On 4 December, IAU represented its Members and took part in a COP21 panel debate on “Climate change as part of the curriculum from kindergarten to university”, organized by the The Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). Dr Hilligje van 't Land, IAU Director, Membership and Programme Development, spoke on the role of Climate Change education for ESD and presented examples of curriculum innovation from around the world. The conference session provided space for debate with civil society on a variety of formal and non-formal education, teaching and research initiatives aiming at informing and empowering people to better understand the urgent global challenges the planet is facing today. New approaches are being developed at higher education level to enable the HE community and the community at large to develop innovative thinking and behavior change towards a more sustainable future.
IAU Members were also invited to share information on their Climate Change Education and Research initiatives so that IAU can make these visible online and foster cooperation via the IAU global portal on HESD: www.iau-hesd.net.
Before the start of COP21, a global alliance of tertiary and higher education sustainability networks, representing more than 3000 universities and colleges worldwide, jointly issued an Open Letter urging Ministers and Governments to acknowledge and strengthen the research and education role that universities and colleges play in addressing climate change.
Signed by associations and networks on every continent, the Open Letter celebrates and confirms the critical role universities and colleges play in finding and implementing solutions towards climate change mitigation and adaptation, placing it in the context of addressing wider issues of sustainability, including social and economic policies and practices.
Addressed to COP21 Ministers and Governments the letter also calls for more specific measures to be taken such as showcasing universities and colleges as living laboratories for climate change adaptation and mitigation, increasing support for transdisciplinary learning, teaching and research approaches, and using university and college campuses and operations as a leverage agent to accelerate the transition to clean energy sources.
The Open Letter from the global alliance was handed to COP21 General Secretary Pierre Henri Guignard on 14 October 2015 at the UNESCO Headquarters during the Higher Education for Climate Change Action Event.
Kindly note that this news item was originally published in 2015.