COP 18 Side Event: Child Centred Approaches to Climate Change Adaptation. © UNICEF UK/2012
On Monday, I spoke at an event here at COP 18 in Doha, launching a new
initiative on Article 6, a core part of the UN climate framework that supports
the provision of education, training and public awareness on climate change. COP
18 has agreed on the Doha Work Programme; a multi year education and public
awareness programme aiming to improve knowledge and skills on climate change.
UNICEF will be helping to deliver this programme around education amongst
When it comes to helping ensure that children are able to
cope in a changing climate, education is essential. Educating children on
climate change can be an important adaptation strategy, helping contribute to positive
behaviour change. For example, teaching children at school what to do when a
natural disaster strikes - such as what to do to be prepared and how to
evacuate - is essential to ensure that they can cope with the increasing onset
of natural hazards due to climate change.
Education on climate change amongst children can also reap
endless co-benefits. For example, when you educate children about climate
change or about adaptation skills, they can often pass this learning on to
their friends and peers. Similarly, children can also educate their parents and
elders - encouraging them to take action on climate change or know what to do when
natural disasters strike. Our publication "Taking Stock", has some fantastic
examples of how children educated on skills to cope with climate change have
been able to teach adults in the community what to do when an extreme weather
Educating children is an important first step in tackling
climate change, representing a long term investment in a whole generation. Children
will share the lessons they learn with their peers and keep the learnings with
them for a whole lifetime. This is exactly the kind of long term behaviour
change that is needed for action on climate change.
At the launch on Monday, I spoke about the importance of
Education for educating children and their peers, but also about education as a
vital way to engage children in dealing with climate change and understanding
the world around them. We also had the chance to interact with youth delegates
to hear their views on how young people can be included in shaping education
policies and contribute to implementing education programmes; vital if we are
to ensure children can contribute to action in the changing climate.
The renewal of Article 6 and creation of the Doha Work
Programme is a great, underpublicised achievement of COP 18. By agreeing
education and public awareness as core to the global framework on climate
change, governments gave a strong signal and set high ambition that children
and future generations are central to the fight against climate change.
Once the Doha
talks are over, UNICEF will be turning its attention to the implementation of
such strong ambition around education, helping make the rhetoric of Article 6 a
reality, and ensuring that children are at the heart of action on climate
Jazmin Burgess is UNICEF UK's climate change policy officer. She is currently attending the COP 18 talks in Doha.