Education and awareness-raising play an essential role in increasing the climate change adaptation and mitigation capacities of communities by enabling individuals to make informed decisions. Education helps learners understand the causes and consequences of climate change, prepares them to live with the impacts of climate change, and empowers women and men to adopt more sustainable lifestyles.
As part of its work on Education for Sustainable Development, UNESCO supports countries to integrate climate change into their education systems, and facilitates dialogue and exchange of experiences on climate change education through organizing international expert meetings. It mobilizes schools to implement climate change education through a whole-school approach whereby sustainability principles are also integrated into the management of school facilities and the governance structures of learning institutions. It develops technical guidance material and teaching and learning resources, such as a six-day online course, ‘Climate Change in the classroom: UNESCO course for secondary teachers on climate change education for sustainable development’. UNESCO’s clearinghouse on climate change education provides stakeholders with free access to hundreds of climate change education resources.
Through the provision of capacity-building for journalists and broadcast media on climate change, UNESCO is assisting Member States to enhance public awareness and understanding of the cause and effects of climate change, and of what countries and communities can do to adapt to the impacts ahead. This work also aids reporting on what governments and companies do, or do not do, to respond to these threats. An example is Climate Change in Africa: A Guidebook for Journalists.
Together with thirteen other UN agencies, UNESCO promotes climate change education and public awareness at high-level events such as the annual UNFCCC-COPs through the UN Alliance on Climate Change Education, Training and Public Awareness.