Development of an Africa Environmental Education and Training Action Plan

The fifth Africa Environmental Education and Training Action Plan Consultative Meeting was recently held in Addis Ababa, at the Horn of Africa Regional Environment Centre and Network’s Headquarter in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The meeting, held on 17 April 2014, was convened by Rhodes University, Addis Ababa University and UNEP’s Environmental Education and Training Unit, was attended by over 20 participants drawn from Ethiopian universities, regional environmental organizations, Rhodes University and UNEP.


The proposed Action Plan, a direct response to the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) Arusha Declaration aims at promoting capacity in environmental education and training in Africa through formal education; training; life-long learning; and capacity building. It also champions the use of technology enhanced learning and information networking; and strengthening the Mainstreaming Environment and Sustainability in African Universities (MESA) initiative, which presently has 85 member universities in 30 countries. MESA is the GUPES Flagship network initiative for Africa.


The process of developing the Action Plan was initiated by UNEP-AMCEN Secretariat in partnership with the UNEP Education and Training Unit, in consultation with the MESA partnership programme, the Horn of Africa Regional Environmental Programme, and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Regional Environmental Education Programme amongst others, and participants who attended the 7th World Environmental Education Congress in Morocco. Its development and implementation is in line with the Rio+20 Outcome Document – The Future We Want; the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005 – 2014) among others.

The proposed Action Plan will focus on 5 regional flagship programs, (RFPs) which seek to addressing Poverty and Livelihoods and integrating the African partnership for capacity building, technology transfer. The 5 RFPs are African Green Economy Partnership; Land degradation, Desertification, Biodiversity and Ecosystems based Adaptation; Partnership for Sustainable Consumption and Production; Africa Sustainable Energy Development Programme; and Africa Integrated Environmental Assessment for Sustainable Development.

At the meeting, participants including included Prof. Heila Lotz-Sisitka (Rhodes University), Dr. Satishkumar Belliethathan (Addis Ababa University; and Horn of Africa Regional Environment Centre and Network)and Brian Waswala (UNEP-EETU), brain-stormed and agreed on four priority Environmental Education implementation modalities essential in the adoption and implementation of the action plan. These include Enhancement of Formal Education; Training of Public Sector Officials and Enhanced Capacity Development; Life-long learning and community education; Capacity building, networking and social learning.