Call for registration: World Science Day and Green Academies

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The climate crisis and environmental degradation are among the most serious challenges facing humanity as a whole, challenges that are measured in decades but require urgent action now. This urgency is not only to preserve ecosystems and the bountiful Earth as we know it. It is for the sake of the survival of the human species.

The theme of World Science Day 2020, celebrated on 10 November, is “Science for and with Society”, which highlights the inclusivity and equality of the sciences, including to contribute to vital environmental goals. As UNESCO celebrates this International Day, we seek to engage the wider public in the Open Sciences about debates on contemporary issues relevant to science.

The UNESCO Bangkok virtual event on 10 November will focus on UNESCO Green Academies, which augment the knowledge and skills of people via science and education as an important adaptation to mitigate the adverse impacts of biodiversity loss, climate change, pollution and water calamities. The Green Academies, which will be implemented throughout the region, will close the gap between classroom teaching and practical action.

This year, the United Nations celebrates its 75th anniversary during an unprecedented global health crisis posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The UN75 survey has reached out to members of the public to hear about our hopes and fears for the future. A top priority for action is overwhelming concern regarding the climate crisis and the destruction of our natural environment.

Join us on 10 November for this virtual conference sharing knowledge and information about practical, on-the-ground stems Green Academies and all of us can take to preserve the planet for the sake of ecosystems, for ourselves and for future generations to come.

Who should participate:

  • The scientific community including universities, especially faculties in the environmental sciences, biology, ecology, physical geography, botany, zoology, climatology, meteorology and natural resources management.
  • The education community, especially universities and schools interested in retrofitting their own premises into environmentally friendly places with low environmental footprints.
  • The general public including young people concerned about climate change resilience, biodiversity and water management
  • United Nations agencies, regional agencies, nature conservation agencies and Government Ministries and agencies with a mandate and an interest in biodiversity, climate, environment, pollution and water.
  • Private sector companies with a sincere interest looking for credible and transparent partners so they can embark on long-term corporate environmental responsibility projects.

Event details & registration

Watch the full event

The Covid-19 pandemic has reminded us that our health, economy, food security, climate, biodiversity and peoples’ well-being are interconnected. Celebrating the 2020 World Science Day provides an opportunity to mobilize the entire UNESCO’s science family, the scientific community, and the general public to bring science closer to society and to promote Science for and with Society in UNESCO’s competency: science policy and capacity building, environmental sustainability and water security.

As Mr. Shigeru Aoyagi, the Director of UNESCO Bangkok, mentioned in the welcome remarks, “Out of the global population of 7.8 billion, more than 800 million people are suffering from not getting enough food, 1.2 billion not having electricity, 4.7 billion living in areas that experience water scarcity for at least one month a year. We have to improve the situation. Science and education play fundamental roles ensuring that no one is left behind.”

Prof. Shabaz Khan, the Director and Representative of UNESCO Jakarta, also emphasized on the importance of science and international cooperation in the field of global health and environmental crisis. He said, “During this pandemic, we have understood the lack of scientific capacity in many parts of our world, which prevented those regions from participating in creation and adoption of scientific solutions to this problem and made their citizens more vulnerable in this health emergency. We have to take measures to support scientific research, reduce knowledge gap among countries and allow free access to scientific data, research findings, educational resources and research facilities.”

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Watch the event intro

One response of UNESCO to the above demands is to build Green Academies across the world. Dr. Benno Böer, the Programme Specialist of UNESCO, briefly introduced the history and methodology of the Green Academies Initiative, which is designed to engage young people and their communities to transform existing buildings such as schools and offices into climate-resilient structures. The initiative focuses on four pillars of water security, clean energy, biomass production and waste management, based on organizing youth clubs.

The model can be implemented in schools across the world and tailored to local contexts. Dr. Supawadee Theerathammakorn from Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University (STOU) in Thailand introduced their practices. They are working to qualify for the UI GreenMetric World University “green” qualification based on the six indicators of infrastructure, energy, water, waste, transportation and education. Since 2017, the university has been operating a new building covered in vegetation, with the roof covered in an on-grid solar system and rainwater collection pipes.

Mr. Felix Matschie from ETH Zürich introduced another Green Academy Yayu, which is being constructed in Ethiopia and can benefit 1,000 students. They started harvesting rainwater and recycling black and grey water via reed bed filtration system so that students do not need to walk 1 Km to the nearest spring.

With the cooperation between UNESCO and SEAMEO, the Guideline of Green Academies has been translating to 6 Southeast Asian languages: Vietnamese, Laos, Burmese, Bahasa Melayu, Thai and Bahasa Indonesia, according to Dr. Ethel Valenzuela, the Director of SEAMEO.

Apart from topics about Green Academies, other keynotes included “Kids to Forests” by Dr. Illias Animon from FAO, who demonstrated the importance of Knowledge and Innovations’ Diffusion Support to the Forests. He said, “We should turn young citizens as forestpreneurs. Forestry is a subject about art, science and practice, and can bring heaven to the earth.” Mr. Dev Suj, the Founder and CEO of PAPINEE, a children’s edutainment company teaching global and green values, introduced their new approaches in science education. They created character and stories inspired by world history imagination, geography and zoology to help children to learn, laugh and love.

Two artists also expressed their concerns about environmental protection through a presentation and a poem. Mr. Charlie Winston, an English singer-songwriter, shared his reasons why we should respect and care about nature, while Mr. Andrew Amatavivadhana, a Thai poet, wrote a powerful poem to increase the public’s awareness on climate change and call for our action.

This event also invited panelists from different fields and organizations to express their opinions on open science and open data, reconnection with nature, packaging problems, partnership with private sector, and SEAMEO’s Science-Education activities and the SEAMEO-Japan-ESD-Award. Panelists included Prof. Rajesh Tandon, Ms. Francesca Calisesi, Dr. Ethel Valenzuela, Mr. Dev Suj, Ms. Siriporn Sriaram, Dr. Supawadee Theerathammakorn and Mr. Sorawis Somsub. For further information please visit the Media Library on quest4action.org, an open science platform established by UNESCO to promote emerging green economies by augmenting knowledge, networking and necessary skills for science-based environmental management.

Pandemic, extreme weather, biodiversity loss and pollution are all realities, and we are all in the same boat. Over 5,900 people registered for this event and showed their attention on promoting environmental protection. We should fully believe that even though the challenges posed by the environmental crisis are major, the solutions are within our hands if we choose to implement them and cooperate with each other. We know the problems, and we have solutions available. It is now time to apply our knowledge and respond to these important issues by involving the general public in a spirit of open sciences.

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10nov13:3015:40Virtual EventWorld Science Day for Peace & Development 2020: Science for and with Society.The event will highlight the need of open science to enhance the science-based management of pandemics, biodiversity, climate, pollution, and science education.

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