UNESCO prize for Hamburg

Prize honours city for sustainable development education and local climate strategy

Hamburg is to receive the UNESCO Prize on Education for Sustainable Development (UNESCO-Japan Prize on Education for Sustainable Development ESD) for its commitment to climate protection during the UNESCO General Conference on November 15, 2019 in Paris. Each of three laureates will receive an award of USD 50,000, a press release said Tuesday (October 15,2019). The other winners are the Camphill Community Trust in Botswana and the Sustainable Amazon Foundation in Brazil.

Hamburg – a model for other cities

Hamburg has pursued the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions since 2007 and is increasingly focusing on renewable energies. It is also aiming for a 30 per cent reduction of CO2 emissions by 2030 and 80 per cent by 2050 through combined climate and sustainability strategies. Commenting on the award, the jury noted: “Hamburg was selected for its large-scale programme ‘Hamburg learns sustainability’, which fights climate change through an extensive set of projects, materials and green events that serve to educate and promote sustainable development. For example, it supports educational climate projects in kindergartens, schools and non-formal education, and fosters a climate excellence cluster in universities. Involving a broad range of actors, the programme aims to integrate sustainability into all sectors of education and transform educational practice in the whole city.“

The initiative could serve as a role model for other cities in the fight for climate protection.

Education key to sustainable development

Representatives of administration, industry and non-governmental organisations have developed the Hamburg BNE Master Plan 2030 on behalf of the Senate. The plan outlines the dimensions of sustainable development in all education sectors and develops educational practice. Prof. Dr. Maria Böhmer, President of the German UNESCO Commission, noted: “Local commitment is an important catalyst for achieving the global sustainability goals. Other cities can learn from Hamburg how education on sustainable development can be anchored in formal and non-formal education areas.”

Climate protection projects

The “Climate Action in Schools” programme, for instance, helps schools develop their own climate protection plan and encourages the community to come up with a strategy to make the school climate-friendlier. “The ‘Hamburg learns Sustainability’ initiative was founded almost 15 years ago. Hamburg has pioneered sustainable development education. In all these years, sustainability has always been closely linked to climate protection – a topic that is now more important than ever and not only in education”, said Jens Kerstan, Senator for the Environment. The city is due to publish its third climate plan this year and will encourage residents, business and the public to take equal responsibility for climate protection.

Sources and further information:
UNESCO-Japan Prize on Education for Sustainable Development ESD