Today Send My Friend to School launch The Right Climate to Learn policy report
This policy report sets out the interplay between education and climate change, and why we must include education within an effective global climate response.
The climate crisis jeopardises the promise of achieving SDG4 – the promise of education for all. Despite global commitments, education continues to be interrupted for children and young people around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic is just the latest example of serious interruptions to children and young people’s learning. To stem the pandemic, in 2020, schools closed their doors to an estimated 1.6 billion learners globally – this has compounded educational inequalities.
The poorest and most marginalised children, including girls, children with disabilities and migrant and refugee children, are hardest hit by the pandemic and the climate crisis and are at risk of further being left behind. The UK Government has made clear that providing 12 years of quality education is a top priority, especially for girls, who are denied this right every day.
We share this ambition, but the COVID-19 emergency within the climate crisis has made clear that we must urgently strengthen education systems in the face of non-conflict crises if these priorities are to be realised.
The report shows that quality, safe and inclusive education systems are critical in facing and fighting climate change, particularly for the most marginalised communities in the poorest countries. This is because education provides children with the basic and higher-order skills and knowledge needed to navigate a changing climate. Education is life-saving and life-sustaining in times of climate-induced crisis and displacement as well as empowering children and young people to create a more sustainable future.
Yet, despite this, education is neglected in the global climate response
Education systems serving the children and young people most at risk in a changing climate are not preparing them with the skills, knowledge, behaviours and attitudes needed. 258 million children were out of school before the pandemic, and millions more children who do access school are not acquiring even the most basic and foundational skills needed to survive.
Furthermore, education systems serving children and young people most at risk in a changing climate are too often not prepared to cope with climate-related disasters, slow-onset climate impacts and displacement. Nearly 40 million children a year have their education interrupted by natural disasters and subsequent disease outbreaks following extreme weather events.
2021 is crucial in securing the right climate to learn for all children, including the poorest and most marginalised
This year the UK government will host an international climate summit, the Conference of the Parties 26 (COP26), where world leaders will convene to discuss action on tackling climate change.
The Send My Friend to School coalition is calling on the UK government to seize the opportunity it has in 2021 as host of COP26, and as a respected world leader in global education, to take decisive action to stop climate change undermining the right to education and strengthen education’s role in the global climate response.