UNESCO's Intersectoral Platform on Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation

Climate change is a threat to societies and the ecosystems that sustain them. Addressing climate change and the challenges it poses around the world is therefore a prime objective. The Intersectoral Platform is charged with promoting the implementation of the UNESCO Strategy for Action on Climate Change and the associated UNESCO Initiative on Climate Change developed for this purpose. The overall 2012 - 2013 priority adopted for the platform aims at enhancing and applying the climate change knowledge base for building green societies through reinforcing the scientific, mitigation and adaptation capacities of countries, communities and groups that are most vulnerable to the effcts of climate change, with special focus on Africa and SIDS. The gender dimension of climate change will be mainstreamed within all of the platform’s activities.

The platform contributes to UNESCO’s action leading up to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20) and to its follow-up.

Altogether, the platform will aim at realising four expected results with four flagship activities:

1. Strengthening the interdisciplinary climate change knowledge base


The first platform flagship activity will promote the continuous strengthening of the interdisciplinary climate change knowledge base, primarily involving the sound and unbiased generation and use of data, information and research concerning climate change (climate science) assessment, monitoring and early warning of relevance to climate change mitigation and adaptation. This will be integrated with UNESCO capacities in natural and social sciences, culture, education and communication to improve the resilience of Member States to climate change through national and local climate mitigation, adaptation and risk management policies based on science, local and indigenous knowledge, and ecological and sociocultural systems.


2. Climate Change Adaptation Forum to building a local climate knowledge base to improve adaptation strategies and responses


The platform will develop, in close cooperation with relevant UN partners, such as the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), a UNESCO Climate Change Adaptation Forum. This Forum will bring together the generators of climate information (based on global and regional scientific observations and research as well as local
observations), and potential users of information on climate variability and change, such as coastal managers, urban planners, community groups, UNESCO site managers, the agricultural and energy sectors, educators and journalists.

The overarching goals of this Forum are to build the local climate knowledge
base to improve adaptation strategy and responses, by enhancing the potential user’s understanding and use of climate information; and identifying the requirements for improved research and observations to benefit vulnerable Member States.

3. Climate change education and public awareness for sustainable development

Education and public awareness are ef ective means to address the challenge of climate change. In many regions, varying weather conditions and climate-related shocks are making it harder to deliver quality education in safe learning environments. UNESCO will therefore develop national capacities to integrate climate-relevant components into national education plans. Due account will be given to regional specificities and priorities, paying particular attention to the challenges of countries most vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change such as Small Islands Development States (SIDS) and African countries. 

4. Global climate change field observatory of UNESCO sites

© NASA/The Sundarbans, a UNESCO World Heritage site threatened by climate change

The fourth flagship activity will maximize the comparative advantages of UNESCO’s action to address the environmental, socio-economic and cultural impacts of climate change from local to international levels. It also strives to demonstrate the value added of UNESCO’s sites (World Heritage sites and Biosphere Reserves) for integrated management at the landscape level; and to increase the visibility and the use of these sites as priority reference for climate change monitoring, research, capacity building and action related to mitigation and adaptation across a wide range of representative ecosystems and through dialogue among all relevant stakeholders, including local and indigenous communities.

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