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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.

Nature in Mind, international conference in Rome

Nature in Mind, an international conference promoted by the Italian Carabinieri brought together voices from all over the world and from every sector. From Pope Francis to the President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella, high-level interventions and networking. Wide presence of the WEEC network

Nature in Mind: the value of biodiversity

“By Leaves We Live”
“This is a green world, with animals comparatively few and small, and all dependent on
the leaves. By leaves we live. Some people have strange ideas that they live by money.
They think energy is generated by the circulation of coins. Whereas the world is mainly a
vast leaf colony, growing on and forming a leafy soil, not a mere mineral mass: and we
live not by the jingling of our coins, but by the fullness of our harvests.”
(Sir Patrick Geddes, 1854-1932)

On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Convention for Biological Diversity, signed on May 22 nd, 1992 in Rio de Janeiro,  Italian environmental police force, in collaboration with WEEC Network,  wants to celebrate, with a 2-day International Conference – Nature in mind – the value of biodiversity in the name of a greener and more sustainable future. 

International Day for Biological Diversity is the occasion to reflect on our responsibilities towards the environment and to consider the possibility of creating a new culture of nature.
The scientific comprehension of natural processes and the new awareness about the importance of the compliance of our behaviours with the law are two equally important and strictly integrated elements which aim at the conservation of nature.

Environmental education thus becomes education to environmental “legality”: a set of knowledge that becomes “culture”, environmental culture, that has to represent the fundamental part of the most deeply rooted education of citizenship, necessary to build a better future for the next generations.

The Conference Nature in Mind, which will be held in a mixed form (in person and remotely), will address various topics thanks to the interventions of distinguished Italian and international speakers
following the ideal path of seven Sessions:

  1. Opening Session
  2. One Health – Nature and Well-being
  3. At the Nature School
  4. Education and Nature
  5. School, city, territory
  6. Education, infosphere, mass culture and Nature
  7. Voices from the world

For the registration, have a look here.


11WEEC. The WEEC Network at the service of all environmental educators

Dear all,

The 11th World Environmental Education Congress (“Building bridges”), scheduled in Prague (Czech Republic) in October 2021, is postponed to 14-18 March 2022.

Many countries are facing a wave of Covid-19 and are seriously affected. We are all aware of the situation humankind is facing. The pandemic frightens and builds a community of destiny besides the climate community of destiny, and at the same time enhance inequalities and poverty. It at the same time underlines both the need for a healthy nature and a safe environment and redesigns social, political, and economic systems. For environmental education, it means to cross more and more the road of peace, social and environmental justice, and human rights.

These two crises -as we know- are indeed interconnected, even though the first one often holds the spotlight to the prejudice of the second. Therefore, we are obliged to postpone the 11th WEEC, but with the omen of a growing interest in the environment and possible positive signals of change in policies, counting on the increasing centrality of our aims and our issues, more and more critical, and an environmental and sustainability education more and more strategic.

The 11th WEEC will be an excellent opportunity for meeting people and supporting their cooperation. While we will organize most of WEEC in the real world, it will be possible to attend online plenary and thematic sessions and to present online papers or workshops. Still, I hope that most of the participants will be able to come to Prague. At the same time, those who cannot arrive will have a meaningful option to attend at a distance.

So, I invite you to prepare from now your participation in the 11th WEEC in 2022, but at the same time to enhance collaboration networking, commitment.

The WEEC Network, its website, newsletter, social media, relationships are at the service of all environmental practitioners, researchers or teachers, in sum, at the benefit of all environmental educators (formal, non-formal and informal).

Warmest regards

Mario Salomone
WEEC Network Secretary-General

WEEC: the idea of a strongest and best organized network is welcomed

The Permanent Secretariat has consulted those who have already joined the network by endorsing the Charter of Principles. The question asked was about the future developments and in particular on the choice to make the network more formal and “institutionalized”.

The vast majority said “Yes” to the formal subscription to the international network. Only 1 per cent, in fact, didn’t agree to formally subscribe and 10% said that “do not know” and that “want to think or understand more and / or consult his organization. “All the others are ready to join as individuals (40%), as individuals and as an organization (32%) or organization (17%).

The same percentage (89%) was recorded for those interested in participating in a coordination at continent or sub-continent level.
Almost everyone, finally, is interested in contributing to the work of “Permanent Research Committees.”

10 Years of WEEC