UN CC:Learn – Integrating climate change in school curricula

Project completed
Three girls and a boy sitting in a classroom.
In the Dominican Republic pupils learn climate-conscious behaviour thanks to UN CC:Learn © UN CC:Learn/Tony Nunez ©

UN CC:Learn is a partnership of 33 multilateral organisations which supports member states in designing and implementing results-oriented and sustainable learning to address climate change. The Secretariat for UN CC:Learn is provided by the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). UN CC:Learn supports countries in developing national strategies to strengthen human resources and skills to advance green, low emission and climate resilient development (also referred to as climate change learning strategies).

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Climate change and environment
Environmental policy
Biosphere protection
Disaster risk reduction DRR
01.03.2014 - 31.08.2017
CHF  3’000’000

UN CC:Learn is a partnership of 34 multilateral organisations which supports developing countries in designing national climate change learning strategies for all levels of education. The aim is to incorporate the topic of climate change, associated adaptations and efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in curricula.

From designing to implementing curricula

Between 2011 and 2013, five pilot countries – Benin, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Malawi and Uganda – developed with the aid of UN CC:Learn national education strategies for dealing with the causes and effects of climate change. Various actors worked together on this project: governments, civil society organisations, business associations, educational institutions and the media.

In the Dominican Republic, for example, Switzerland invested about USD 30,000 in training 400 teachers in how to explain climate change and its impacts to their pupils and to encourage climate-conscious behaviour. The initiative's success prompted the Ministry of Education of the Dominican Republic to provide USD 1 million from its own resources to support the project. Some 3,000 teachers have already received climate change training and are now able to raise their pupils' awareness and impart essential basic knowledge about the subject.

Activities in more than 15 countries

UN CC:Learn has been active in more than 15 countries since 2014. To ensure that countries that join the project benefit from the experiences of the pilot countries, UN CC:Learn is actively promoting South-South-North cooperation through international events that facilitate the exchange of knowledge and information. In addition, a manual encapsulating the experiences of the pilot countries, the «Guidance Note for Developing a National Climate Change Learning Strategy», has been written. The UN CC:Learn Ambassadors Programme is another useful platform for exchanging experience at the South-South level. Ambassadors for Climate Change Learning are individuals who have played a key role in the national UN CC:Learn pilot projects and are sharing their technical knowledge and experiences with new partner countries on a bilateral or regional basis.

A learning platform for everyone who wants to know more about climate change

UN CC:Learn is also a learning platform that aims to inform the public at large in developing and industrialised countries about climate change, its causes and impacts. The UN CC:Learn website offers various learning materials and activities on climate change. Users have free access to an online library containing more than 2,000 documents, videos and links to other learning platforms related to climate change. It is also possible to take a free online course on the subject (in English, French or Spanish).

Raising public awareness is an essential part of the project for the SDC, as climate education is necessary to reduce climate risks and inform people about ways to reduce emissions. The UN CC:Learn platform has attracted strong international interest: By the middle of 2015, about 15,000 people from more than 190 countries had already registered for the online course.

Through its support for climate education at the global and national levels, SDC is making an important contribution to the development of climate-resilient societies and low-emission economies worldwide.