be in the fight against climate change? That’s what you will find out in our course on Carbon Taxation.


This 12-hour, self-paced course walks you through the ins and outs of carbon tax and explains the social, economic and environmental benefits that can come from it. Interested? Take the course today to start learning more about carbon taxes.

For centuries, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) have been driving anthropogenic climate change. If the world is to reign in the devastating effects of rising temperatures, countries need to step up their efforts to halt carbon emissions. But how can they do that? Putting a price on carbon may be an integral part of the answer. Several countries across the globe have implemented carbon taxes or intend to do so. Currently, there are 64 carbon pricing initiatives in place, covering 22.3% of global GHG emissions.

Mindful of the untapped opportunities that carbon pricing presents, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the World Bank have come together to develop a course which lays out the ins and outs of carbon taxes. The self-paced, free online course “Carbon Taxation” invites users to learn how carbon taxes work while examining the social, economic and environmental benefits that can stem from this policy tool. This course is divided into 5 modules and takes and estimated time of 12 hours to be completed.

The social cost of one ton of carbon emissions.

During the course, users will learn about different designs that can be used to price carbon. Moreover, they will see that carbon taxes can become an important revenue source, providing crucial funding for governments’ numerous development objectives. By implementing a carbon tax, governments ensure that “bads” such as emissions have an adequate price while protecting the “goods” within a society, such as a clean environment and employment.

After completing this course, users will be able to:

  • Describe how carbon taxes work in reducing greenhouse gas emissions
  • Outline key considerations that shape the decision to adopt carbon taxes
  • Summarize approaches for determining the carbon tax base and rate
  • Differentiate main undesirable effects and mitigation measures
  • List options for revenue use

Despite not requiring any prior knowledge of the subject, this course primarily targets people who want to build a solid understanding of carbon taxation. People who may benefit greatly from the content of this course are:

  • Stakeholders who wish to follow the global discourse on carbon taxation or who are involved in designing and implementing carbon taxes
  • Mid-level project developers and policy makers such as representatives from Ministries
  • Technical experts and practitioners engaged in country-level work within the PMR

The course was developed to keep you engaged at all times. Over the five modules, you will be presented with interactive activities, quizzes and media. While a modular learning sequence is proposed, users can select modules based on individual preferences. The modules are completed with the purpose of achieving module-specific learning objectives. For the most curious learners, publications and relevant databases will be provided along the way.

The course is available on UN CC:Learn e-Learning Platform and is currently available in English. Upon successful completion, users will get an official UN CC:Learn Certificate of Completion.

Dr. Ganzorig Gonchigsumlaa from Mongolia participated in an e-learning course on green fiscal reform delivered by the Partnership for Action on Green Economy and shared with us his experience.

Dr. Ganzorig Gonchigsumlaa, originally from Mongolia, studied at the University of Manchester, where he obtained a Master of Science in Environmental Economics in 2010. He gained his PhD in Agricultural Economics at the Georg-August University of Goettingen, Germany in 2016.

Dr. Ganzorig Gonchigsumlaa teaching Sustainable Development Goals in the Development Economics course among undergraduate students. / © Sainjargal Zorigtbaatar 2018

Dr. Ganzorig Gonchigsumlaa teaching Sustainable Development Goals in the Development Economics course among undergraduate students. / © Sainjargal Zorigtbaatar 2018

Since then, he has become a Senior Lecturer at the Mongolian University of Life Sciences where he teaches three courses: Introduction to Economics, Cost-Benefit Analysis and Development Economics. In addition, he also has experience working with the UN System and the Mongolian government.

During the weeks of 8 September to 10 November 2017, PAGE delivered an e-learning course on green fiscal reform to meet the learning needs and build capacities of national stakeholders.

The interactive and practice-oriented course provided participants from government, business, civil society and academia with an introduction to various approaches and policy instruments for reforming government spending and revenue generation with the goal of supporting the transition to a green economy.

