UNESCO international seminar tapped power of schools network for climate change action

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© UNESCO

More than 100 partipicants contributed to a two-day seminar to mobilise schools and highlight their crucial role in climate change action

The seminar ‘Getting climate-ready: ASPnet schools’ response to climate change’ took place on 7 and 8 December at the Organization’s Paris headquarters and was opened by Director-General Irina Bokova.

The UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network (ASPnet) connects more than 10,000 schools in 181 countries.

Ms Bokova said the network embodied a new map of the world bringing young men and women together through shared values to become  world citizens.

She said: “Sustainability starts in school. This is why the UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network is so important. ASPnet schools are pulse takers, sensitive to the needs of communities and societies. They are also pace setters, embedding UNESCO priorities and values in local settings.”

The seminar which took place in the context of the Paris climate conference COP21 brought together National Coordinators, teachers and students from 55 ASPnet schools in 11 countries.

In line with UNESCO’s Global Action Programme, participants discussed with Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and climate change experts how to transform learning environments through a “whole-school approach” and integrate sustainability principles into educational settings.

To help ASPnet schools to implement such an approach, UNESCO has commissioned guidelines for teachers on ESD and climate action, which will be reviewed during the seminar.

The seminar serves as a stepping-stone for the integration of climate change issues into ASPnet schools, starting with the participating schools and countries - Brazil, Denmark, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Japan, Lebanon, Namibia and  Senegal - and extending to others.

The event also included a public forum (7 December) to encourage ASPnet schools to intensify their actions and offering them guidance and support. On 8 December ASPnet schools took part in project presentations, debates and workshops, to share good practices and develop strategies for scaling up action.