Cambodia’s schools are the new frontline in the battle against climate change

Cambodia

(Angkor Wat, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Maria Sargren, Ambassador of Sweden to Cambodia & George Edgar, Ambassador, Head of European Union Delegation to Cambodia & Nick Beresford, Resident Representative, Cambodia, United Nations Development Programme & Julien Chevillard, Trust fund administrator, Cambodia Climate Change Alliance-UNDP


Students in Cambodia experience climate change firsthand. For the second time in four years, school hours had to be reduced across the country, due to record heat waves in the dry season. Now those students are becoming part of the effort to find solutions, a vanguard for the existential threat of our time.

Climate change has the potential to push 100 million people back into poverty over the next 15 years. This makes it a major threat to our economies and societies, as increasing temperatures and natural disasters impact people’s health, security and food systems.

Much has been said about the vast sums of money needed to address climate change and the trillions of dollars that will be required to climate-proof infrastructure, make agriculture and health systems more resilient, and to invest in low carbon technologies.

 

But developing countries face another major hurdle in their fight against climate change: financing can only be put to good use if countries have the knowledge and skills required to assess climate threats, develop innovative solutions and implement them. Without such critical knowledge and the requisite skills, the world will be severely hampered in the battle against climate change.

From engineers to health workers, from urban planners to architects and agronomists, a new generation of professionals will form the core of the fight against climate change. They will be as crucial as financing to making our societies more resilient and seizing the opportunities of the green economy.

A forward-looking curriculum

In Cambodia, a fast-growing but climate-vulnerable country, the push for better climate and environmental education is already underway, as part of a broader effort to promote science and technology.

Cambodia, with support from the European Union, Sweden and the United Nations Development Programme, has integrated climate change into a new and expanded earth science curriculum for higher secondary schools to be introduced by 2020, with an enrolment of over half a million students.

Students from grades 10 to 12 will learn about factors that drive climate change and the vulnerability profile of the country. They will also learn about key approaches and technologies, to adapt to the impacts of climate change and to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

In addition, the Ministries of Environment and Education, working together, have introduced an eco-school concept, as a way to engage youth and education officials in environmental and climate change issues. In 15 pilot schools supported by the Cambodia Climate Change Alliance (CCCA), students benefited from additional teaching on climate change, and worked jointly with teachers on resilience projects such as tree planting and climate-smart agriculture.

This type of approach, combining formal teaching and practical engagement of youth, is important for effective climate change response.

A climate-vulnerability map of South-East Asia.

A climate-vulnerability map of South-East Asia.
Image: Phnom Penh Post

Two-thirds of the Cambodian population is under 20, and this generation has huge potential to shape the development journey of the country. With adequate education and engagement, they could create demand for more resilient, low-carbon solutions, and shape investment decisions from both the private and public sector. This movement is already underway in countries across the world. In Sweden, for example, students like Greta Thunberg are taking a leading role in pushing for more ambitious climate action, through activism including climate strikes.

Creating opportunity from catastrophe

In Cambodia, the benefits of education and awareness efforts are already apparent. Recent studies show that 85% of respondents have a basic understanding about the causes of climate change, and 98% can identify some of its impacts. However, serious gaps remain in knowledge of potential responses, with 37% of those asked unable to identify any mitigation or adaptation option.

In addition to creating demand for climate action, climate education also raises awareness of job opportunities in a climate-smart economy. Sixty-five million new jobs could be created by 2030 in the transition to a climate-smart economy. This transition will generate shifts in job demand across sectors, but also requires new skills for existing jobs.

Anticipating these changes and providing high-quality education for this new marketplace is a major challenge. With support from the government, six universities in Cambodia have begun to incorporate climate change in relevant curriculums and taken measures to boost climate-related research through scholarships and partnerships with international academic institutions.

All these measures point in the right direction and indicate a political will to leverage the potential of the next generation for the transition to a more resilient, low-carbon economy.

Decisive action over the next few years will be crucial in order to ensure that the 1.2 billion young people who will enter the labour market in developing economies by 2030 – 3 million of them in Cambodia – will be equipped to contribute to and benefit from the job opportunities of a climate-smart economy.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Planes can now fly for 21 hours non-stop. But are people ready?

