CLIMATE CHANGE COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATION
2. Climate change education and training in the country
3. Climate change communication in the country
i. Climate change context
Pakistan is a low-middle-income country with a fast-growing population of 220.9 million people and is among the most affected countries by climate change. The agricultural sector is Pakistan’s largest employer, with 42.6% of the workforce. Pakistan is located along the Indus River, which often floods severely during the monsoon season. The country has diverse topography, ecosystems, and climate zones. According to the World Bank, Pakistan is set to experience extreme climate events that will increase uncertainty in water resources and disaster risks and amplify pressure on health, livelihoods, and ecosystems. The sector most vulnerable to climate change is agriculture.
Pakistan is a semi-industrialized country, primarily agriculture-based, that has experienced a shift toward a service-based economy. According to the Global Carbon Atlas, Pakistan emitted 1.1 t CO2 per person as of 2020.
The 2nd National Communication (2018) identifies the energy sector as the leading greenhouse gas emitter, with a 45.5% share of Pakistan’s total, followed by the agriculture sector with a 42.7% share. To save vulnerable communities from climate change-induced effects, the 2nd National Communication highlights that the federal government has taken steps toward greening, renewable energy, and phasing out single-use plastics. The World Bank states that Pakistan’s poor and minority groups are highly vulnerable to climate change. It projects that between 2035 and 2044 the number of highly vulnerable people could increase by about 5 million, especially the number exposed to extreme river floods.
Pakistan is a low-emitting Non Annex-I country under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Pakistan joined the Framework in 1992 and ratified it in 1994. Pakistan then ratified the Kyoto Protocol in 2005 and the Paris Agreement in 2016, and accepted the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol in 2017.
ii. Relevant government agencies
Pakistan is a federation of four provinces. Climate change is under the jurisdiction of the provincial governments, according to the 18th Amendment of the Constitution (2010). However, the national government coordinates responsibilities such as providing directives to formulate policy relating to climate change and monitoring climate efforts, through a range of plans and policies, with support from provincial governments. At the time of this review, Pakistan had not yet identified a United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) focal point.
The Ministry of Climate Change, established in 2012, is in charge of climate change concerns at the national level and coordinates policy and operational activities of provincial entities. The Ministry’s vision is to mainstream climate change in economically and socially vulnerable sectors and to steer Pakistan toward climate-resilient development through collaborating with other government authorities, research institutions, universities, and private sector organizations. It is also responsible for supervising linked departments and implementation agencies. The Minister for Climate Change is the special assistant to the Prime Minister on climate change.
The Climate Finance Unit, under the Ministry of Climate Change, is responsible for coordinating and facilitating global climate finance opportunities and matters related to the Green Climate Fund (the largest global fund established to support developing countries in achieving their national ambitions under the Paris Agreement). The Unit’s objectives are to secure partnerships in line with Pakistan’s national priorities, enhance the capacity of stakeholders, and promote awareness for implementation of Pakistan’s climate change policy and its overall implementation framework effectively and sustainably. The Unit also produces economic survey reports of Pakistan with a dedicated chapter on climate change.
The Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency and the Global Change Impact Studies Centre are departments within the Ministry of Climate Change. The Environmental Protection Agency provides information and guidance to the public on environmental matters and promotes sustainable development. The Government of Pakistan established the Global Change Impact Studies Centre to conduct research related to climate change in Pakistan. The Centre is the Secretariat to the Prime Minister’s Committee on Climate Change. The Centre focuses on climate challenges and their socioeconomic impacts across Pakistan. It conducts research for policy makers and planners and assists in national-level policy making related to climate change.
The Pakistan Meteorological Department provides climate information to the public and projects throughout Pakistan, such as changes in climate and weather phenomena and future climate projections and adaptation options in different sectors, with the aim of mitigating disasters.
The Pakistan Scientific and Technological Information Centre is a scientific & technological organization that provides resources to support research for sustainable socioeconomic development. The Centre hosts scientific and technical knowledge databases, including research articles on climate change and energy. The Centre also conducts awareness seminars on issues related to the natural environment.
