Research Study on Climate Change Education for Sustainable Development in Mongolia

Research Study on Climate Change Education for Sustainable Development in Mongolia

Navchaa Tugjamba (Macquarie University, Australia), Batchuluun Yembuu (Mongolian National University of Education, Mongolia), Amarbayasgalan Gantumur (University of the Humanities, Mongolia) and Uranchimeg Gezel (Mongolian National University of Education, Mongolia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4056-4.ch012


There is scientific consensus that Mongolia is already facing the negative consequences of climate change. Raising public awareness and increasing education initiatives is one of the most important ways to adapt and mitigate climate change. The paper consists of two main sections. The first section reviewed the policies and provisions in support developing climate change education for sustainable development and analyzed the level of teachers' knowledge of climate change education for sustainable development and determined the needs for teacher training. The second part assessed the coverage level of climate change education for sustainability in national educational standards, curricula and textbooks in Mongolia. To evaluate the coverage level, the team defined the concepts and coverage of Climate change education (CCE), Disaster risk reduction (DRR) and Education for sustainable development (ESD) and developed the indicators to analyze CCE/DRR/ESD content coverage on the curricula and textbooks.
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Education is critical for promoting sustainable development and improving the capacity of the people to address environmental and developmental (UN, 1992). From the time sustainable development was first endorsed at the UN General Assembly in 1987, the parallel concept of education to support sustainable development has also been explored. From 1987 to 1992, the concept of sustainable development matured as committees discussed, negotiated, and wrote the 40 chapters of Agenda 21. Initial thoughts concerning Education for Sustainable development were captured in chapter 36 of Agenda 21, “Promoting Education, Public Awareness, and Training” (McKeown, Hopkins, Rizi, & Chrystalbridge, 2002). Obviously, education is an essential tool for achieving sustainability. People around the world recognize that current economic development trends are not sustainable and that public awareness, education and training are essential to move society toward sustainability (Hopkins & McKeown, 2002).

Climate change impacts on the natural environments and the livelihood of the people in Mongolia, obviously. The study of climate change, began in 1979 in Mongolia, after the second World Meteorological Conference. “Climate change” was the first symposium, organized by the Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology in June, 1980 (Dagvadorj, Natsagadorj, Dorjpurev, & Namkhainyam, 2009). Sustainable development, however, has been discussed in Mongolia since 1992 while the issue of education for sustainable development was initially discussed in policy level documents, since 1997. As a result, the “State Ecological Policy” was developed and approved by the State Great Khural (Parliament) in 1997. But ecological policy and ecological education issues are strongly based on biological science perspectives in Mongolia, and climate change education for addressing sustainable development issues is still not declared at the official policy level.

Issue is that Mongolia is very sensitive to climate change due to its geographic location, sensitive ecosystems and socioeconomic condition (Dagvadorj et al., 2009). While there is emerging awareness of the current and potential impacts of climate/environmental change on education provision and learning, it is also clear that education: formal and non-formal, from primary through to tertiary and adult education-has an important role to play in addressing this change (Bangay & Blum, 2010) around the world. Moreover, climate change education for sustainable development is a new term in Mongolia. According to its obligations and commitments under the UNFCCC, the Mongolian Government initiated and implemented the National Action Program in Climate Change which was approved by the Government in 2000. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)-based Comprehensive National Development (MDGbCPND) Strategy of Mongolia was approved by the Parliament of Mongolia on 12 February 2008 (MNET, 2011). Pilot area 5 of the MDGbCPND strategy states, “To create an environment for sustainable development in the way of building capacity to adapt to climate change, and limiting and protecting loss of ecological equivalence and this statement is the basic rationale for the development of the National Action Program on Climate Change (MNET, 2011). Because of the statement, “Within this framework, activities in expanding public participation and awareness about eliminating negative consequences, ways to overcome, and adapt to climate change and desertification will be implemented” (Pilot area 5 of the strategy) (MDGbCPND, 2008, 12 18), MDGbCPND Strategy is the first policy statement that addressed climate change education in Mongolia, in terms of education.

Due to the existing socio-economic situation, the National Action Program in Climate Change was redeveloped and approved in 2011. The most detailed statement about “climate change education” was appeared on the “National Action Program on Climate Change”. The fifth objective of the program was “to conduct public awareness campaigns and support citizen and community participation in actions against climate change”. To achieve the objective, the following actions will be taken in 2012-2021:

  • Include courses about climate change and the green economy in all levels of school programs,

  • Develop educational curriculums and define new profession indexes and classifications related to climate change and environmental sectors.

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