Youth launch their unified statement on climate education
Mock COP student staff share how the campaign is raising ambition for climate education:
We bought together 227 youth delegates from 89 countries for our online, two-day Mock Education Ministers Summit to raise ambition for climate education ahead of COP28. Delegates assessed the state of climate education in their own country and suggested ways forward. The summit began on International Youth Day to show the importance of listening to and including youth voices in policy making. Delegates engaged in panel discussions, negotiations and voting sessions to produce their unified youth statement on climate education. The statement includes the world’s first youth definition for quality climate education and sets out asks for education ministries.
What happened at the Mock EMS?
Over our two-day summit, we held a range of sessions on issues within climate education and heard from a breadth of speakers, helping to shape our negotiations and discussions on quality climate education. One of our keynotes, Dr Tariq Al Gurg, set the scene from the summit as he said; ‘There is no education problem that is not a climate problem, there is no climate problem that is not an education problem’. Our panels discussed ideas such as what quality climate education might look like, how to realise it on an international stage and what young people and education ministers are already doing to push for it. Hailey Campbell, from Care about Climate, highlighted the importance of climate education as she said it’s ‘the yarn for weaving together hope as we fight for climate justice’.
Delegates also took part in several negotiation sessions which included discussing the draft unified statement and possible amendments. They then all debated and voted on whether suggested amendments should pass. Xiye Bastida, a Mexican youth climate activist sent a message to all the Ministers of today during the closing of our Mock EMS: “They need to step up because we will come to show what we want the world to look like.” She also questioned, “When will the day come when every single country in the world will have compulsory climate education. My hope is that in the next 3-5 years, we all have access to the education that we need to be prepared for this world, prepared to take solutions and prepared to be the architects of the future.”
Why did we host the Mock EMS?
Young people are facing unprecedented challenges as the climate emergency and ecological crisis worsens, and our education system is failing us. It is not preparing young people to face the effects of the climate crisis nor to understand solutions to the climate crisis, biodiversity collapse and large-scale environmental degradation.
But, at Mock COP we believe quality climate education can equip young people to not only understand the crises but can equip us to tackle them and build a just, equitable, sustainable future. But, for climate education to help us understand and tackle the climate crisis, it needs to be delivered properly. Poor or non-existent climate education leaves young people with increasing levels of climate anxiety, uninformed about intergenerational injustices inherent to the climate crisis, and without the tools to critically explore the solutions nor question the economic and historical causes that have created the climate crisis.
Mock COP was the youth-partner in the first-ever Education and Environment Ministers Summit held at COP26, and hosted events at COP27 on climate education. We will continue our lobbying and advocacy to ensure meaningful commitments with clear action for climate education are happening globally.
How can we make change?
Young people across the world are lacking access to climate education and where it does exist, it often isn’t the kind we need. This is why we took it into our own hands to make change and created our unified youth definition of quality climate education and clear asks to see it implemented. We are calling on our Education Ministers to take meaningful action to implement and advance quality climate education and listen to us! We also included a checklist to evaluate policy on climate education in our countries, to keep Ministries of Education accountable on their progress towards improving climate education and help us identify which countries are effectively raising ambition and leading the way.
We are keeping up the momentum as the Mock EMS delegates will now be engaging with their Education Ministries, sharing the youth statement on climate education and asking them to make commitments ahead of, or at COP28. We are excited to see the first-ever Youth, Children, Education and SKills day at COP28 when we plan to share our Mock MES outcomes, and the other opportunities being created to raise youth voice and the importance of climate education. We welcome youth, Education Ministers, and other organisations to join us to raise ambition for climate education!