The Paris Agreement – no one thought much about education

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

There are four references to education in the Paris Agreement

[1]. Page 11 – In Section #83 of the Adoption section of the Agreement:

"Calls upon all Parties to ensure that education, training and public awareness, as reflected in Article 6 of the Convention and in Article 12 of the Agreement are adequately considered in their contribution to capacity-building."

NB, there is also a reference to training in #84 and #86.

[2]. Page 20 – In the preface to the Agreement (oddly called the Annex)

"The parties to the agreement, ... affirming the importance of education, training, public awareness, public participation, public access to information and cooperation at all levels on the matters addressed in this Agreement, ... have agreed as follows ..."

[3]. Pages 26/27 – Article 11 of the Agreement

"Capacity-building under this Agreement should enhance the capacity and ability of developing country Parties, in particular countries with the least capacity, such as the least developed countries, and those that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, such as small island developing States, to take effective climate change action, including, inter alia, to implement adaptation and mitigation actions, and should facilitate technology development, dissemination and deployment, access to climate finance, relevant aspects of education, training and public awareness, and the transparent, timely and accurate communication of information."

[4]. Page 28 – Article 12 of the Agreement

"Parties shall cooperate in taking measures, as appropriate, to enhance climate change education, training, public awareness, public participation and public access to information, recognizing the importance of these steps with respect to enhancing actions under this Agreement."

And there is one reference to learning:

[5]. Page 24 – Article 7 of the Agreement

"Each Party shall, as appropriate, engage in adaptation planning processes and the implementation of actions, including the development or enhancement of relevant plans, policies and/or contributions, which may include: 


(d) Monitoring and evaluating and learning from adaptation plans, policies, programmes and actions; ..."

There is no mention of ESD.


So, what to make of all this?  I'm tempted to say, 'not a lot' for the following reasons:

In [1] – and in [2] which is really just a repetition of [1] – education and training are just cited as means to the end of capacity-building "to take effective climate change action", and so must be seen as instrumental rather than anything else.

[3] refers just to "developing countries" and their capacity building.

[4] is not about education, per se, but about climate change education.  

[5] is similarly narrowly focused.

We should not have expected much more, I guess, as this Agreement is all about Climate Change, and the UN decided not to muddy the waters by taking an holistic view.  As David Oldroyd noted in a comment to me on an earlier post:

"Focusing the mind on 2 or 1.5 degrees is not to be sneezed at, but there are so many other neglected foci that need curricular attention and are equally if not more difficult to reduce to a simple number. I offer here a few:

Natural World Stressors

1. Climate disruption; sea level rise
2. Pollution of air, water and land
3. Depletion - fossil energy and minerals
4. Depletion - fisheries, forests, soils, water
5. Biodiversity and ecosystem losses (the planet’s 6th Great Extinction.)
6. Global epidemics of disease

‘Machine’ World Stressors

7. Global debt-based financial system instability
8. Increasing inequality in wealth & poverty (recently represented as the 1% and the 99%)
9. Illegal migration; criminal global trafficking
10. Regional ethnic, resource; religious conflicts
11. Nuclear weapon proliferation
12. Terrorism
13. Urbanization; mega-cities (31 cities with over 10 million population)
14. Cyber-warfare and internet fragility
15. Uncontrolled artificial intelligence (AI)


Actually, David's "few" is one of the better lists I have seen – more so than my last effort, I recall, and the division into 'natural' and 'machine' world stressors I think many may find helpful.

Finally, here is a link to what Graham Petersen has to say about all this in an Education International blog post.  He seems to take a more positive view than do I, and makes noteworthy points about how the text changed during the negotiations.







Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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