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Director General presents UNESCO climate change initiative at Copenhagen Conference

Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, yesterday presented UNESCO's climate change initiative at a press briefing held during the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP 15) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

"Thanks to its interdisciplinary capacities, UNESCO can render a unique contribution to mitigation and adaptation to climate change through distinct action in education, the sciences, culture, communication and information. All these efforts are closely coordinated with the response of the entire UN system to the new global challenge. In particular, and most prominently as a first pillar of its initiative, UNESCO continues to contribute to climate science and the building of the indispensable knowledge base through its Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), in close collaboration with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and its International Hydrological Programme (IHP)". This work contributes to the better understanding and forecasting of climate phenomena.

The second pillar of the UNESCO initiative pertains to climate change education, which is being promoted in the context of the UN Decade on Education for Sustainable Development. UNESCO was assigned the lead role for the Decade by the UN General Assembly. Action in this area comprises assistance to Member States with regard to curricula revision, teacher training and education strategies at all levels, including TVET [Technical and Vocational Education and Training]."

The third pillar consists of cultural and biological diversity, as well as cultural heritage. As Ms Bokova stated at the briefing, "UNESCO will assist Member States to harness the iconic values of World Heritage sites and Biosphere Reserves to showcase adaptation and conservation measures". UNESCO is also expected to link its activities to the Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD) mechanism expected to be one important outcome of the Copenhagen Conference.

Lastly, UNESCO will deal with various ethical and social dimensions of climate change, including through the launch of a consultative process aimed at judging the advisability of preparing a declaration of ethical principles in relation to climate change, as decided by the Organization's General Conference last October. Furthermore, UNESCO will examine the social dimensions of climate change, including migration issues.

Source: UNESCO World Heritage Centre