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WEEC2024: a global gathering for sustainable solutions

The twelfth edition of the World Environmental Education Congress (WEEC) kicks off in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The opening ceremony saw the participation of prominent figures, including H.E. Dr. Shaikha Al Dhaheri, Secretary-General of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, UAE; H.H. Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, President and CEO of the UAE Independent Climate Change Accelerators (UICCA); Mario Salomone, Secretary-General of the World Environmental Education Congress Network; and Elizabeth Wathuti, Kenyan youth activist, Founder, and Executive Director of Green Generation Initiative, Kenya.

The WEEC Network Secretary-General Mario Salomone addressed the theme of interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity, emphasizing that the environment represents the crossroads of perspectives and is the ideal ground for building such approaches. He highlighted that the challenge of environmental crises is not merely academic but involves Western science, the relationship between expert knowledge and traditional knowledge, raises ethical-political issues, and requires a profound restructuring of knowledge, structures, and laws. He announced a new collaboration between the Club of Rome and the global WEEC network, emphasizing the importance of demonstrating the centrality of environmental education. This collaboration aims to better understand the nature of learning today, based on the message conveyed by the Club of Rome’s report, “No Limits to Learning.”

Dr. Shaikha Al Dhaheri focused her speech on three crucial themes: climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution. H.H. Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, in her address, highlighted the importance of the involvement of women and youth, emphasized significant transformations in the United Arab Emirates, and underscored the transformative power of education.

Plenary 1: the triple planetary crisis – aligning EE and ESD

During subsequent plenary sessions, numerous national and international authorities contributed, including H.E. Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, President of IUCN, who stated, “Government action alone is not sufficient; everyone’s help is needed. WEEC plays a crucial role, inspiring, empowering, and embracing the new economy.” She also announced a commitment to creating a roadmap for developing an educational set for young people.
Following H.E. Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak’s remarks, Jack Dangermond, President, Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI), USA, ha preso la parola.
Mr. Dangermond highlighted the success and challenges faced by our species, acknowledging the exponential growth in technology over the last 300 years. He expressed concern about the human footprint dominating the planet’s evolution and how it now poses a threat to our future, especially due to overpopulation. He stressed the critical need for understanding and collaboration to address the challenges ahead.

High level leaders’ panel discussion

After them, several other notable speakers took the stage during subsequent panel discussion:
Abdul-Majeid Haddad, Deputy Regional Director, UNEP, West Asia O¬ce, Lebanon, emphasized the importance of educators having an environmental spirit and transferring it to education. He discussed the role of educators as custodians for laws, needing to provide incentives for environmental education through both formal and informal approaches. Formal education would involve legal frameworks, while informal education would inspire youth to become champions and educators themselves.
H.E. Dr. Amna Al Dahak Al Shamsi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, United Arab Emirates.
Dr. Al Shamsi emphasized that environmental education is not solely the responsibility of educators but of everyone. She highlighted the power and connectivity of education, reaching every household. To integrate environmental education into daily life, it must be instilled as part of people’s values, especially considering they are the future educators and scientists.

H.E. Mamo Boru Mamo, Director General, National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Kenya.
Mr. Mamo discussed the need to supervise and coordinate environmental issues in Kenya due to limited resources. He emphasized the importance of laws and regulations in the constitution to manage and protect the environment. Addressing environmental quality should be both an individual and collective effort.
Lorenzo Fioramonti, Former Education Minister, Italy.
Mr. Fioramonti shared his experience encouraging students to strike for better education. He highlighted the difficulty of changing school curricula but stressed the importance of introducing environmental sustainability as an experiential subject. Investing in education is crucial for building a strong economy, with children being fundamental ambassadors of change.
Ginger Potter, Senior Education Specialist, Environmental Protection Agency – USA.
Ms. Potter addressed the challenge of environmental education not being mandated by the constitution in the USA, leading to only half of the states incorporating it into their curriculum. She emphasized the need for government investment and laws to ensure every student learns about the environment, framing it as a national security issue.

WEEC kicks off with great success and will continue until February 2, 2024. The World Environmental Education Congress represents a crucial catalyst for inspiring, empowering, and embracing the new economy, continuing to play a fundamental role in promoting a sustainable future through environmental education.

The programme of WEEC2024: everything you need to know

The 12th World Environmental Education Congress in Abu Dhabi, from January 29 to February 2, 2024 is about to be an incredibly meaningful and exciting experience for all Environmental Education enthusiasts attending. 5 days of presentations, discussions,  learning and networking opportunities, educational field trips and much more: we are looking forward to meeting in the capital city of the UAE in the name of sustainability. Let’s delve into this rich and articulate programme: here’s everything you need to know before the 12th WEEC Congress.

