Anna Cristina D’Addio and Daniel April, Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report and Marcia McKenzie, Nicola Chopin, and Mariana Campos Rivera, MECCE Project
Figure 1. Countries have adopted a variety of CCE laws and policies
Percentage of education systems with specific CCE-related laws and policies. Source: CCE Country Profiles
Credit: Honduras MECCE Project Case Study
Country profiles respond to the need for better data on CCE progress
A new set of 30 country profiles on climate change communication and education (CCE) was launched today to mark the beginning of the COP28 taking place in Dubai, UAE. Bringing the total count to 80, the country profiles allow exploration of greening education approaches globally as they cover countries in all world regions and income levels, which are home to 75% of the global population.
The country profiles respond to the need for better data on CCE progress and result from an ongoing partnership between the GEM Report and the Monitoring and Evaluating Climate Communication and Education (MECCE) Project, hosted by the Sustainability and Education Policy Network (SEPN).
Available on the Profiles Enhancing Education Reviews website (PEER, www.education-profiles.org) of the GEM Report and the MECCE Project website (www.mecce.ca), they are organized in four main sections describing climate change contexts (relevant government agencies, laws, policies, and plans, terminology and budget); climate change education (policy, curriculum, teacher education and assessment) in primary and secondary education; higher education; teacher education; technical and vocational education and training (TVET) and adult education; climate change communication (public awareness, public access to education, public participation); and CCE monitoring.
The profiles provide a comparative perspective of countries’ progress in relation to Article 6 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Article 12 of the Paris Agreement, through ‘Action for Climate Empowerment’ (ACE); and on SDG Target 4.7 on education for sustainable development. More than 750 experts and national focal points for Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) were invited to review the information collected.
Building on such information, the GEM Report and MECCE Project teams have developed several measures to identify global trends in policies and practices (Figure 1). The measures can support countries to learn from peers and foster policy dialogue. They can also support global target-setting and benchmarking in diverse contexts – particularly when used in combination with global indicators, regional and national surveys and polls, and qualitative information.
A new brochure, titled “Climate Change Communication and Education Country Profiles: Approaches to Greening Education Around the World,” uses several measures to highlight key trends in the 80 countries. In doing so it provides a thorough comparative view on how the countries are progressing on CCE.
Climate change education…
- A vast majority (87%) of the 80 countries have laws, policies or plans supporting the integration of climate change in primary and secondary education curricula. These include Chile, France, Indonesia, and Italy. For example, in Chile, climate change is addressed in pre-primary, primary and secondary education as part of a broader National Environmental Education Strategy (2023), spearheaded by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of the Environment. In Ethiopia, the National Curriculum Framework (2020) includes environment and climate change as a cross-cutting issue in all study subjects for grades 1 to 12. In France, the National Curriculum Framework makes ample reference to the environment, sustainability and climate change. In Indonesia, climate change was mainstreamed into the school curriculum in 2011. In Italy, Law 92/2019 introduced the transversal teaching of civics (which covers climate change) in the first and second cycles of education. In the United Arab Emirates, environmental priorities are written into the pre-primary, primary and secondary school curricula, teaching and learning materials, and national voluntary programmes supporting schools, universities and vocational and education training institutes.
Several positive trends emerge in:
And climate change communication…
- Countries often turn to public awareness campaigns to educate communities about the need for more climate-responsible behaviour. In Bolivia, national campaigns such as ‘Your Plate, Your Planet’ aim to promote sustainable food choices for the benefit of people’s health and the environment in the context of climate change. In India, a custom built, 16-coach train called the Science Express Climate Action Special acts as a mobile climate change science exhibition. The train has travelled more than 160,000 kilometres and reached more than 20 million people. Malta’s national public awareness campaign in social media #ClimateON aimed to shift its citizens’ habits towards living in a low-carbon society.
- Only a few countries integrate socio-emotional learning on climate change into primary and secondary education. China does so through the Guidelines for the Implementation of Environment Education in Primary and Secondary Schools (2003). Yet, several countries promote experiential learning. For instance, Ghana’s National Pre-Tertiary Education Curriculum Framework (2018) encourages learners to take climate actions that foster sustainable growth and development.
- Countries are increasingly embracing the transition to green and sustainable schools, for instance through the Eco-Schools programme, which is now implemented in more than 43,000 schools around the world.
- Teacher training on climate change is gaining momentum, such as in Cambodia, where the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports established modules to help teachers integrate climate change in formal and non-formal curricula.
- Climate change training at the tertiary level and capacity building, particularly in TVET, are also becoming increasingly important. This is the case in Maldives, where the Communication Strategy and Action Plan(2019-2023) aims to train various target audiences, including SDG lead agencies, youth, farmers, fishermen, women’s groups, residents and government authorities.