Ganzorig participated in the course and shares with us his experience:

The GFR e-course was amazingly well-prepared and organized. The course plan, evaluation methods, training materials, online discussions and receiving feedback for my submitted assignments was fantastic. It was my first time taking an e-course, and I understand better now how useful it can be to take an e-course.”

The Sunkhul Lake is salty lake located up in the mountain summer pastureland, which sustains livestock of herder households both from Khovd and Bayan-Ulgii provinces./©Ganzorig Gonchigsumlaa 2012

In terms of content, Ganzorig says he “gained knowledge related to fiscal and financial aspects of the green economy for a variety of economic sectors including agriculture and transportation.”

The most important aspect of the course for him was the “chance to pool out every aspect of green fiscal reform with very practical international case studies and examples.”

Among all the new concepts that he learned, one of the key takeaways is that the biggest challenge to fulfill country goals might be the financial gaps, and thanks to the e-course, he grasped this more clearly.

He encourages people who want to learn about GFR in a constructive manner to take the e-course.

Mr. Shagdarsuren Khalzaa — the driver of the motorcycle on the photo, had lost about 160 goats and several horses, cattle and camels during the Dzud, a natural disaster in winter that kills livestock with its low temperature, heavy snow, and strong wind, in 2010.  /©Ganzorig Gonchigsumlaa 2012

I was in charge of the topics on Green Fiscal Reform: Rationale and related concepts and Green Fiscal Reform: Instruments. The two topics are translated versions of the Module 1 and 2 of the GFR e-course; in addition to, a few more cases focused on the context of Mongolia. This is evidence that the course was beneficial to the participants, like myself, who can later evolve the concepts to reach more people,” he concludes.

After taking the course, Ganzorig had a chance to share his knowledge through PAGE at UN Mongolia to develop a course on Green Economy and Modelling among the undergraduate students.

The team of professors at the Mongolian University of Life Sciences, National University of Mongolia, and the University of Finance and Economics in Mongolia developed the course curriculum, and lecture and seminar materials.

I was in charge of the topics on Green Fiscal Reform: Rationale and related concepts and Green Fiscal Reform: Instruments. The two topics are translated versions of the Module 1 and 2 of the GFR e-course; in addition to, a few more cases focused on the context of Mongolia. This is evidence that the course was beneficial to the participants, like myself, who can later evolve the concepts to reach more people,” he concludes.

Some of Ganzorig’s publications include:

  • Ganzorig, G., Enkh-Amgalan, G., Erdenechuluun, T., Amartuvshin, O., Erdenebayar, M., Kadirbek, D., Tserendavaa, Ts., Batjargal, N., Yadmaa, Z., Gantulga, Ts., Bayarchimeg, G., Ganchimeg, G., Amar, U., Baasansuren, S., Erdenesuren, Ya. and Tumendemberel, G. (2018), Import and Export Study: Linking to Livestock and Vegetable Value Chains, Technical Paper Series 1, book in Mongolian
  • Ganzorig, G., Marlon, F (2015) Valuation of contribution of ecosystem services of the Orkhon Valley National Park to sectoral economic development. book in Mongolian and English, “Munkhiin Useg” Publisher, Ulaanbaatar, ISBN 978–99962–3–945–8, DOI (Eng) 10.13140/RG.2.1.4703.5288, DOI (Mon) 10.13140/RG.2.1.2344.2327
  • Sarthi Acharya; N.Odmaa; D.Chimeddagva; G.Bolormaa; G.Ganzorig (2015, 2016) Handbook for policy planning, monitoring and evaluation. book in Mongolian, Ministry of Finance of Mongolia, UNDP, UNEP, PEI programme, Ulaanbaatar
  • Gonchigsumlaa, G. (2018). Opportunities to integrate Green Economy and Sustainable Development aspects into policy planning, monitoring and evaluation processes in Mongolia. Mongolian Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 21(02), 92–100, from https://www.mongoliajol.info/index.php/MJAS/article/download/914/1086;

Connect with Dr Ganzorig Gonchigsumlaa on ResearchGate.