Launched in 2008, the International Science, Technology and Innovation Centre for South-South Cooperation under the auspices of UNESCO (ISTIC) is hosted by Malaysia.
Every two years, ISTIC hosts an event at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris where is reports on its key activities to heads of delegations.
This year, the ISTIC ‘Return Home to UNESCO’ took place on 3-5 September, with an associated forum: ‘Responding to the Unique Challenges of Climate Change through Climate Change Education’ on 3 September.
The event was hosted by HE Dr Anessee Ibrahim, Permanent Delegate of Malaysia to UNESCO and featured a keynote presentation from Datuk Dr Amin Senin, Director General of Education, Ministry of Education Malaysia.
Pierre Lena, member of the Academie des sciences, co-founder of La main à la pâte (LAMAP), and key driver of the IAP Statement on Climate Change and Education, set the scene for the panel discussion.
Among the panellists were Peter Dogse, Co-chair, Executive Secretariat UNESCO Task Team on Climate Change; David Wilgenbus, CEO, Office For Climate Education (OCE), Paris; Peter McGrath, IAP Coordinator; Lucilla Spini, Senior Science and Policy Officer, International Science Council; and Abdoul Wahab Coulibaly, Programe Specialist, UNESCO Section of Education for Sustainable Development. The session was chaired by Dato Lee Yee Cheong, ISTIC Honorary Chairman and outgoing chair of the IAP Science Education Programme’s Global Council.
A number of resources and activities for teachers in the area of climate change education were presented, including an increasing number being produced by the OCE that are designed to relate to outputs of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and include topics such as ‘Oceans and climate change’ and ‘The greenhouse effect’.
Peter McGrath focused his intervention on the production of the IAP Statement on Climate Change and Education and a series of workshops around the globe that are taking forward the recommendations of the statement – including one held by ISTIC in Malaysia in 2018, as well as one to be hosted by NASAC in October 2019. Because of possible climatic influences on the distribution of mosquito-transmitted diseases, he also highlighted the ‘Mosquito!’ teaching curriculum prepared by the Smithsonian Science Education Center in collaboration with IAP.
Lucilla Spini, meanwhile, presented TROPICSU, which is preparing educational resources for teachers to integrate climate topics across the school curriculum; while a number of UNESCO resources were also presented by Peter Dogse and Abdoul Coulibaly.
An open discussion session with more than 60 representatives of national delegations and other interested parties revolved around the urgent need for action on climate change to mitigate the challenges already being faced by small island developing states (SIDS), and the need to engage more schoolchildren in science so as to attract more students to study scientific subjects at higher levels.