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25 Mar 2024
18:30 - 19:30 CET
Online - A2, Maison de la Paix, Geneva Switzerland

Climate, Justice and Education

Monday 08 April 2024

18:30-19:30 CEST 

Hybrid (Webex & Auditorium A2, Maison de la Paix, Geneva, Switzerland)

Climate, Justice and Education

On Monday 8 April, 2024, on the occasion of the Worldwide Climate Justice Education Week, NORRAG, a hybrid event for an expansive audience entitled Climate, Justice and Education. This event was organised in partnership with the UNESCO IBE, UNRISD, GPE Youth Leader, Switzerland on public education and mobilization, Earth Institute, Mission 4.7 (Columbia University) and the Centre for International Environmental Studies (CIES).

The event began with a video presentation on the works of renowned Cuban-American artist Xavier Cortada with his Reclamation project and the Underwater Homeowners Association, using art to educate people to create and inspire a generation of environmental stewards. Then Moira Faul, Executive Director, NORRAG, welcomed everyone and opened the event with NORRAG’s work on Education and the SDGs and the ninth and seventh editions of NORRAG Special Issue.

This was followed by a roundtable discussion featuring Moira V. Faul, Executive Director, NORRAG (moderator); Maggie Carter, Senior Research Analyst, Transformative Social Policy Programme, UNRISD; Carolina Earle, Youth Engagement Specialist, NORRAG; Radhika Iyengar, Director of Education, Center for Sustainable Development, Earth Institute, Columbia University and Chair, Mission 4.7, Columbia University; Svein Oesttveit, Director a.i. UNESCO-IBE. The panel focused on the following questions to guide the discussions: What does climate justice mean to you? What is the role of education in achieving climate justice? What needs to happen next to get us to the next SDG agenda in a safe and just space?

Here are the summaries of the lively round table discussion that enabled exchange between participants and speakers.

 

What does climate justice mean to you?

Radhika Iyengar shared that climate justice is a concept that requires courage and a willingness to ask questions to achieve it. She emphasized stepping out of traditional politeness and observing others by learning from their experiences and working with NGOs on sustainability and women’s empowerment rather than living on the tenets of textbooks. She expressed that engaging with people and focusing on their needs while connecting with nature and gaps in knowledge are essential for bringing climate justice to the forefront.

In the same light, Carolina Earle agreed that climate justice is a crucial issue that has been largely ignored and disproportionally felt by many in the global South. To her, climate justice aims to address these historical inequities and work towards a more equitable world. She pointed out that in Geneva, efforts are being made to address inequities in commodity trading

to prevent climate change’s impact on the global South communities. She further discussed that the international community must strengthen negotiations, honour decades of work, and address structures that renders people hopeless for climate justice.

On his side, Svein Oesttveit noted that climate justice involves collectively addressing climate challenges, regardless of one’s background, and promoting standard solutions. Svein stressed that the South suffers the most due to insufficient global support. He indicated that education is crucial for addressing this injustice. He added that to create such a just world, business practices should change while national interests should prioritize global solutions. According to Svein, this requires faster, more sustainable approaches and efficient work from the UN.

Maggie Carter, discussed that climate justice reduces disparities and the burden on those who have contributed the least to climate change. According to Maggie, this advocates for sustainable societies by promoting sustainability, environmental stewardship, and resource sharing. It also acknowledges power hierarchies and envisions alternatives and shifting priorities towards ecological wellbeing.

 

What is the role of education then in achieving climate justice?

Svein Oesttveit highlighted the need to address the conservative nature of global education systems. He shared that the cognitive foundation, including understanding science and mathematics, is essential for addressing climate change. Additionally, he noted that transdisciplinary knowledge should be included in various subjects based on local experiences. Svein stressed that it is important to dialogue across cultures and languages, as it is a collective responsibility to change the narrative for the planet.

