COP 27: Two Latin American teachers win global climate education award

COP 27: Two Latin American teachers win global climate education award

The TeachersCOP awarded four teachers leading the way in climate education inside and outside the classroom in their countries. Only 30 percent of Latin America and the Caribbean countries significantly include climate education in the school curriculum, according to a preliminary report by UNICEF and MERI Foundation.

PANAMA CITY, Panama, 7 November 2022 – Two Latin American teachers have won a global competition and regional award for promoting climate education in their schools.

The TeachersCOP, held as a part of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27), brought together more than 250 project submissions and reached more than 1,500 teachers from 29 different countries, creating an international and diverse space to recognize teachers’ growing commitment to climate education.

The four Latin American projects that won the Climate Guardians Award, promoted by UNICEF, MERI Foundation, and the Office of Climate Education (OCE), presented their climate education projects during the virtual event.
“This award illustrates the individual commitment of teachers on the frontline, showing us every day that climate education is empowering,” said Youssouf Abdel-Jelil, UNICEF Regional Director a.i. for Latin America and the Caribbean. “But these initiatives should not just be personal projects; governments must support them to achieve long-term generational change.”

According to preliminary data from a mapping carried out by UNICEF and MERI Foundation, 91 percent of Latin America and the Caribbean countries do not include climate education in their educational laws and policies, and only 30 percent significantly include climate change education in their school curriculum.

“It is with climate education that children and adolescents will be able to have the tools to recognize, connect and value living beings and the world around them, to learn to co-exist harmoniously with the environment,” said Francisca Cortés Solari , President of MERI Foundation.

“Teachers play a key role in the global climate response. Through their role as the bridge between students and information, their knowledge and know-how, and inspirational figures in a changing future. The TeachersCOP provides a needed space for their work to be recognized, as well as shared with teachers from around the world,” said Eric Guilyardi, President of the Office of Climate Education.

Of the four winning projects, two Latin American teachers were selected by their peers to be awarded during the event:

  • Wilson Hernan Correa – Educational resources category, project IoT_Water, Colombia
  • Paola Sapochnik – Professional development of teachers category, MATERIALOTECA project, Argentina>/strong>

IoT Water is a greywater treatment plant with electrocoagulation methods controlled by IoT and DevNet. Materialoteca is an educational project for students aged 15-16 to learn about using sustainable materials for product design.

“At COP27, governments have the opportunity to amplify these individual initiatives so that each school trains its teachers and students to become proactive citizens in the fight against climate change in Latin America and the Caribbean,” added Youssouf Abdel-Jelil.

The award-winning teachers will have the opportunity to present their projects at an official event at the Science Pavilion for Climate Action, in the heart of the COP27 blue zone, on Thursday, 10 November.