Greening Education Hub puts green education at the forefront of global climate discussions

Published on December 15, 2023

The 13-day Greening Education Hub, themed ‘Legacy from the Land of Zayed’, marked the end of its activities during COP28.

Hosted by the Ministry of Education, this first-of-its-kind Hub in the history of COP showcased education’s vital role in addressing the global climate crisis and achieving sustainable development goals on a global scale. It attracted a diverse audience from different backgrounds and age groups, including a significant number of international visitors.

Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of Education, said, “As we embarked on the launch of the Legacy from the Land of Zayed Hub, our goal was to make significant advancements in promoting climate education to address the global climate crisis. We aimed to establish a lasting legacy that could serve as a foundation for positive changes throughout the educational process, all the way to building green societies.

The Hub has successfully achieved its objectives. The UAE has inspired educational leaders to implement tangible measures, positioning education at the forefront of worldwide conversations about climate and sustainability. This supports the aim of enhancing the skills of educational cadres, raising environmental and climate awareness among students, and empowering them to become advocates for sustainability in their communities and workplaces.”

Dr. Al Falasi added, “As the activities of the Greening Education Hub – Legacy from the Land of Zayed end, we simultaneously embark on a new phase. This involves ongoing collaboration with our local and international partners to underscore the importance of sustainability in the global education sector. We will achieve this through global initiatives, programmes, and partnerships, solidifying our nation’s leading role in climate action and striving to create a sustainable future for generations to come.”

During COP28, the First Annual Meeting of the Greening Education Partnership, which was held at the Greening Education Hub, issued a Declaration on the Common Agenda for Education and Climate Change at COP28. Through this declaration, member states of the Green Education Partnership pledged to develop national education strategies to mitigate the repercussions of climate change and to leverage the role of education to achieve net-zero emissions in the education sector.

The declaration also highlighted the member states’ pledge to enhance cooperation in all fields to provide domestic and international funding. This is to promote climate education in a way that helps bridge the gap between the current reality and climate targets.

Additionally, during the International Greening Education Ministerial Meeting, which the UAE chaired, the Ministry of Education launched two initiatives in cooperation with UNESCO. The first called for the establishment of an open-source platform on the internet to facilitate access to resources and information and exchange experiences and expertise, in order to support the adoption of green education around the world. The second initiative called for launching a ‘Sustainability Tracking Tool for Educational Institutions’ that contributes to unifying international efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of educational institutions around the world in preparation for COP29.

Furthermore, the Greening Education Hub introduced various initiatives and programmes with the goal of endorsing and fostering the implementation of green education on a global scale.

The Ministry cooperated with the Office for Climate Education and Alef Education, to unveil the Educators’ Voice platform. The initiative aims to enhance green education resources accessible to teachers and educational officials globally through open sources, empowering them to advance their climate readiness.

All Net-Zero Heroes also actively engaged in programmes offered by the Greening Education Hub that were tailored to their respective ages and interests. Each child had the opportunity to participate in approximately 15 events and workshops, assuming various roles in key speaker sessions, including ones involving a dialogue with children from the Arab world that was supported by the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood.

They also took part in discussions, including a ministerial retreat, and served as primary spokespeople representing the children of the UAE during a ceremony honouring educators. Additionally, workshops specifically designed for these heroes were conducted, covering activities such as the ‘My Home’ awareness game sponsored by the Ras Al Khaimah Municipality, a simulation session for COP28, and an appreciation ceremony to celebrate their accomplishments.

The Ministry of Education, through the Greening Education Hub, has made significant progress in attaining the objectives of the four pillars of the Green Education Partnership. Currently, 52% of schools and 36% of universities have enrolled in greening programmes, preparing for official environmental accreditation. Furthermore, all schools across the country now have access to green resources and curricula essential for promoting environmental education.

In terms of greening capacities, the Ministry is actively involved in providing climate training and qualification for one educational official and two teachers in each school nationwide. The initial phase of training for 100 master trainers has been completed, with over 1,400 educational officials and more than 10,000 teachers enrolled in training programmes to enhance their capabilities in green education.

To amplify the role of education in fostering greening communities, the Ministry has devised seven distinct business models for each of the country’s emirates. The objective is to boost community engagement with climate education initiatives.

In line with its belief in the power of partnerships in bringing about sustainable change in the educational sector, the Ministry of Education signed two Memoranda of Understanding during COP28. The first MoU was with the International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC), which was aimed at developing and implementing initiatives to educate youth and students about environmental protection. The objective is to emphasise their role in shouldering responsibilities, with a focus on preserving wildlife and natural habitats, fostering understanding, and promoting sustainable behavioural change.

Additionally, the Ministry has entered into agreements with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment as well as with Bayanat. These agreements aim to bolster and advance sustainable scientific and research initiatives, including the initiation of a grant for collaborative research programmes throughout 2024.

The Greening Education Hub – Legacy from the Land of Zayed witnessed an impressive turnout during COP28, with over 50,000 visitors, surpassing expectations by over 270%.

Notably, student and academic engagement with the Hub’s activities was exceptional, with more than 3,500 students from 122 schools across the country visiting over the course of 13 days. The Hub played host to 250 panel discussions and workshops, featuring the participation of over 1,000 speakers from more than 50 countries and the attendance of more than 10,000 guests.​

Source: WAM


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