Yet despite progress being underway, more remains to be done
- Only 38% of the 80 countries have a national law, policy and strategy specifically focused on climate change education. In Chile, Article 16 of the Framework Law (2022) refers explicitly to education for climate change. In France, climate change education was integrated in the National Education Law in 2013 and reinforced first in 2019 and further by the Law on Climate Change and Resilience (2021). In Norway, the Climate Action Plan for 2021-2030 highlights the essential role of climate change education in the transition to a low-emission society.
- Budget allocations for CCE are scarce. Only a few countries, such as Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Italy, Portugal and Zambia have publicly available CCE budgets. In Cabo Verde, for example, the National Adaptation Plan outlines the anticipated expenses for implementing a climate education plan from 2022 to 2028, estimated at approximately US$1,500,000. In the United Arab Emirates, the first dedicated fund on climate change education, the Greening Education Partnership Multi Partner Trust Fund, will be established at COP28 in 2023 to mobilize resources.
- While countries generally have ambitious plans for monitoring, evaluation and reporting on CCE, only a few countries collect data to track progress in this area. They include Lebanon, Myanmar, Nauru, Portugal, and Myanmar. The Greening Education Partnership, a global initiative launched by UNESCO, will work with member states to monitor progress in the four key pillars of transformative education: greening schools; greening curriculum; greening teacher training; and education systems’ capacities and greening communities. In this respect, the Sustainable Development Goal 4 High-Level Steering Committee asked member countries to accelerate efforts on environmental education by setting benchmarks to measure tangible progress in the coming years, with checks in 2025 and 2030. Specific areas are highlighted, including the number of schools that are green-accredited, and the extent to which national laws, policies and standards cover climate education.
Credit: France OCE MECCE Project Case Study
More attention needs to be paid to include CCE
As countries follow different paths and approaches to achieve their goals, the country profiles – by presenting systematic, comparable and comprehensive information on national communication and education legislation, policies, strategies and initiatives related to SDG 4 and SDG 13 and Action for Climate Empowerment – enrich the perspectives of education planners and decision-makers on this issue. The country profiles provide a foundation to inform policy discussions at sub-regional, regional, and international levels, and support the development of solutions to overcome climate change challenges.
Credit: Indonesia MECCE Project Case Study
* The 50 country profiles are available at www.education-profiles.org and www.mecce.ca and cover: Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Colombia, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, China, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Gambia, Germany (under review), Ghana, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, New Zealand, Pakistan, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, South Africa, Sweden, Tajikistan, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, United States of America, Viet Nam, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
About the Authors
Anna Cristina D’addio is an Economist by background. She holds two PhDs: one in Quantitative Economics (European Doctoral Program) from CORE and IRES at the Catholic University of Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium), and the other in Public Economics from the University of Pavia (Italy). She leads the thematic work and is the gender focal point. Prior to this position, Anna worked at the OECD for more than 12 years on a comprehensive list of issues with a particular emphasis on the role of policies. Before that Anna was a research professor in micro-econometrics applied to labour market/education issues.
Daniel April is the coordinator of the Profiles Enhancing Education Reviews (PEER) and works on teacher issues. He has also worked as an academic director, French as a second language teacher and research associate. Daniel holds a PhD degree in educational administration and policy studies.
Marcia McKenzie is Professor in Global Studies and International Education in MGSE at the University of Melbourne, Australia; and Professor on leave at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. She is a member of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists; and Director of the Monitoring and Evaluating Climate Communication and Education (MECCE) Project and of the Sustainability and Education Policy Network. Her research program includes both theoretical and applied components at the intersections of comparative and international education, global education policy research, and climate and sustainability education, including in relation to policy mobility, place, affect, and other areas of social and geographic study.
Nicola Chopin is the Project Manager for the MECCE Project and its host, the Sustainability and Education Policy Network (SEPN). In this capacity she has and continues to contribute to numerous UNESCO, SEPN, and MECCE Project reports. Ms. Chopin also led planning for the 2019 Annual Conference of the Canadian Network for Communication and Environmental Education (EECOM), the first national conference in Canada to focus on climate change education. Her research interests include evaluation, monitoring, large-scale research management, and community-university partnerships.
Stefanie Mallow is a MECCE Project Research Associate. She coordinates the development of the Project’s country profiles and indicators related to public awareness, public access to information, and public participation. Originally from Germany, she has worked and lived around the globe. She holds a master’s degree in Cultural Anthropology from Uppsala University in Sweden, worked for two years as programme officer for MECCE Partner Organization, the International Association of Universities (IAU) in France, and began a PhD programme at the University of Costa Rica focusing on power relations and inequality in knowledge production in 2020.