Friday, January 02, 2009

Mission to Poznan

At the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting in Poznan Stakeholder Forum with the CSD Education Caucus held a side event. This was on the missing 5th Building Block: the need for a fifth working group on education for sustainability – otherwise know as the human dimension. The side event was chaired by Pam Puntenney one of the co-chairs of the Caucus speakers included Bremley Lyngdoh Co-chair of the Education Caucus, Felix Dodds from Stakeholder Forum and Falk Schmidt from United Nations University.

P.J. Puntenney, Environmental and Human System Management, described the development of a sustainable society as a learning processand stressed the importance of good governance, as well as the links between climate change, biodiversity loss, poverty and the financial crisis, where the amelioration in one area may worsen the situation in another. She also stressed that since the late 1990s, climate change scientists have been saying that solutions which worked in the past will not necessarily work in the future, and that the human dimension of climate change mustbe integrated into the strategic policy framework of the UNFCCC.

Felix Dodds, Stakeholder Forum for a Sustainable Future, stressed theneed to move the human dimensions’ agenda for building well-prepared societies to the center stage of the 2012 framework. He expressed concern regarding the lack of proper stakeholder involvement in the climate change process, such as in the work of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation and the Ad hoc Working Group on Long Term Cooperative Action. He proposed the creation of an informal government support groupto prepare a set of detailed recommendations for Copenhagen, to be circulated to all governments.

Bremley Lyngdoh, Worldview Impact, stressed the link between poverty and the environment and the need to test the policies proposed at the international level to see how they work for people at the local level. He also emphasized that the principle of “eco-effectiveness” should prevailover “eco-efficiency,” as the latter would not necessarily prevent pollution. He advocated the localization of environmental curricula, and stressed the crucial role of youth and the engagement of local people in attaining sustainability.

John Takang, UNU-International Human Dimension Programme, described his research, which focuses on the human dimension of global change, namely how humans influence their environment and the resultant impacts of altered environments on human life. He stressed the importance ofresearch to identify the kind of education that is necessary for realizing sustainability and the institutions that are required to cope with global change.

Participants discussed: education and awareness as a fundament building block of sustainable development; the links between poverty, security and the environment; eco-effectiveness principles; and the absence ofresearch on the linkages between climate change and public health.

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