To enhance environmental education, the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), signed a letter of collaboration with the Foundation of Environmental Education (FEE) during COP 28.
Ahmed Baharoon, Executive Director, Environmental Information, Science and Outreach Management, represented EAD, with Daniel Schaffer, CEO, signing on behalf of FEE.
A non-governmental, non-profit organisation, FEE promotes sustainable development through environmental education.
Following a series of meetings, the letter of collaboration focuses on establishing a mutually beneficial collaborative connection between EAD and FEE that will promote EAD’s flagship programmes: the Sustainable Schools Initiative (SSI), Sustainable Campus Initiative (SCI), and FEE’s Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) initiative.
The partnership will also facilitate collaboration with FEE’s network of organisations, educators, and experts, fulfilling one of the EAD’s obligations to establish a Regional Centre of Expertise for Education for Sustai
nable Development (RCE) under the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration Action Plan Challenge 6 – Education. FEE, along with UNESCO and North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE), is leading the Education Challenge as part of the Decade.
Ahmed Baharoon, on the occasion, said: ‘Environmental education is the crux of our role at the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) – something we have been doing for decades with a strong track record of success. Therefore, it is always an honour to establish partnerships with international entities like the Foundation of Environmental Education (FEE) that share our mandate, at an event as prominent as COP28. This letter of collaboration will help enhance EAD’s access to global best practices and resources in environmental education and greatly increase our ability to promulgate our own best practices and experience on the global stage via FEE’s global network.’
He added: ‘On a grassroots level, we will engage young people and help them become the voices o
f the environment and, most importantly, climate action. By working together, we will strengthen environmental education’s role in biodiversity conservation and climate change action. With the youth acting as the future stewards and healers of the environment, they will be continuing our legacy of conserving the environment and saving the planet. We will be promoting our Sustainable Schools Initiative and Sustainable Campus Initiative, while encouraging youth to research environmental issues and promote solutions through investigative reporting, photography and video journalism through FEE’s Young Reporters for the Environment programme.’
Pramod Kumar Sharma, Senior Director of Education at FEE, underscores that ‘The environmental crisis is not confined to local boundaries; it demands concerted global efforts with a strong foundation at the grassroots. YRE, a cornerstone of the Greening Education Partnership’s Pillar 4 – focused on community sustainability – stands out as a potent instrument for cultivating
YRE goes beyond traditional environmental education; it serves as a catalyst, empowering youth to emerge as influential thought leaders within their communities. By honing their competencies in utilizing diverse media tools, young individuals not only raise awareness about environmental challenges but also become ambassadors of actionable solutions. In the face of climate change, YRE equips them with the skills to advocate for adaptation and mitigation strategies.
This holistic approach underscores our commitment to fostering a generation of informed and proactive leaders who not only understand the complexities of our environmental challenges but are also equipped to drive positive change at the local level.”
In 2009, EAD launched the Sustainable Schools Initiative, which was designed to harness the teaching of sustainability in schools to help place environmental concerns higher on students’ personal agendas. To date, 468 schools have committed to the initiative and more school
s are joining all the time.
In 2013, SSI won the Green Middle East Award for Best Environmental Awareness and Education Project and in 2015, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) declared SSI an innovative model for education in sustainable development and recommended its implementation around the world. In 2017, SSI was also recognised by Global Environmental Education Partnership (GEEP) as a global case study in environmental education.
In 2014, EAD pioneered the Sustainable Campus Initiative with 25 universities enrolled to date. The initiative’s key achievement includes the training through workshops of over 1 276 student and faculty members. In addition, 112 action project and audit reports on the sustainability of university campuses were submitted by the participating colleges and universities.
Source: Emirates News Agency