Improving Resilience, Adaptation and Mitigation to Climate Change Through Education in Low- and Lower-middle Income Countries 

31st March 2022
Author: Rachael Fitzpatrick

Climate resilience is the ability to anticipate, prepare for, and respond to hazardous events, trends, or disturbances related to climate (C2ES, 2022). Mitigation focuses on reducing the human impacts contributing to climate change (Burton, 2007, cited in Rousell & Cutter-Mackenzie-Knowles, 2020). Adaptation is about increasing people’s adaptive capacity, reducing the vulnerability of communities and managing risks (Anderson, 2012). Anderson further defines adaptation as not just being able to adapt from one stable climate to another but having the skills to adapt to uncertainty and make informed decisions in a changing environment. While ‘climate change’ is the term used throughout these briefs, it should be read as a shorthand for a more inclusive approach, which also captures associated environmental degradation. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned, in their latest report, that global surface temperatures will continue to increase until 2050 (IPCC, 2021, p. 17). This will take place regardless of human intervention to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The report also warns that the traditional technocratic approaches are insufficient to tackle the challenge of climate change, and that greater focus on the structural causes is needed. High- and upper-middle-income countries have been persistently shown to be the biggest contributors to the global carbon dioxide emissions, with lower income countries facing the most disruptive climate hazards, with Africa countries particularly vulnerable (CDP, 2020; IPCC, 2021). The vulnerability of low-income contexts exacerbates this risk, as there is often insufficient infrastructure and resources to ensure resilience to climate hazards (IPCC, 2021). For decades, advocates of climate change education have been highlighting the potential of education to help mitigate against climate change, and support adaptation efforts. However, implementation has been patchy, with inconsistent approaches and a lack of evidence to help determine the most effective way forward.This paper is divided into three sections, drawing together evidence on the key aspects of system reform,green and resilient infrastructure and Curriculum, pedagogy, assessment and teacher development.

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Suggested Citation

Fitzpatrick, R. and West, H. (2022). Improving resilience, adaptation and mitigation to climate change through education in low- and lower-middle income countries. K4D Helpdesk Report. Institute of Development Studies.DOI.10.19088/K4D.2022.083


31st March 2022


Continent: Global