Climate Change Key-Words Cloud. Courtesy colourbox.com
On September 25th, 2015, countries adopted a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda. Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years.  

From 16th - 20th January 2017, the Nile Basin Discourse (NBD) held virtual discussions on the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13, which requires signatories to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. The virtual discussion was focused on getting on-the-ground views towards Indicator1, (i.e. “Number of countries that have integrated mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning into primary, secondary and tertiary curricula”), of Target 3 (i.e. Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning). The aim of the discussion was to examine the extent to which indicator 1 of target 3 of the SDG 13, was being implemented at national levels and the role the civil society organizations (CSOs) are playing to influence implementation of the target through advocacy in the ten Nile Basin countries namely Burundi, D.R Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

The virtual discussion participants included the NBD Network of experts on climate within the Nile Basin countries, the NBD Board members, the National Discourse Forums’ (NDFs)-Technical Support Experts, selected members and partners of the Nile Basin Discourse.

Participants also discussed the role of CSOs in awareness-raising towards enhancement of the Governments efforts in fast-tracking Target 3 of Goal 13. The discussions cantered especially on the CSOs’ influence of the speed of implementation of the SDG at the learning institutions and the advocacy for the beyond institution outreach to grassroots communities.  According to the participants, there was low level of involvement by civil society organizations in the implementation of the awareness-raising element of target3 of goal13. It was therefore agreed, that CSOs fill the gap of educating the community on climate change impact, mitigation and early warning signs by forging a strong partnership with Governments of the Nile Basin Countries, as a plausible way to ensure the efficient and effective implementation of SDG13 – Target 3.

The integration of climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning into primary, secondary and tertiary curricula and their implementation was viewed as fundamental to guarantee success of the target. In addition, the capacity and skills of University lecturers, School teachers, and other community educators is equally vital to the development of human capital required for the successful achievement of target3 and indicator1 under discussion.

In Summary, the emerging issues from the discussions were: (i) that for some of the Nile Basin countries, the target was being intergraded in the national plans, however the implementation process needed fast-tracking, (ii) that despite the fact that the target was being considered and integrated into National plans, there was lack of a metric system to measure the success of the target, and (iii) that there was need for national and trans-boundary outreach programs beyond the learning institutions to grassroots communities that could be enhanced by advocacy and capacity building activities to enhance the awareness –raising.

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