The Congress Sessions
During the congress, 287 sessions will take place. This number includes both plenary and parallel sessions: the former being important collective moments of discussions with some of the most esteemed personalities in the EE field, such as the opening session with Secretary General of WEEC Network, Mario Salomone and Secretary General of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri; the latters comprising all of the different sessions where delegates will present their abstracts and works. The Parallel Sessions are divided into the four thematic groups: the Challenges, the Goals, the Dimensions and the Means. 

YEEC Congress
The Youth Environmental Education Conference (YEEC) is a dedicated program for participants aged 13–30 from around the world. Aligned with the WEEC Congress, this unique platform caters to youth interested in environmentalism, categorizing them into three groups: Youngsters (13–17 years), Young Adults (18–21 years), and Young Professionals (22–30 years). Here, participants have the opportunity to express their thoughts, articulate ideas, and contribute new energies to discussions on environmental education and sustainability. This setting also facilitates networking and connections with fellow environmental enthusiasts from various countries.

Honourable Speakers
In the history of the WEEC Congress, our network has consistently had the honor of hosting distinguished personalities in the field who share their insights with the Congress audience. This year is no exception: our esteemed panel of Honourable Speakers will provide unique and significant perspectives on Environmental Education throughout the entire duration of the Congress. The lineup includes young and passionate activists like Elizabeth Wathuti, esteemed and recognized professionals such as Lorenzo Fioramonti, influential authors like Gunter Pauli, and renowned artists like Ricki Kej. This diverse and eclectic group of speakers will shed light on the importance of environmentalism and education across various fields and sectors

Side events
Book launches, interactive activities, workshops, and engaging dialogues with other environmental organizations—these Side Events at WEEC2024 form a vibrant platform that illuminates the collaborative endeavors of diverse global organizations in the field of environmental education. The lineup of speakers, including students, spans across different regions and represents academia, intergovernmental bodies, governments, national and international institutions, and schools. This convergence serves the purpose of showcasing and celebrating the multifaceted initiatives undertaken to promote environmental education and awareness on a global scale.

Educational Field Trips
Integrating theory with hands-on experiences, the educational field trips during WEEC2024 offer an exciting opportunity to explore the diverse landscapes and environmental education landmarks in and around Abu Dhabi. Participants can tailor their experience by selecting from a variety of morning, afternoon, or full-day activities to actively engage in environmental education. Options include visits to breathtaking sights such as the Jubail Mangrove Park or Samaliya Island, or delving into the country’s efforts to preserve local flora and fauna at places like the Yas SeaWorld Research & Rescue Centre. Each field trip promises to be a thrilling and informative experience, contributing to the overall impact of WEEC2024 and ensuring it becomes an unforgettable educational journey for all participants.

Abstract Submission Deadline postponed to Septemebr 15, 2023

The deadline for the abstract submission of the 12th World Enviromental Education Congress has been postponed by the Socio – Scientific Committee to September 15, 2023!

The decision to extend the Call for Abstract for 2 extra weeks has been taken by the Committees after receiving a great amount of abstracts from all over the world; witnessing the great response from EE experts and people interested in taking part in the WEEC Congress, the SSC agreed to give more time to new potential abstract submitters in order to increase the participation at the Congress and make it an even more incredible and meaningful experience as it already promises to be.

Send your abstract today! If approved, your work will be presented and discussed during the sessions of WEEC 2024 in Abu Dhabi, together with all the other works submitted by attendees from all over the world.
One of the 10 themes must be the central argument of your abstract, in order to spark discussion on the role of EE today and in the challenges of the future.

Your work can be submitted as an oral presentation, as a poster or Pecha Kucha format, or can be structured as a more interactive workshop experience or a round table discussion.

Mediterranean Solutions at IUCN Congress

Under the leadership of the MAVA foundation, the organisations ACCOBAMS, Conservatoire du Littoral, Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation, MedPAN, MedWet, The MedFund, Tour du Valat, UNEP/MAP-SPA/RAC, UNEP/MAP-Plan Bleu and WWF Mediterranean gather at the IUCN Congress to present the current challenges, accomplishments, new initiatives and collaborative work which are taking place in the Mediterranean region.

Each of these organisations harnesses different skills, operational structures and approaches. However, they all share the same goal: to kickstart a nature-based recovery across the Mediterranean, and get on course for a sustainable, equitable future that balances economic growth and the health of the natural world.

Two seminal reports published in 2020, The State of the Environment and Development (SoED) report, and the First Mediterranean Assessment Report (MAR 1) on climate and environmental change in the Mediterranean basin, shed light on the impacts of the triple crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution on the Mediterranean.

During the 6 days, the sessions at the Mediterranean stand explore solutions to the key environmental issues in the region, including Nature-based solutions, inclusive processes to support inclusivity and effective and equitable governance, as well as an analysis of the current funding landscape.