Radhika Iyengar advocates for non-formal and informal climate justice education, focusing on students’ experiences and community discussions. She highlighted India’s past experiences of fairness and care, enhancing understanding of value systems.

Maggie Carter discussed that the invisible models of education, influenced by colonial and neocolonial systems, must be decolonized to promote climate justice. This, according to her, requires a re-evaluation of teaching methods, access to education, and research funding. She mentioned that UNRISD is implementing social policy focusing on climate justice and learning tools, well-being, education, healthcare, labor market policies, and social protection.

On the same topic, Carolina Earle spoke on the long-standing project against climate action and the power dynamics in our current world when discussing climate action and climate justice. She emphasised the need for better organisation and openness to diverse knowledge. She expressed that technology creates echo chambers, restricting protest and dissent. She stated that, therefore being mindful in education is crucial for envisioning the future.

 

What needs to happen next to get us to the next SDG agenda in a safe and just space?

Regarding the way forward for the next global agenda, Maggie Carter proposed a shift in power hierarchies in multilateral discussions for collective efforts from all nations. She stressed

the need to recognize individual experiences and knowledge systems and the involvement of civil society, the private sector, and Southern solutions to tackle the climate change crisis.

Svein Oesttveit suggested a more honest evaluation of SDGs due to current power dynamics and lack of implementation explanations, emphasizing system change for a more subversive education. He proposed a new approach to education, which integrates non-formal, informal, family, and adult education for lifelong learning through a joint effort.

Carolina Earle recommended public engagement, civic scrutiny, and integrating all voices into climate action discussions. She suggested examining funding sources, reassessing climate justice, enhancing government transparency, and initiating urgent climate action negotiations. She also highlighted the need for open communication and pragmatism by learning from successful leaders for tangible change.

Radhika Iyengar called on the United Nations and the Security Council to prioritize climate education and children’s future, stating that wars take over a decade and require quality education. Radhika further emphasized the need for global education and climate-resilient infrastructure by urging countries to focus on education financing models and realistic financial goals to avoid a second round of SDGs to ensure a sustainable future for children.

The Climate, Justice and Education event was closed by Moira Faul, who thanked the panelists and the participants for the questions shared during the event.

Speakers:

  • Maggie Carter, Senior Research Analyst, Transformative Social Policy Programme, UNRISD
  • Carolina Earle, Youth Engagement Specialist, NORRAG
  • Moira V. Faul, Executive Director, NORRAG  – Chair and moderator
  • Svein Oesttveit, Director a.i. UNESCO-IBE
  • Radhika Iyengar, Director of Education, Center for Sustainable Development, Earth Institute, Columbia University and Chair, Mission 4.7, Columbia University

Partners:

Centre for International Environmental Studies (CIES) – Website

Established in 2010, the Centre for International Environmental Studies (CIES) is the Geneva Graduate Institute’s focal point for research on environmental issues. The Centre is dedicated to the better understanding of the social, economic and political facets of global problems related to the environment.

 

Centre for Sustainable Development, Earth Institute, Columbia University – Website

Our mission is to help countries and communities achieve sustainable development in all its dimensions – economic, social, and environmental – by translating the Sustainable Development Goals into meaningful policies and solutions.

 

 

International Bureau of Education – IBE UNESCO – Website

UNESCO-IBE works to transform curriculum and improve education systems across the world. To design and implement best practices, we collaborate closely with national and regional administrations and stakeholders. Our main goal is to raise the standard, effectiveness, efficiency, and accessibility of education for all.

 

 

 

 

GPE Youth Leader – Website

GPE provides a platform and support for young people to realize their own ambitions for education transformation and to harness their passion to drive real change in global education.

 

Mission 4.7 – Website

Mission 4.7 brings together leaders from government, academia, civil society, and business to accelerate the implementation of Transformative Education around the world.

 

 

 

United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) – Website

UNRISD co-creates knowledge and insight on the social dimensions of contemporary development issues through interdisciplinary research and policy analysis with our global networks.

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