Successful climate change adaptation and mitigation require appropriate knowledge, skills and behavior change that education can provide. Specifically, education can enable individuals and communities to make informed decisions and take action for climate resilient sustainable development.

Policymakers have not fully engaged the education sector, even though existing climate change frameworks are in place that could utilize education as a mitigation and adaptation strategy. For example, two major climate treaties, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol, have articles calling on governments to support education for climate change.

This is complemented by the focus on education and knowledge as a priority for risk reduction within the Hyogo Framework for Action: Building the Resilience of Communities and Nations to Disasters, 2005-2015. Therefore, the tools are in place, but what is missing is a clear and coherent articulation of how to do this. Ignoring the education sector has negative consequences for practical work being carried out to combat climate change and fulfilling the commitment to the UNFCCC.

For instance, there are few mechanisms in place at the country level to support the development and funding of education activities within existing national climate change committees. In the global education community, several stakeholders, such as UNESCO, UNEP and UNICEF, are incorporating components of the climate change agenda in education and helping schools and communities integrate climate change education and environmental stewardship into the curricula.

Organization, like Save the Children and ActionAid, are focused on building the skills of communities and learners to adapt to climate change through integrating risk reduction in education curricula and systems. At regional and international levels, networks and interagency platforms, such as the Asia Preparedness Disaster Center, the Global Coalition for School Safety and Disaster Prevention Education, the IASC Education Cluster, the Children in a Changing Environment coalition, and the ISDR Thematic Platform on Knowledge and Education, are focused on sharing lessons learned and codifying them in programming tools focused on risk reduction through education.

However, this education work remains ad hoc and is not yet widely recognized by nor integrated into the efforts of the climate change community.