‘Digital divide’ will worsen inequalities, without better global cooperation

Agreement reached on new EU measures to prevent electricity blackouts

The hidden downsides of autonomous vehicles – and how to avoid them

Algorithmic warfare is coming. Humans must retain control

The financial sector cripples Eurozone growth prospects

Why the 33,000 staff European Commission did not have a real contingency plan for the refugee crisis?

WhatsApp to face scrutiny from EU regulators task force over data sharing with Facebook

Joint UN-Red Cross appeal to end rising sexual violence as a weapon of war

Pervasive corruption costs $2.6 trillion; disproportionately affects ‘poor and vulnerable’ says UN chief

These countries are leading the way in green finance

This is the first ever photo of a black hole

Does the EU want GMOs and meat with hormones from the US?

France sneaks into the Geneva US-Iran talks to claim its business share in Tehran

The health of the human being in coexistence with a transformative biosphere

Can the EU really make Google and Facebook pay publishers and media?

Asia and Pacific on course to miss all Sustainable Development Goals, says UN region chief

Why will Paris upcoming “loose” climate change agreement work better than the previous ones?

European Union: More taxes out of less income

On the Global Day of Parents, UNICEF is urging support for parents to give children ‘the best start in life’

5 ways Coca-Cola is cleaning up its plastic footprint in Africa

More women and girls needed in the sciences to solve world’s biggest challenges

Make progress or risk redundancy, UN chief warns world disarmament body

Can the national and age groups pockets of unemployment cause irreparable damages to Eurozone?

My unlimited China

From Grexit to Brexit: UK industry now says the in/out referendum is good for your health

Central African Republic militia leader and football executive, transferred to ICC

Annual UN women activists’ summit opens with focus on services, infrastructure

The French army is enlisting sci-fi writers to predict the future

UN migration agency: young Rohingya girls, largest group of trafficking victims in camps

COP21 Breaking News_12 December: Another sleepless night for the negotiators before Indaba meeting

JADE at European Business Summit 2015

Cybersecurity should be a source of hope, not fear. Here are 5 reasons why

Investors have a role in securing our shared digital future

UN agencies welcome green light for Rohingya projects in northern Myanmar; urge ‘more effective access’

Yes, together we can make a change! YO!Fest and EYE 2016

Pay packet inequality growing worldwide, says new UN report

UN rights experts call on Philippines Government to halt ‘unacceptable attacks’ on Victoria Tauli-Corpuz

India’s agro-food sector has made strong progress, but a new policy approach is needed to meet future challenges, says new report by OECD and ICRIER

MWC 2016 LIVE: Zuckerberg warns mobile industry not to ignore the unconnected

Digital development: technology-enabled, but human-centric

Reforms in a few countries drive a decline in average OECD labour taxes

Germany may have a stable and more cooperative government

UN working with both sides, after hidden tunnels confirmed along Lebanon-Israel ‘Blue Line’

How digital remittances can help drive sustainable development

On youth unemployment: unemployment is even bleaker for youth with disabilities

Access to ‘affordable’ medicines in India: challenges & solutions

How a teen refugee survived a shipwreck and saved a baby’s life

UN chief calls for ‘a fair globalization’ with first-ever Global Goals Summit

China’s stock markets show recovery signs while EU is closely watching in anticipation of the €10bn investment

Yemen bus attack just the latest outrage against civilians: UN agencies

ICC Appeals Chamber acquits former Congolese Vice President Bemba from war crimes charges

Ecuador: UN ‘stands ready’ to support talks, in bid to end political turmoil

Towards the new era of medicine

Threats from mammoth banks and Brussels fuel May’s poll rates

Commission offers discount on fines to banks for competition infringements

Here’s how we get businesses to harmonize on climate change

South Sudan: ‘Outraged’ UN experts say ongoing widespread human rights violations may amount to war crimes

State aid: France to recover €8.5 million of illegal aid to Ryanair at Montpellier airport

The time is up but the game is still not over for Greece: negotiations continue in anticipation of a new deal

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s