March 3, 2024

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12th World Environmental Education Congress to emphasize the impact of environmental education

Global leaders and experts to unite to tackle the Triple Planetary Crisis at WEEC2024, confronting climate emergency, biodiversity loss, and pollution through Environmental Education

The countdown is on for the 12th World Environmental Education Congress (WEEC2024), scheduled to take place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) from January 29th to February 2nd, 2024.

As a progression of the pivotal discussions from COP28, the congress, featuring the participation of IUCN, will focus on the power of education in confronting the Triple Planetary Crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. This transformative gathering aims to address global environmental challenges through education and will serve as a hub for inspiration and actionable strategies with an array of influential speakers, including educators, NGOs and academia.

Designed to foster dynamic discussions and learning opportunities, WEEC 2024 will feature plenary sessions where global leaders and experts including HE Dr Amna bint Abdullah Al Dahak Al Shamsi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, HE Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, President at IUCN, Prof. Mario Salomone, Secretary-General at WEEC Secretariat, Jack Dangermond, President at the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI), US, and Elizabeth Wathuti, Kenyan Youth Activist, Founder & Executive Director, Green Generation Initiative will deliver thought-provoking insights. The following days will drive discussions on championing Environmental Education (EE) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), smart technologies, ethics, and aesthetics, along with values, cultural diversity, and collaboration.

With the UAE targeting a significant 22% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2027 and recent measures including banning single-use plastics and waste-to-zero campaigns, the country is committed to acting responsibly by actively addressing global challenges and charting its sustainable future.

HE Ahmed Baharoon, Executive Director, Environmental Information, Science and Outreach Management, Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi.

“Empowering students with green skills is pivotal for our transition to a sustainable future. The responsiveness of all levels of the education sector to this shift will shape what our schools teach, aligning with a changing global reality of the triple planetary crisis”, said Ahmed Baharoon, Executive Director, Environmental Information, Science and Outreach Management, Environment Agency Abu Dhabi. “At WEEC2024, we champion the imperative of enhancing Environmental Education and Education for Sustainable Development, fostering connections among people worldwide, and underscoring the urgency for leaders to enact systemic changes. Through its ceremonies and plenaries, this congress aims to synchronise efforts, sharing insights to bolster awareness of our collective contribution towards a better future.”

Dedicated to empowering the next generation of environmental leaders, the Youth Environmental Education Congress (YEEC) will run in parallel with a speaker lineup including Leah Namugerwa, Youth Climate Activist in Uganda, Sneha Shahi, Conservationist and the UNEP, Sara Constantino Dereix, Sustainability and Regeneration Content Creator, John Carl T. Alonsagay, Social Science Researcher and Co-founder of the ClimatEducate Project, Malak Abdulla – UAE Climate Youth Delegate, along with more national and international speakers relevant to Environmental Education.

A key component of the congress, YEEC will offer workshops, interactive sessions, and panel discussions, nurturing leadership skills and inspiring action among young changemakers. As a testament to unified action, it will also celebrate the collaborative efforts of universities coming together in response to these urgent environmental challenges including climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. A multitude of academic institutions will work collectively to champion a zero-carbon, resilient future and enhance engagement among students. This will be achieved via networking, analysing and reporting on the outcomes of key sessions, and delivering an intrinsic youth report and outcome to be incorporated into the future Environmental Education roadmap and plans.

Furthermore, the last day of the congress will feature a choice five field trips, inviting delegates to explore Abu Dhabi’s ecological and educational sites, seamlessly integrating theory into hands-on experiences. Part of the excursion includes Eastern Mangrove Park, and more.

Committed to offsetting the event’s carbon footprint, WEEC2024 prioritises sustainability and has significantly minimised its environmental impact across a number of factors. ADNEC, the event venue, embraces eco-conscious practices, employing sustainable materials for event accessories and crafting low-carbon menus assessed through their life cycle.

To diversify the power generation sources during the event, WEEC2024 has partnered with Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC), which drives the supply of water and electricity in Abu Dhabi, to rely on renewable energy. Additionally, the Congress has also collaborated with expert consultants to oversee delegates’ carbon footprints – including travel and accommodation – where data collected will be used to calculate the necessary number of mangroves needed to offset.

Occurring every two years as one of the most critical global events gathering environmental educational experts worldwide, WEEC2024 represents a transformative movement in environmental education for a greener future. With experts convening to review best practices, share experiences, and discuss research on environmental education methods and outcomes, the congress will play a pivotal role in raising awareness about the importance of preserving vital natural resources – emphasising resources common to the Middle East – and ensuring their sustainability for future generations.

The event’s significance in education is further underscored by its alignment with the UAE’s Green Education Partnership Roadmap, a strategic initiative aimed at enhancing sustainability education in the region and beyond. With its unique blend of global perspective, youth empowerment, and educational innovation, WEEC2024 promises to be a game-changer in the field of environmental education and advocacy.

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