Teach climate in classrooms to help protect future of planet, says Dubai Cares chief

UAE philanthropic organisation announces partnership to have day of education at Cop28

Majid Al Suwaidi, Cop28 director general and Tariq Al Gurg, chief executive and vice-chairman of Dubai Cares, announce their partnership at the UAE Pavilion, in Davos. Photo: Supplied
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Bringing the subject of climate change into the classroom will support future generations’ efforts to protect our planet and conserve resources, the head of UAE philanthropic organisation Dubai Cares has said.

Climate change “should always be part of” the education agenda and education will be an important part of the Cop28 summit in the UAE, said Tariq Al Gurg, chief executive and vice-chairman of Dubai Cares.

“If we talk about education and if you think climate is not part of the education agenda and education should not be part of the climate agenda, then you're wrong,” he said.

Because we're a global advocate in education, it's a must for us to sign with Cop 28 to have education as a main pillar and an agenda
Tariq Al Gurg, Dubai Cares

Dubai Cares will host the RewirEd education summit during Cop28. The event will focus on climate action education and approaches.

Mr Al Gurg spoke to The National in Davos, at the UAE Pavilion, after officially announcing the co-operation agreement with Majid Al Suwaidi, director general of Cop28.

Youths and future generations are needed in the climate fight because “the current generation won't be able to solve all the problems”, he said.

“Because we're a global advocate in education, it's a must for us to sign with Cop28 to have education as a main pillar and an agenda. And that was part of the agreement. And we will have one full day of education. It is the first time ever at any Cop [and] that will happen at Cop28 at Dubai Expo [City].”

Mr Al Suwaidi said it is essential to empower youths and society "with the knowledge and skills to become changemakers and contribute to meaningful action”.

“We welcome this partnership with Dubai Cares, to connect with diverse stakeholders, create capacity-building opportunities and mobilise a concerted drive for inclusive climate progress,” he said.

In the lead up to the summit, Dubai Cares will work with public and private sector organisations on new policy, financing, and technology to prepare students “for the net-zero economy and enhance accessibility and resilience in the education sector”, officials said.

The aim of these efforts is to include climate in education systems that would let those in secondary schools “work together physically on case studies on how they can [come up with] these solutions, and probably go to university with a full degree on climate”, said Mr Al Gurg.

Dubai Cares’ 15-year track record of working with the UN and other multilateral organisations to advance education around the world will support its work on climate education.

“If we can make that happen through one generation, and bring education and climate work together, we will be able to solve these problems because we need new solutions," Mr Al Gurg said

"Our generation today can provide to a limited extent, good solutions, and they will not be all cost-effective. But it's the new generation who have to do it.”

Mr Al Gurg said “education globally is not doing very well”, as a result of its inability to adapt quickly enough to changes.

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is “a big example that showed that the system is broken”, he said.

Providing better access to technology, improving connectivity, bringing into schools the children who have been left out and creating job opportunities for those who have left, are all critical areas to transform education, he said.

“Can we have a system that can that can fix these issues, and leave no one behind?” Mr Al Gurg said.

“And have a replacement of a school certification for the ones who are left out or the ones who could not get enrolled … to give them that opportunity to upskill … that can give them a job."

Updated: January 20, 2023, 9:23 AM