This is the first hybrid IUCN Congress in-person and virtual environmental event since the pandemic began, the Mediterranean stand will provide streaming service for most of the live events scheduled by this innovative collaboration.


For further details read here

or IUCN World Conservation Congress website

Download the brochure here

For further enquiries, please contact Arantxa Cendoya at arantxa.cendoya@iucn.org

Building bridges for all: Jan Cincera and Mario Salomone present the 11 WEEC 2022

We are glad to invite you to the 11th World Environmental Education Congress (WEEC) in Prague, Czech Republic.

The 11th WEEC is about building bridges: between different approaches to environmental education and education for sustainable development, across international boundaries, between formal, nonformal, informal, and community education, and between researchers and practitioners around the world.

Here, Jan Cincera from Masaryk University and Mario Salomone, WEEC Secretary General present the next Congress!

The 11th WEEC is organized by Masaryk University (Czech Republic), AIM Group International, and WEEC Network, in cooperation with Charles University, Ministry of the Environment (Czech Republic) and by more than 20 Czech organizations and more than 60 researchers, practitioners, or institutions worldwide.

We remind you that abstract submission close 31 August 2021.

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Incredible Impacts, the WEEC into the winners shortlist

The WEEC Network is in the final shortlist of 12 entries for the 2018 Incredible Impacts Programme organised by BestCities Global Alliance and the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).
The Incredible Impacts Programme celebrates the ‘beyond tourism’ value of international association meetings to create a powerful platform to advocate their positive societal impact. A panel of independent judges from the association world will determine three meetings that have shown the greatest impact, and award grants of USD 7,500 on behalf of BestCities and ICCA.
Shortlisted associations represent a broad range of sectors including leadership; scientific innovation; humanitarianism; environmental issues; music; disease; disability, and child neglect.

Paul Vallee, Managing Director of BestCities said: “The Incredible Impacts Programme is a showcase of global excellence of lasting legacies within the meetings and events industry. We have been overwhelmed by the work submitted, which demonstrates the breadth of impact being delivered by associations. A core goal of BestCities is to nurture and develop the purpose of events beyond traditional planning, focusing on vital areas including legacy development, sustainability and accessibility. It is hugely encouraging to see these values being replicated by associations the world over, who are making lasting contributions to the destinations they visit.”

Dennis Speet, ICCA Interim CEO, added: “This is the second edition of the Incredible Impacts Programme and the quality of legacy projects we have received is truly astounding. The variety of industries represented in the submissions demonstrates the wide-ranging and deeply positive impact that the work of international associations has when it comes to finding solutions to societal challenges. We hope that this year’s superb entries inspire other associations and meeting planners to consider how they can create a legacy with their meetings and leave a long-lasting impact on their host destinations.”

The final judging will now take place with the winners to be announced after 10 September 2018.
With the WEEC Network the final shortlist includes: Soroptimist International. The International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. European Association for Palliative Care. International Council on Social Welfare. Down Syndrome International. African Women in Leadership Organisation. International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation.  International Actuarial Association. The International Society for Music Education. Society for Ecological Restoration. Union for International Cancer Control.

Support the Bat Congress

The Second Latin American and Caribbean Bat Congress (COLAM), will be held at the Hotel Decameron (El Salvador) during the dates of November 20-23, 2017.
It is being convened by the Latin American and Caribbean Network for Bats Conservation (RELCOM), The Bat Conservation Program of El Salvador (PCMES) and Asociación Territorios Vivos El Salvador (ATVES).
COLAM has been conceived by RELCOM as the main international forum for scientific exchange and dialogue on bat conservation experiences in the region, which is developed every three years. On August 2014 in Quito, Ecuador, El Salvador was chosen to host the Second COLAM. The slogan of this second congress is “A decade for the conservation of bats” as a commemoration of the 10 years of hard work for benefits of bats in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Support the Congress .The support will be used to reduce the costs of the event and the participants, especially those from students of the region.

First Circular IICOLAM 2017 EN

Mario Salomone: conclusion of the 8th Congress, and announcement of the 9th

Dear participants, during these days we heard speeches, presentations, debates, we talked a lot each other.

As panelist and many participants have been underlined, we experienced the crucial importance of a regular and continuous keeping in touch, to improve relationships, and to update our information on the policies at international and national level.
In other words, we experienced the importance of the WEEC meetings and of a worldwide network of all actors, public and private, nonprofit and profit.

The congress has certainly been a success and I have to congratulate with all local organizers for the high quality of the contents and for the efficient and the effective organization.
I warmly thank the City of Gothenburg, the Gothenburg and the Chalmers universities, the GMV Center for Environment and Sustainability, and the MCI, also on behalf of all participants and of the worldwide environmental education community.

