UN Frameworks for ACE and ESD

The Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) program is policy laid out in both the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC; United Nations General Assembly, 1992) and the Paris Agreement (UN General Assembly, 2015). The program is a collaborative effort of UNESCO and UNFCCC as it connects to efforts on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).

The international policies that set out the ACE program are outlined at the bottom of this page. To summarize, I have provided a key table from the Action for Empowerment: Guidelines for Accelerating Solutions Through Education, Training and Public Awareness report.

Table 1 from UNESCO and UNFCCC. 2016.

This way of thinking about ACE has been helpful; however, it does not illustrate the integrated nature of this program. In designing and enacting ACE efforts, it is important to consider connections to human rights (UN General Assembly, 1948) and, specifically, the rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN General Assembly, 2007). Below is a reconceptualization of this program that I have created to support understanding of this work. More on ACE at tinyurl.com/UN-ACE.

Also helpful here is this brief:

Caprini, A., Tariq, A., Consalvo, C., van Deursen, M., & de Wit, S. (2020). Future pathways for action for climate empowerment (ACE): How to direct future efforts relating to ACE to effectively contribute to the ultimate objective of the UNFCCC. Policy brief for Netherlands Climate Envoy. Retrieve from https://edepot.wur.nl/534181

Please cite this figure as: Morrison, D. L. (2020). Accelerating Just Climate Action through the Elements of the Action for Climate Empowerment Program. Retrieve from http://bit.ly/ACEElements

Resources

Caprini, A., Tariq, A., Consalvo, C., van Deursen, M., & de Wit, S. (2020). Future pathways for action for climate empowerment (ACE): How to direct future efforts relating to ACE to effectively contribute to the ultimate objective of the UNFCCC. Policy brief for Netherlands Climate Envoy. Retrieve from https://edepot.wur.nl/534181

UNESCO. (2020). Integrating Action for Climate Empowerment Into Nationally Determined Contributions: A Short Guide for Countries. Paris, France: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000373762.

UNESCO and UNFCCC. (2016). Action for Empowerment: Guidelines for Accelerating Solutions Through Education, Training and Public Awareness. Paris, France: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). https://unfccc.int/files/cooperation_and_support/education_and_outreach/application/pdf/action_for_climate_empowerment_guidelines.pdf.

United Nations General Assembly. (2015). Paris Agreement. Conclusion date: December 12, 2015. United Nations Treaty Series Online, registration no. I-54113. https://unfccc.int/sites/default/files/english_paris_agreement.pdf .

United Nations General Assembly. (2007). United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Resolution 61/295. New York. https://undocs.org/A/RES/61/295.

United Nations General Assembly. (1992). United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Conclusion date: 14 June 1992. United Nations Treaty Series Online, registration no. I-30822, p. 195-196. https://unfccc.int/resource/docs/convkp/conveng.pdf

United Nations General Assembly. (1948). Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Resolution 217 A. Paris. https://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/.

Climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts sit within the broader work of sustainable development. So too does climate empowerment work sit within efforts around learning to live sustainably. In ACE, one of the six elements is about education, specifically; it is this element that connects to UNESCO's Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) program. Thus, ESD is one part of a broader ACE program and provides clarity for what that aspect of ACE may look like in practice.

In the most recent ESD roadmap (UNESCO, 2020), the UN General Assembly Resolution 72/222 (2017, p.8) is cited naming that:

The General Assembly reaffirms education for sustainable development as an integral element of the Sustainable Development Goal on quality education and a key enabler of all the other Sustainable Development Goals.

The figure below illustrates the connection points of education (Goal 4) to the other Sustainable Development Goals.

Resources

UNESCO. (2020). Education for sustainable development: a roadmap. Paris, France: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000374802.

UNESCO. (2016). Education 2030: Incheon Declaration and Framework for Action for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning. Paris, France: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000245656.

UNESCO. (2014). UNESCO Roadmap for Implementing the Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development. Paris, France: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/index.php?page=view&type=400&nr=1674&menu=35.

UN Climate Policy Related to ACE

United Nations Framework on Climate Change - Article 6

In carrying out their commitments under Article 4, paragraph 1(i), the Parties shall:

(a) Promote and facilitate at the national and, as appropriate, subregional and regional levels, and in accordance with national laws and regulations, and within their respective capacities:

(i) The development and implementation of educational and public awareness programmes on climate change and its effects;

(ii) Public access to information on climate change and its effects;

(iii) Public participation in addressing climate change and its effects and developing adequate responses; and

(iv) Training of scientific, technical and managerial personnel.

(b) Cooperate in and promote, at the international level, and, where appropriate, using existing bodies:

(i) The development and exchange of educational and public awareness material on climate change and its effects; and

(ii) The development and implementation of education and training programmes, including the strengthening of national institutions and the exchange or secondment of personnel to train experts in this field, in particular for developing countries.

United Nations General Assembly. (1992). United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Conclusion date: 14 June 1992. United Nations Treaty Series Online, registration no. I-30822, p. 195-196. https://unfccc.int/resource/docs/convkp/conveng.pdf

Paris Agreement - Article 12

Parties shall cooperate in taking measures, as appropriate, to enhance climate change education, training, public awareness, public participation and public access to information, recognizing the importance of these steps with respect to enhancing actions under this Agreement.

United Nations General Assembly. (2015). Paris Agreement. Conclusion date: December 12, 2015. United Nations Treaty Series Online, registration no. I-54113. https://unfccc.int/sites/default/files/english_paris_agreement.pdf.