20.09.2011 - UNESCOPRESS

UNESCO conference on educating for climate change in Small Island States

© H.Thulstrup - Man and child on raft, Trobriand Islands (Papua New Guinea)

Small islands are already facing the consequences of climate change with rising sea levels, and an increase in extreme phenomena such as floods and hurricanes. It is against this background that UNESCO is organizing a meeting of experts on education for climate change in Small Developing Island States from 21 to 23 September in Nassau (Bahamas).

Davidson Hepburn, President of UNESCO’s General Conference, and Gretchen Kalonji, Assistant UNESCO Director-General for Natural Sciences, will open the meeting. Some 100 school curriculum developers, teachers, representatives of multilateral development agencies, educational networks and civil society, most of them from Small Developing Island States (SIDS) in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific and Indian Oceans, will participate.

Education can play a key role in reinforcing populations’ ability to adapt to the threats climate change poses to small islands. Moreover, educational establishments must prepare a safe environment for their students, by building schools able to withstand extreme events. In coming years, education systems will also have to tackle major migratory pressures due to climate change.

The purpose of the meeting is to prepare a “roadmap” to guide and promote education as an important means of enhancing adaptation to climate change in the context of sustainable development. The roadmap and its recommendations will be one of the contributions to the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (Durban, South Africa, December 2011), and the UN Rio+20 Conference in June 2012.

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