Abu Dhabi Hosts Successful 12th World Environmental Education Congress: A Global Gathering for Environment and Sustainability Education

This week, the 12th World Environmental Education Congress took place in Abu Dhabi, UAE. It was a good opportunity to learn and exchange knowledge and practice on Environment Education and Education for Sustainability, as well as to build collaboration. The WEEC is the world’s major environment education event, which takes place every two years as a platform for knowledge exchange and networking.

HE Shaikha Al Dhaheri, Secretary General of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, opened the event by emphasizing that education is a key factor to address the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss, and widespread pollution. She also highlighted the need to build a worldwide community for sustainability with a shared vision.

The first keynote address was offered by H.H. Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, President & CEO, UAE Independent Climate Change Accelerators (UICCA). It was an eye opening opportunity for many to see the commitment of this country to these topics.

The president of IUCN, HE Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, enlightened the event and reinforced the arguments on the importance of aligning Environment Education and Education for Sustainable Development, indicating that “the only path to address the triple planetary crisis is through education… we have access to a lot of information, but yet our action is not necessarily coherent… perhaps we need less information and more inspiration.”

Earth Charter International was grateful to be able to participate and contribute to the gathering through the participation of Akpezi Ogbuigwe, Chair of our Council and of our executive director, Mirian Vilela, who offered a presentation during the first plenary of the second day, highlighting the importance of bringing environment and sustainability values into education and of cultivating an ethic of care for the community of life.

ECI also took part in an informal meeting of SASEANEE (South and Southeast Asia Network for Environmental Education) which is a collaborative consortium of global partners (of which we are proudly part of) dedicated to promoting environmental literacy, skills, and sustainability in the South and Southeast Asia regions. Together we will share valuable resources, expertise, and strategies to foster education, innovation, restoration, and advocacy of green initiatives.

One of the plenary panels that took place brought together Kartikeya Sarabhai, Founder and Director, Centre for Environment Education (CEE), India and member of ECI Council, who stressed that the only way to address the huge task we have ahead in such a diverse context is through partnership. Judy Braus, Executive Director, North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE), USA who said “our goal is to collaborate across borders to be able to spark creativity.” Carlos Alvarez Pereira, Secretary General, The Club of Rome, talked about the emerging new civilization and “the need to have the humility to engage in learning with people from other cultures… we need to seek learning for the emergence of ecological civilization.” Daniel Schaffer, Chief Executive Officer, Foundation for Environmental Education, Denmark, also took part in this exchange and highlighted the huge work of FEE is doing in engaging with partners and schools across the world, he underlined FEE’s interest and focus in collaborating in EE/ESD efforts.

At the closing ceremony the The Abu Dhabi Roadmap was launched with a set of recommendations from the delegates such as:

“EE and ESD must provide opportunities to support the roles of aesthetics, ethics and values in sustainability and social and emotional development that can lead to sustainable societies. The nurturing of an ethic of care and responsibility for the common good is vital, enabling learners (future leaders) to make judgements and act with awareness of our human-nature interconnectedness with a determination to protect nature.”

Finally, Mario Salomone, Secretary-General, World Environmental Education Congress Network, announced that the next Congress will take place in two years in Perth, Australia.

We want to congratulate the organizers for such an outstanding event and their kind and warm welcome.

Click here to find more: https://www.weec2024.org

Click here to see the Abu Dhabi Roadmap: https://www.weec2024.org/…/nkehytb1/abu-dhabi-road-map.pdf

WEEC 2024