Many thanks also to the staff and the volunteers for their professional commitment and kind collaboration.

The congress has also been fruitfully in promoting initiatives. A lot of dynamics moving towards thematic committees were born as financial education, water education, and many others.

In particular I’m very glad to announce that Ibero-American Women for Environment Network, integrated by women from all over the world, became a women international network inside WEEC community.
I think it is a historical step in our path.

These facts show that we are growing and this congress, as the previous one in Marrakech (Morocco), organized by the Mohammed VI Foundation for the environment, and the Marrakech Declaration, has been very important, and it is necessary to go on working between a congress and the following.

It means to build a network able to face the world changes.
Any day we have to defend the Earth, the commons, the people and the other living species combined in the biodiversity.

Research can help to move towards action, common campaigns can help, empowerment initiatives can help, tools developed together can help, and strongest partnerships can help.

So, I remind you the importance of joining and of supporting the WEEC network.

I invite news countries, new institutions, new civil society organization to join the WEEC network.

I encourage all of you to use the website and the WEEC newsletter for spreading proposals and news.

I remind you that the call for hosting the 10th WEEC is open.

I remind also the European participants the Third pan-European days of EE in Barcelona, on 1st and 2nd October.

An now, chers amis et chères amies, queridos amigos y queridas amigas, dear friends coming here from all over the world, it is for me a great pleasure and a great honor to invite the organizers of the 9th Congress in 2017 to present the hosting city and institution organizing the congress.

The organizer body is the IEL, Institute for Environmental Learning at Simon Frazer University. The hosting city will be Vancouver, Canada.
I’m sure that the 9th WEEC will be an extraordinary and beautiful congress, the first WEEC of our new deal of the network.
Many wishes from me and from all of us. Now I will give the ground to our Vancouver friends, I welcome.

WEEC Secretary General Mario Salomone’s Speech Open Ceremony

Thank to you all, to the local committees of previous congresses and to the International Permanent Secretary’s constant action, the world congresses WEEC are celebrating their 10th anniversary of meeting and the 7th world congress here in Marrakech.
We can say that by now the world congress WEEC are the most attended and abiding meeting in this field.
The congresses that have been realised until now have given universities, schools, associations, networks, small and big parks, museums, institutions, local communities, enterprises, etc., the opportunity to present their experiences.
This world congress in Marrakech will be a precious opportunity to know each other, to share, to create networks and to sign agreements, which can strengthen local, regional and international initiatives in the future.
When we meet face to face, we are not just sharing some ideas or some scientific researches, but also energies : meeting centralizes the energies, increases the energies.
Thus, I hope that this congress allows us to make a new step forward and to start a new phase, which will have an important stage during the next and 8th WEEC in 2015.
The extent of participation and the large number of theoretical and research contributions presented are the premise and promise that this will be possible: they will give us a comprehensive view of the overall situation, with its strengths and weaknesses, enthusiasms and limitations.
Among other things, the upcoming end of the UN Decade presents us with the challenge and responsibility to take advantage of the results the UN gave us in order to bring a sustainable future.

As we know, humanity is facing the challenge of ensuring a fair and sustainable  development.  The social, economic, environmental and politic levers are strongly linked and interdependent.
From a social point of view: humanity has the right to education for everybody, to equal opportunities between men and women, to children’s rights respect, to health and job for everybody.
From a political point of view : human beings have the right to a democratic society based on freedom, solidarity and equality values.
From an economic point of view: humanity must fight against hunger and poverty, ensure people’s food autonomy, and find out a new agricultural, industrial and urban development.
From an environmental point of view: as humanity must face the climate change, the biodiversity’s lost, resources’ waste, it is responsible for the protection of ecosystems’ balances and of every living being on the planet, as well as for the protection of landscapes et local cultures.

So, the priorities are the fight against the climate change, the biodiversity’s preservation, helping the farmers, the fight against urbanisation, the reduction of pollution’s effects on health and the responsible use of natural resources.
These environmental aims represent the levers of another economy, because they foster innovation and spirit of entrepreneurship.

The environmental education fundamentally contributes to the transition to a “greener” society providing us with an integrated approach to all human activities, to the problems that those activities create and for the well-being of population and to our planet’s health.
Education can contribute to create networks among all involved actors.
We must increase the opportunities to meet and debate. We have to exchange experiences, be coordinated: public, international, national, local institutions, civil society, businesses, forces that are active in their diversity, both in the public and in the private sector.  This effort must contribute to the progress of methodologies, to the enrichment and to the diffusion of the pedagogic tools, to the structures’ improvement.
This is our commitment and it’s with this commitment that I will conclude my greetings, thanking everybody again and wishing you a fruitful, cordial, pleasant congress.
Thank you.

Mario Salomone, 9th June 2013