Seminar Prof. Aaron Ben Avot

The integration of environmental and climate change education in school curricula worldwide

Aaron Ben Avot, Professor of Global Education Policy, School of Education, University at Albany-SUNY


The contribution of climate change education (CCE) to climate mitigation and adaptation   was enshrined in the 1992 in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The focus on CCE was expanded further under the 2015 Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (targets 13.3, 4.7 and 12.8). At the UN Transforming Education Summit in November 2022, countries and interested parties agreed to promote “greening education” to ensure  that every learner is climate ready, that all education systems become more resilient to climate change, and that schools become safer and more adapted to climate change. Concurrently UNESCO launched the Greening Education Partnership, including the greening of curricula. At COP 28 in Dubai, education was emphasized in the Action for Climate Empowerment program  and in the Declaration  on the Common Agenda for Education and Climate Change, adopted by more than 50 countries.

This presentation reports new evidence on the greening of school curricula worldwide. It highlights findings from two recently concluded UNESCO studies on the  inclusion  of  environment, sustainability, and climate change in science and social science curricula in primary and secondary education in 80-85 countries. The comparative evidence, based on the analysis of hundreds of curriculum documents in 27 languages, indicates that while more green content is included in science and social science curricula, the level of inclusion pales in comparison to country commitments. Most references to climate change are general; few mention climate adaptation and mitigation, suggesting   that most education systems have only superficially integrated CCE in their official intended curriculum.”