The UN Climate Change Conference – United Arab Emirates (COP28), held in Dubai in December 2023, placed a strong focus on the role of education in addressing the climate emergency.

The “Greening Education Hub”, hosted by the UAE Ministry of Education in partnership with UNESCO, provided a platform to spotlight and advocate for the role of education in combating climate change. This aligns with the Action for Climate Empowerment agenda and with UNESCO’s Greening Education Partnership, a community of over 700 organisations and 80 Member States dedicated to getting every learner climate ready.

IFLA at the Greening Education Hub

IFLA was selected to present a side event that highlighted the role of culture in greening education, especially following a community-based, lifelong learning approach. We were delighted to welcome an excellent group of speakers to join this conversation:

  1. Aysha Kamali, UAE Permanent Delegation to UNESCO (UAE)
  2. Nicolas Kramar, Nature Museum, State of Valais (Switzerland)
  3. Eman Abushulaibi, Sharjah Public Library (UAE)
  4. Ruqiya Hussain Hassan, Public Libraries, Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (UAE)
  5. Suwichan Phatthanaphraiwan, Collage of Creative Agriculture for Society (CCAS), Srinakharinwirot University (Thailand)
Culture for Transformation Panel at COP28

This conversation highlighted key advocacy points and actions all stakeholders can take to support and grow the role of institutions like libraries and museums in climate empowerment. Building on a foundation of international agreements that stress the importance of linking culture to climate education, speakers shared ideas on how to sustain and expand culture-based climate empowerment, as well as on how to monitor and share success.

For more information, refer to the session’s outcome brief available in the IFLA Repository:

Culture Greening Communities Brief

COP28, held in Dubai, UAE in 2023, placed a focus on the role of education in addressing the climate emergency. IFLA hosted a side event in the Greening Education Hub that highlighted the role of culture ingreening education, especially following a community-based, lifelong learning approach. This b...

Key Messages

Call for International Cooperation on Culture-Based Climate Education

At the request of the United Arab Emirates, UNESCO has called for international  cooperation  and  efforts to strengthen the role of education and culture for addressing climate change as a key contribution to climate action.

Following the UAE’s initiative, as an outcome of their October 2023 meeting, the UNESCO Executive Board:

  • Encourages Member States to join the Greening Education Partnership and integrate education for climate empowerment into all relevant sectors
  • Invites Member States to exchange good practice on culture based climate education
  • Recognises the need for  the  meaningful  engagement  of  youth,  culture  professionals  and  educators, recognizing their role as agents of change

This initiative has responded to the need for specific action on linking culture and education in terms of addressing the climate crisis. It can serve as a basis for further calls to recognise the role that cultural stakeholders play in greening education and empowering climate action at the national and local levels.

What is needed to maintain and grow culture-based greening education initiatives?

Team IFLA at COP28 in Dubai
For Cultural Stakeholders:
  • Clear learning objectives set by cultural institutions to optimise their greening education programmes;
  • Continuity in support for teachers, educators, institutional staff, and knowledge holders to sustainably maintain their work;
  • Capacity-building, such as training opportunities and access to materials;
  • Increased knowledge exchange and cooperation between cultural institutions, including between museums, libraries, and other knowledge holders;
For Governments:
  • Greater coordination within countries to dismantle silos in education for sustainable development, integrating a whole-community approach;
  • Cooperation between cultural institutions/educators and municipal services and local or national authorities, recognising their role as partners in greening education;
  • Integration of cultural institutions into greening education plans at the subnational and national levels, including cooperation with ACE Focal Points and UNESCO National Committees


How can we measure and communicate success?

Speakers stressed that setting clear learning objectives can help measure success and communicate impact. Impact is challenging to measure, as participating in an event, exhibition, or lesson does not necessarily translate into behavioural change.

The case student of an integrated Indigenous curriculum uses the head, heart, and hand approach for a more holistic way to set learning objectives. The head measures what facts and abilities learners must acquire, such as language vocabulary. The heart measures what learners must be aware of in terms of personal responsibility, ethics, and active citizenship. The hand measures what learners must be able to do, such as explaining the connections between the Indigenous curriculum and Thai core curriculum.

Every sector and institution works within its own context and has its own ways to measure, so the need to find ways to coordinate is critical.  We can work towards:

  • Breaking down silos between cultural institutions
  • Exchanging on good practice and finding possibilities to collaborate
  • Sharing data on learning objectives and indicators
  • Working together with municipal and national climate education partners within ministries, local government, and national UNESCO committees

By working together to support and measure local impact, and sharing it on the national and international stage, we can highlight the crucial role of culture in greening communities and empowering climate action.

What can you do now?

Is your library active in enabling climate communication, education, access to information, and public participation?

Learn more about Action for Climate Empowerment. Contact your national ACE Focal Point and let them know you are interested in participating in your country’s ACE strategies. You can refer to the key messages shared at this COP28 side event.

Help us measure library impact

In order to share the impact libraries are making on climate empowerment and advocate for sustainable support, we must build a solid evidence base with measurable metrics.

IFLA and MECCE are soon launching a first edition of the climate communication and education library indicators that we have been developing over the course of 2023. We need your help to add your country to the global data platform!

During COP28, take stock of how your library is enabling climate empowerment and participate in the survey today. Consider sharing the Library Association survey with your national association and request that they participate as well.


More COP28 outcomes: Libraries Recognised among Essential Partners in Historic Declaration on Culture-based Climate Action