Policies and plans must address climate change
Returning to Liberia, the Ministry of Education, in collaboration with IIEP-UNESCO), is working on the country’s next education sector plan. For the first time, this plan will integrate climate measures to build resilience and address equity concerns.
Educational planners and managers in other regions of the world are keen to adopt a crisis-sensitive planning approach and can take lessons from their peers already doing this in Burkina Faso, Guyana, Jordan, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar and Viet Nam.
In these countries, the education ministries are working to anticipate the adverse effects of climate change and put in place measures to minimize the damage it can cause to education.
Our shared goal is to ensure that all education sector policies, strategies and plans address climate change. To do so we must ensure that:
- Ministries of education have access to education and non-education data (such as climate and environmental change models and population movements) to inform planning and decision making to ensure education continuity, especially for those most affected.
- Ministries of education and their partners have stronger individual, organizational and institutional capacity to undertake climate risk analysis, plan for preparedness and develop mitigation strategies, and for addressing needs of displaced learners and teachers.
- Education sector plans include greater attention to school infrastructure and ensure that schools are safe and climate resilient through relocation, retrofitting, replacement and construction of climate-resistant infrastructure.
- Sector strategies aim to transform teaching and learning so that schools can help children and youth to make informed decisions and take bold actions—to limit carbon emissions and develop and use new energy-efficient technologies.
Education sector responses to climate change require financing
Financing education for climate change means building an enabling financial environment and public procurement mechanisms for investment in climate-resilient education.
It also entails the provision of financial support to low-income and vulnerable households, including displaced communities, that are at risk of climate disasters, as well as contingency funds for climate disaster prevention and response.
Making education part of the solution
Education must be part of all climate change–related strategies—and at all policy levels, from local and national to regional and global. Education policies themselves must be based on local experiences and priorities and integrate actions to strengthen education system resilience in the face of climate change, including through collaboration with other sectors.
Through collaboration with ministries of education around the world, IIEP-UNESCO is working to enhance national capacities for comprehensive risk management so that all education actors—including communities, students, teachers, middle tier leaders, central ministries of education and other line ministries—can anticipate and prepare for climate change.
The time to act is now
Climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies are most effective when they are well planned and budgeted for, supported by national and local policies, coordinated across different governmental and nongovernmental entities, and financed and procured sustainably.
Educational planning that is sensitive to climate change—that takes into consideration the underlying factors that expose certain populations to disproportionate risk, and that leverages the potential for education to address and mitigate potential impacts of climate change—is the starting point for climate-ready education systems.