Resolution on: Education and Research Play a Crucial Role for the Environment and for the Future of Humanity

published 17 September 2019 updated 17 September 2019

The 8th Education International (EI) World Congress meeting in Bangkok, Thailand from 21st to 26th July 2019:

(1) Human beings and the whole of the living world are currently facing major and unprecedented environmental problems at the global level, these being the consequences of global change including climate change - linked to anthropisation (the breakdown of biodiversity and biomass, the pollution of marine and continental ecosystems, desertification, soil degradation and the risk of the breakdown of agricultural productivity, the overexploitation of water resources, the emergence of pathogens, epidemics, etc.). Tens of millions of human beings are currently the victims of climate change which is causing death, migration and the loss of property. Although no country can escape the tragic consequences of global change, the inequalities between countries in the face of this change and in their ability to deal with it are vast; as they are between different social groups.

(2) Faced with this situation, States must urgently get round to implementing a set of measures and commitments responding, among other things, to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity so we can effectively fight against the processes underway that threaten the integrity of planetary life.

(3) The increase in the overall temperature of the planet must remain below +1.5°C. Exceeding this level would set off a chain of catastrophes, the consequences of which scientists cannot assess.

(4) International mobilisation, including youth mobilisation, for the climate and more broadly for the environment and social justice is reaching unprecedented levels. In the face of the global dangers of the 21st century, this is giving the fight against global change formidable momentum, change to which every country and every activity sector must respond in order to implement a fair transition towards an environmentally more responsible life and socially more equitable society.

(5) The 8th Education International World Congress, meeting in Bangkok from 21 to 26 July 2019, maintains that the contribution of education at every level – early childhood, primary, secondary and tertiary – in addition to the contribution made by public research is essential if we are to face up to the environmental crisis. This is why EI supports the following recommendations:

(a) States must amplify international cooperation on education and research which contribute:

(i) to the development and sharing of scientific knowledge on climate change, on life forms and more generally on the Earth system;

(ii) to the development and sharing of technologies, making it possible to improve energy efficiency and put an end to the use of fossil fuels and nuclear fission, in favour of energy systems that do not threaten the environment and that do not require the use of rare-earth minerals, while meeting the essential energy needs of all countries and their populations;

(iii) to the development and widespread use of forms of agriculture and industry respectful of the environment and the health of living beings and that meet the essential needs of all of the planet’s populations;

(iv) to the development and spreading of alternatives to the current global economic and financial system, focused on satisfying environmental, cultural, health and social needs including by subjecting economic and trade agreements to these criteria.

(b) These international co-operations must extend and significantly amplify those currently underway. They must respect the conditions essential to the exercising of educational and scientific freedoms, to the consideration of the various timeframes associated with teaching and research activities and more generally to the full development of knowledge and the sharing of this knowledge.

(c) Teachers, scientists and their trade unions must interact with workers’ and citizens’ trade unions in every country, in order to support the movements fighting against global ecological and social crisis and force governments to adopt education and research policies that make it possible to ensure that human beings can live on a planet that is sustainable in terms of drinking water, food, health, energy, urban development, jobs and the economy.

(d) Education International will advocate for Ministries of Education to collaborate with the teaching profession to develop meaningful curricula related to climate change.