Congress Goal

“Connecting People, Creating Tomorrow”

The 12th World Environmental Education Congress 2024, Abu Dhabi, UAE, focuses on “Connecting People, Creating Tomorrow”.

On the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), ‘Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis’, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres said it is “Code Red for Humanity”. Irrevocably, humans are driving global environmental change. Pandemics such as COVID-19 threaten individuals and societies and serve as a stress test for global socio-environmental challenges. Our children and youth are the worst hit, with collateral damage to their learning and emotional well-being. We must give them hope for a better future.

This requires changing the way we interact with nature. We must urgently address the serious Triple Planetary Crisis of Climate Change, Nature and Biodiversity loss, and Pollution and Waste. These challenges are difficult to address since they are multi-dimensional, interrelated and not constrained by political boundaries. So, solutions to these challenges require agreed action, underlining the importance of connecting people across nations, cultures, generations, and professions.

The WEEC 2024 reaffirms that Environmental Education (EE) provides the basis for humanity’s transformation toward a sustainable world.

The Worldwide Environmental Education Congress (WEEC) network and the Government of Abu Dhabi, UAE, invite educators from formal and non-formal education, locally and internationally, NGOs, governments, and academia, to discuss, evaluate, and energise environmental education - to connect people to create a better tomorrow for all of us and the living world.

WEEC 2024 seeks to facilitate the exchange of ideas, to advance progress towards a sustainable, resilient, and adaptable future. The event will encourage exploratory dialogue on the different dimensions involved in EE (educational, ethical, economic, political, etc.) to facilitate progress in this future.

Whilst the organisers have developed a suite of themes we welcome suggestions on priority ideas, challenges, from the world’s environmental educators until the close of abstract submissions.

THEME 01

Tackling the Triple Socio-environmental Planetary Crisis: Climate Change; Pollution and Biodiversity Loss

Today, we face the intertwined challenges of climate change, natural degradation, and pollution, referred to as the Triple Planetary Crisis. The science is clear; we are putting extreme pressure on our ‘only planet’ due to unsustainable production and consumption.

Investing in nature-based solutions and responding to the “Code Red” announced by the UN Secretary-General requires educators to invest more in critical thinking, values development, holistic approaches and building innovative skills and compe…

THEME 02

Water, Food, and Energy Nexus in Environmental Education

The United Nations states that the water-food-energy nexus is central to sustainable development. Driven by inclusive progress, the demand for all three is increasing, with significant implications for water, food, and energy security. The inextricable linkages between these critical domains require a suitably integrated approach to ensuring water and food security and sustainable agriculture and energy production worldwide.

WEEC 2024 in Abu Dhabi provides a context for discourse among EE practitio…

THEME 03

A Worldwide Community for Sustainability as the Goal

Real sustainability must permeate teaching, learning, research and operations within the educational institutions and our external relations with the community. To achieve inclusive and holistic goals, ‘whole institutional approaches’, global networks, regional centres of excellence etc., must be in place to acknowledge that our real-world systems are complex and dynamic.

EE has found broad local and global interpretations with a universal context. A range of actors, including environmental agencies and education systems,…

THEME 04

Promoting Collaboration and Learning Communities to Address Socio-environmental Challenges

Learning communities offer opportunities to engage in rewarding learning experiences that lead to profound personal and social transformations. Several factors are essential for creating and sustaining communities that support transformational learning: social presence, authentic education, interdependency, critical discourse, and leadership.

All responses to significant challenges (such as the COVID-19 pandemic) require a people-based approach. Governments must collaborate with non-government local actors to prevent threats and provide relief measures.

So, the collaborative re…

THEME 05

Outdoor and Place-based Learning in the Decade of Ecosystem Restoration

Connecting with a place and its context has an underpinning role in connecting people and creating a sustainable tomorrow, that is the central theme for WEEC 2024. The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration aims to prevent, halt, and reverse the degradation of ecosystems with people's participation and calls for nature-based education within environmental education. Nature-based or place-integrated experiences bestow a range of proven outcomes, including personal-social relevant competencies, that can simultaneously address…

THEME 06

Efforts and Challenges in EE for Early Childhood Education

Psychological and educational studies and research have shown early childhood to be a critical stage for shaping character, behaviours, and beliefs. Thus, practitioners tend to pay special attention to children at this stage, especially because, due to increasing economic pressures, children are growing up in families where parents work for longer hours and have less time available for children.

In early childhood education, attention should not only focus on formal education…

THEME 07

Aesthetics, Ethics and Emotional Dimensions: The Role of Art and Design in EE

Art helps us to visualise patterns inherent in living systems. Children have a natural ability to recognise and express the soul of nature. Art can create experiential engagement beyond just learning about plants and animals. Integrating environmental education into art is already challenging how students see and relate to the natural world. Design thinking is a great innovative tool for tackling complex systemic sustainability challenges.

We welcome research and practice submissio…

THEME 08

A Matter of Values and Cultural Diversity: Indigenous Knowledge and Culture

The Late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the father of the United Arab Emirates, said, “On land and in the sea, our forefathers lived and survived in this environment. They could do so because they recognised the need to conserve it, take from it only what they needed to live, and preserve it for succeeding generations.” The wisdom of these words, especially in the fragile desert environment, conveys how indigenous …

THEME 09

Artificial Intelligence and Smart Technologies

Smart technologies and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are increasingly playing a significant role in education today, especially with students, parents, and others relying on supportive technical resources. Smart technologies bring many transformations to teaching, supporting different age groups by increasing their knowledge. Interactive technology tools can foster people’s engagement in environmental activities and sustainable development projects, raising awareness about the environment and natural resources and promoting understanding of ecological issues.

We welcome r…

THEME 10

Environmental Education for a Sustainable Future

Education with a universal context cannot neglect the environment and sustainable development. Addressing the current global crisis requires new educational approaches that promote new ways of living and producing environmental, social, and intergenerational justice. In promoting the 2030 Agenda, it is necessary to discuss how should we integrate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into EE.

It is also appropriate to address new trends in EE research and whether these adequately address t…

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