The 27th annual Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC, or COP27, began November 6 and is being held until November 18 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. Each year, scientists, activists, and world leaders from around the globe gather to take action on the environmental commitments made by each nation’s representatives, furthering the planet’s collective climate goals. This year, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will be highlighting three key issues: protecting biodiversity, cultivating a better relationship with nature, and supporting scientific efforts to find solutions to current environmental challenges.
UNESCO calls for a global shift in the values and behaviors of the world’s inhabitants toward nature. While many nations have pledged to establish protected areas on 30 percent of the planet by 2030, UNESCO maintains that this number is “meaningless if humans continue to destroy in the remaining 70 percent.” To address this, UNESCO will be leveraging its resources to push training and education initiatives that, ideally, will equip people to live in harmony with nature and minimize actions that further harm the environment.
Cultivating a better relationship with nature
Along with advocating for training and educational programs, UNESCO also seeks to help pioneer “new ways to coexist with nature, designing more sustainable uses of biodiversity, and new models of production and consumption.” Existing UNESCO designated sites will serve as prime examples of alternative ways of life that are more friendly to wildlife and nature in general.
As the UN’s scientific branch, UNESCO prioritizes research and the exchange of scientific knowledge between nations to foster innovation. According to UNESCO, they will be using their “designated sites and programs as a springboard to share solutions on sustainable use and conservation, based on scientific evidence as well as on local values and knowledge, to transmit to young people as drivers for change.”
UNESCO’s three-pronged approach to combating climate change will, ideally, spur leaders and citizens alike to adopt more environmentally-friendly mindsets and follow the principles of open science to collaboratively address environmental threats at a large scale.