14 May 2014, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Representatives of some 30 Mongolian education and training institutions met for a one-day workshop to share information and discuss opportunities for advancing a strategic approach to green development learning in Mongolia. This meeting was held in response to a request by the Government of Mongolia to give particular attention to green awareness-raising and learning in support of Mongolia’s efforts to advance green development. It also provided input into the National 2014 Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) Implementation Workshop on Mongolia, which followed on 15-16 May.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Sh. Purevsuren, Senior Advisor to the Minister of Environment and Green Development and Chair of the meeting, highlighted that the Government of Mongolia places great importance on strengthening green awareness raising, education and training.
“Sustainable development is development for all and should reflect the characteristics and local needs. National education and research institutions therefore play a crucial role in overcoming the challenges that Mongolia faces in advancing green development”, Sh. Purevsuren emphasised.
Speaking on behalf of the PAGE partners, Nara Luvsan of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Moustapha Kamal Gueye from the International Labour Organization (ILO) introduced PAGE. They reconfirmed the commitment of PAGE partners to accompany and support Mongolia in advancing green development through a range of services, from policy analysis and policy reform to policy implementation and related capacity development.
Ms. A. Tuya, Head of the Division Basic and Secondary Education at the Ministry of Education and Science, presented national education policies and ongoing green education projects, with a focus on children education in primary and secondary schools. She indicated that the meeting was timely because green education, learning and skills development is becoming increasingly important for the country. In addition, Ms. Tuya pointed out that national education policies can provide a framework for green development education and highlighted the importance of institutional capacity development, such as curriculum change and teachers education.
Presentations by six institutions provided a snapshot of ongoing and planned green education activities. The speakers represented the Secretariat of Parliament, the National Development Institute, the Swiss Development Cooperation, the Mongolian National University, UNICEF and Eco Asia University. The presentations highlighted a range of ongoing green learning activities and initiatives, as well as indicated the importance of scaling up green development learning as one of the foundations for green development in Mongolia. Target groups mentioned ranged from decision-makers in government and the private sector, to students in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions.
The second part of the meeting focused on the development of a National Green Economy Learning Strategy in Mongolia within the framework of PAGE. Participants welcomed and supported the development of the National Strategy and expressed an interest in participating. The perspectives shared indicated that the National Strategy creates, among others, an opportunity to:
- Systemically identify learning needs of a wide range of target groups and stakeholders on various dimensions of green development
- Align education and training efforts of national learning institutions with the principles of green and sustainable development and related Government policies
- Address the gap of understanding about green economy and development among decision makers in line ministries, parliament, aimags (regional level), etc
- Improve professional skills needed to shift from brown to green (e.g. in the building sector)
- Scale up public awareness raising, curriculum change, and professional training
- Facilitate learning and experience sharing and avoid duplication of efforts
- Raise the profile of green learning as foundation for a green transition in Mongolia
- Guide capacity development and training services provided through PAGE
- Scale up resources to support green learning from national and international sources.
The meeting also endorsed the establishment of a working group/task force to oversee and support the creation of the National Green Development Learning Strategy. This group could include representatives from government, education, training institutions, the private sector, civil society and other interested stakeholders.
The Senior Manager of Environment and Green Development at the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), Achim Halpaap, indicated that PAGE can provide seedfunding, as well as methodological and technical support, for the development of the strategy. In addition, selected training and skills development activities are included under the priority work streams in the PAGE workplan.
The Partnership for Action on Green Economy, or PAGE is a response to the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), entitled The Future We Want, which recognizes the green economy as a vehicle for sustainable development and poverty eradication. The four founding UN agencies of PAGE – the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) – will provide a comprehensive suite of green economy services that will enable countries to transform their national economic structures to meet the growing demands and challenges of the 21st century.
More specifically, PAGE will facilitate enabling conditions in participating countries by encouraging a shift in investment and policies towards the creation of a new generation of assets, such as clean technologies, resource efficient infrastructure, well-functioning ecosystems, green skilled labour and good governance.
Mongolia was the first country to join PAGE in 2013. Generous support for PAGE activities in 2014 has been provided by the Governments of Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Republic of Korea.