ASEAN countries discuss role of education in fight against climate change

Inle Lake Myanmar

Inle Lake, Myanmar. Photo: Asian Development Bank

Representatives from across the Asian region recently met to discuss how education and university curricula treat climate change in order to improve knowledge and competencies with regard to climate change-resilient agriculture and food security.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Forum on Improvement of Knowledge, Skills and Competence of Stakeholders in Climate Change Adaptation was held in Naypyidaw, Myanmar from 7-9 March 2016.

Participants from ASEAN countries, UN agencies, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and universities discussed climate change-related challenges to ASEAN countries’ development, which is heavily dependent on agriculture.

University representatives from Myanmar, Viet Nam and Lao People’s Democratic Republic emphasized the need for community-based and farmers’ capacity building as well as formal degree education in agriculture, food security, fisheries, livestock and water management.

Reiner Wassmann from the International Rice Research Institution (IRRI) identified the need to urgently develop stronger competences on mainstreaming climate change in the agriculture and food security sector.

Mr. Harjeet Singh, the global lead on climate change for ActionAid, emphasized on the importance of building a partnership between scientists and farmers when it comes to finding sustainable solutions to climate change. He argued that farmers experience the impact of climate change first-hand and are generally underestimated when it comes to the expertise they can bring to research.

Participants agreed to develop a concept note for a Climate Field School programme to support farmers and advance formal education and research on climate change adaptation in ASEAN countries.

The ASEAN Forum was organized by the Myanmar Climate Change Alliance (MCCA) in partnership with Myanmar’s Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Rural Development, and MCCA Programme of UN-HABITAT and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and funded by the European Union.

Read the UN-HABITAT Press Release on the ASEAN Forum'

Kate Langford

Kate Langford is a consultant writer with close to 20 years’ experience in communicating natural resource, environmental and land management issues for various government and non-government organizations. She previously worked as Communications Specialist for the World Agroforestry Centre in Kenya and has worked in Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam and Australia. She holds a Bachelor of Science and a Graduate Diploma in Scientific Communication.

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