Experts Meeting on Climate Change Education for Sustainable Development in Latin America and the Caribbean

A Latin America and Caribbean meeting on climate change education for sustainable development took place at the Earth Charter Center in Costa Rica from May 12-14, 2015, with over 100 experts coming from 25 countries.

During the meeting, participants analyzed the main challenges that climate change poses to education systems in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as the role that education can have in adaptation and mitigation of climate change effects. This meeting was organized as part of the recently launched Global Action Programme for Education for Sustainable Development, which follows the UNESCO Decade for Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014).

The Minister of Education of Costa Rica Mrs. Sonia Marta Mora attended this meeting during the second day. She affirmed the commitment of the Government of Costa Rica to forge collaboration within the region to promote this topic. The Central America and Mexico regional UNESCO director Mrs. Pilar Álvarez-Laso stressed the importance of the event in the process of articulating the new agenda and priorities in education that are being developed in a variety of forums in 2015.

Also, renowned researchers and communicators working in this field participated in this event, as well as government authorities, youth, members of indigenous communities, and NGO representatives. Ms. Adriana Valenzuela from the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), was also present and emphasized the importance of international cooperation for enhancing the implementation of Article 6 of Convention related to education, training, and public awareness on climate change.

The first day started with two keynote speeches, the first one from Eduard Muller, University of International Cooperation (Costa Rica), titled: “Education for Climate Change or Education for Regenerative Development?” The second speech from Edgar Gonzalez-Gaudiano, University Veracruzana (México), titled “Education and Communication of Climate Change. A Perspective from Social Representations.”

During the first and second day of the meeting several panels and working groups were organized under these topics:

  • Policies, Strategies, and Partnerships on CCE in  Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Capacity building and awareness-raising on climate change
  • The role of different groups in promoting climate change education: forging collaboration
  • Whole school/institution approaches to climate change education
  • Building community resilience through disaster risk reduction  education

During the second and third day, participants formed three sub-regional groups (Central America and Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America), to identify recommendations for regional action plans to promote climate change education for sustainability.

On 14 May, the last day of the meeting, participants visited four projects that show good practices on mitigation and adaptation to climate change in the Central Valley.

As a concrete result of this meeting, several recommendations for a plan of action to promote climate change education for sustainability in the context of Latin America and the Caribbean were identified. These recommendations are still being revised by the participants and will be presented in this meeting’s final report.

This event was organized by UNESCO in collaboration with Earth Charter International and was made possible through grants from the Japan Funds-in-Trust and the Government of Denmark. The event was held at the Earth Charter Center for Education for Sustainable Development at the University for Peace.