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First Global Forum on Green Economy Learning in Paris France

From 16 to 18 December 2015, the First Global Forum on Green Economy Learning held in Paris, France, convened approximately 60 policy-makers, development partners, and representatives from education and training institutions, NGOs and business associations to identify opportunities for improving green economy learning. The transition towards inclusive green economies, as reiterated through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), requires national education and training systems to respond to new and changing skills needs. Specifically, changes in the labour market, the development of new technologies and practices, and developments in existing occupations will challenge policy-makers, institutions and other stakeholders to rethink about education post-2015. Green economy learning is seen as a learning process which promotes multi-sectoral and multi-level approaches empowering individuals, communities and societies towards achieving the SDGs. It is intended to change attitudes, mind sets and behaviours to support such transformations.

Organised by the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) together with UNESCO-UNEVOC, the Green Growth Knowledge Platform (GGKP) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Forum provided a platform for information exchange, experience-sharing and the coordination of green economy learning. Representatives from ministries and training institutions also informed each other about national approaches to developing strategies for green economy learning, and initiatives to start collaborations between different stakeholders. The diverse types of institutions attending the Global Forum also engaged learning institutions to integrate green economy concepts within existing courses, and promoted the idea of developing a community of practise of green economy learning professionals and institutions.

UNESCO-UNEVOC took part in the Forum with the aim of mainstreaming technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in global debates on green economy learning, and creating opportunities for synergy across different knowledge platforms working to support institutions and professionals to achieve sustainable development. During a session entitled Existing initiatives that support countries in promoting green economy education and training- what have we learned, Shyamal Majumdar, head of UNESCO-UNEVOC, emphasised the importance of lifelong learning aspects of green economy learning. Stressing the need to build partnerships across networks with a view that green economy learning needs a strong backing of well-informed and well-connected knowledge networks of institutions across a range of education and training levels, he also pointed out the existing challenges that hinder full integration of green economy concepts. These stem from issues in policy coordination, green conceptual ambiguities and low capacities.

Other interventions from UNESCO were made by Borhene Chakroun, Chief of Youth, Literacy and Skills Section at UNESCO who moderated a session on Strategies and policies to promote inclusive green economy cases.

UNESCO-UNEVOC activities

A working group session on Green Skills integration in TVET programmes provided a platform for UNEVOC Centres to present initiatives and programmes contributing to green economy learning. The session was split into two sub-sessions and was attended by Shyamal Majumdar, Ken Barrientos, Programme Officer at UNESCO-UNEVOC, Wouter de Regt, Programme Assistant at UNESCO-UNEVOC, Global Forum participants, as well as representatives from the following UNEVOC Centres:

The presentations highlighted the need for systematic reforms, leadership involvement and cultural change outside and within learning institutions in order for TVET systems to fully contribute to achieving Agenda 2030. The presentations also showcased how greening programmes were involving local communities and partners, increasing local awareness of green economy learning as well as the need to promote sustainable development. The working group session also provided a platform for forum participants to get acquainted with greening developments in the TVET institutions.

Paris Statement on Learning for an Inclusive Green Economy

At the end of the two-and a half day Forum, a Statement on learning for an Inclusive Green Economy was adopted. The Statement emphasises the need for concerted efforts to scale up existing, and promote the development of new and innovative initiatives regarding inclusive green economy (IGE) learning. The statement is intended to guide understanding and debates on what IGE means, how to increase the effectiveness in IGE learning and how it could be further promoted and scaled up. Importantly, the Statement emphasises, amongst other things, the importance of lifelong learning approaches to achieving green economy learning.

UNEVOC Network Meeting

UNESCO-UNEVOC also seized the opportunity to inform UNEVOC Centres on greening TVET initiatives to open a dialogue for partnerships and collaboration in and around the Network. A brief meeting of the UNEVOC Centre representatives was held to exchange feedback on future plans and opportunities for actions.UNEVOC Centres represented were from Armenia, Austria, Canada, China, Germany, Grenada, Nigeria, Paraguay, Philippines, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia.

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