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Abu Dhabi, Unesco unveil sustainable development roadmap

ABU DHABI, February 17, 2024

The Abu Dhabi government has unveiled a high-level plan outlining global recommendations to bolster Environmental Education (EE) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in partnership with Unesco at the 12th World Environmental Education Congress (WEEC2024) held in the emirate.
 
The roadmap, which comes after a culmination of four days of vibrant discussions, workshops and events at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, outlines a call to action to catalyse and reinvigorate efforts in EE and ESD, focuses on addressing the Triple Planetary Crisis.
 
Announcing this, Shaikha Al Dhaheri, Secretary-General at Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD), said: "The Abu Dhabi Roadmap represents a pivotal moment on our path towards a more sustainable and resilient future, and affirms the UAE’s dedication to enhancing EE to help further catalyse us on that journey."
 
"The WEEC2024 served as a dynamic stage to unveil this environmental plan. The mass of knowledge gained and the ideas which have inspired us over the course of this congress are fitting illustrations of the power of educational initiatives. Now, the Roadmap will continue to propel us in our ongoing work to a greener future," she stated.
 
Developed with input from a range of stakeholders across 83 countries including Unesco, IUCN, UNEP, UAE Ministry of Education, UAE Ministry of Climate Change and the Environment, Department of Education and Knowledge in Abu Dhabi, and Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA), as well as a whole host of global environmental education experts, the Roadmap was introduced by Ahmed Baharoon, Executive Director, Environmental Information, Science and Outreach Management, Environment Agency Abu Dhabi. 
 
This unveiling occurred during a dedicated session on the fourth day of WEEC2024.
 
During the announcement, Baharoon emphasised that the discussions from the congress had helped inform The Abu Dhabi Roadmap. 
 
However, its inception traces back to COP28, where urgent calls for action and intensified efforts in Environmental Education and Education for Sustainable Development were echoed to confront the 'Code Red for humanity' represented by the Triple Planetary Crisis.
 
Emphasising the significance of the announcement, Julia Heiss, Team Leader for Education and Sustainable Development, UNESCO, said: "The 2024 World Environmental Education Congress successfully brought together stakeholders from the global Environmental Education (EE) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) community globally. The event served as a platform for exchanging ideas, innovations, and the latest developments in the field."
 
"This global community of practice aims at transforming education to support a more sustainable future not only at the international level but also regionally through the network of Regional Centres of Expertise, and at the country level through the development of comprehensive Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) initiatives for the year 2030," noted Heiss.
 
Echoing the sentiment, Abdul-Majeid Haddad, Deputy Regional Director for West Asia, UNEP, said: "Education is one of the key vehicles to achieve a sustainable future. The Triple Planetary crisis is a clear and present danger, one that needs a coordinated and collaborative action. UNEP’s Strategy is guided by the triple planetary crisis."
 
"We are indeed encouraged to see that EAD has focused on this crisis and has managed to elicit a response from environment educators from all across the world to take collaborative action towards contributing to tackling this crisis in the 12th World Environment Education Congress conducted in Abu Dhabi," he added.
 
According to him, the key recommendations include the need to urgently ramp up the pace and scale of EE and ESD, and ensure they are prominent elements in both national and global agendas, with the Roadmap highlighting the essential nature of events such as WEEC to foster better integration and amplify the impact of shared goals.
 
The plan also encourages the harnessing of AI and smart technologies to help achieve environmental goals while underscoring the importance of placing ethics and values at the centre of EE and ESD to help foster emotional connections between society and nature, he added.



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