Other ministries work on the issues of climate change through cross-cutting research, including the Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of National Food Security & Research, Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Energy, and Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation, and Coordination.
According to the 2nd National Communication (2018), the Prime Minister’s Committee on Climate Change was established in 2018 as an overarching body to monitor climate change-related developments in Pakistan and globally. The Committee is also the apex body for climate change-related decision making in Pakistan, providing the highest level of strategic guidance and a platform to coordinate efforts for climate change decision making across Pakistan. It is headed by the Prime Minister and includes federal ministers of planning and development, finance, power, food security, water resources, and climate change, plus provincial chief ministers. The specific role of this inter-ministerial committee is to oversee implementation of the National Climate Change Policy (2021) across the federating units and to ensure an enabling environment for integrated climate-compatible development.
Education and communication
In Pakistan several agencies at the federal and provincial levels are responsible for managing climate change communication and education. These agencies focus on climate change issues on varying levels.
The Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training is the agency responsible for creating policies, plans, and programs to ensure accessibility and availability of education in Pakistan. In July 2011, the Education Department of Pakistan was decentralized and transferred to provincial governments under the 18th Amendment of the Constitution (2010).
The National Curriculum Council, under the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training, is a professional, advisory, and national consultative body that steers and guides curriculum development in close collaboration with all federating units. The Council is responsible for developing the national framework, textbooks, and standards for quality education. While the Government of Pakistan has announced the introduction of climate change as a subject in the curriculum of schools in Islamabad. We found no further information about the subject when preparing this report.
The National Education Assessment System is an entity under the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training to promote quality learning among children of Pakistan. The System’s objectives include informing policies and monitoring standards on how the curricula are translated into knowledge and skills development. The System also assists teachers in enhancing students’ educational performance.
The Academy of Educational Planning & Management, another entity under the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training, that collects and consolidates educational statistics, provide pre-service training to educators, carries out action-oriented studies, and provides expert advice to provincial education departments. The Academy has not included environment and climate change indicators in their studies thus far.
The Federal Board of Intermediate & Secondary Education, an autonomous body of the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training, collaborates with Boards of Education on progressively attaining national aims and objectives. It oversees higher and secondary-level education in Pakistan.
The National Vocational & Technical Training Commission is the apex body at the national level for technical & vocational training (TVET). It regulates, facilitates, sets skills standards, accredits, provides policy direction, enforces curricula, oversees trades testing, certifies skills, and develops skilled human resources. The Commission takes steps to improve the TVET landscape in Pakistan and enhances employment for youth, contributing to national productivity and development. The Commission implements the Prime Minister’s National Skills for All Strategy as a catalyst for TVET sector development in Pakistan. Under this Strategy, technical training is imparted to unskilled youth across the country.
The Inter Board Committee of Chairmen exchanges information and evaluates standards across Educational Boards in Pakistan, up to higher secondary level, to achieve uniformity and curricula standards and to make recommendations to the government.
The Higher Education Commission is an autonomous organization constitutionally established to oversee, regulate, and accredit higher education. The Commission tracks documents on climate change and is involved in organizing round-tables on climate change to strengthen the role of universities through research.
The National Institute of Disaster Management was established to help Pakistan become disaster resilient by building capacity to respond to and prepare for disasters. The Institute has a vital role in disaster and climate change education and is a focal point for training, awareness, research, and education. The institute provides training and research services on disaster risk management to people in Pakistan’s public and private sectors.
iii. Relevant laws, policies, and plans
The Pakistan Environmental Protection Act came into force in 1997. It focuses on conserving the environment and promoting sustainable development. The Act does not mention climate change.
To meet Pakistan’s obligations under international conventions relating to climate change, and to address the effects of climate change, the Pakistan Climate Change Act was enacted in 2017. The Act establishes the Pakistan Climate Change Council, headed by the Prime Minister, to coordinate, supervise, and monitor climate related interventions and plans across Pakistan. The Act stresses promoting the integration of different aspects of climate change within formal education curricula. The Act also establishes the Pakistan Climate Change Authority, but information about progress on this Authority is not available publicly. The Act also envisages the establishment of a Pakistan Climate Change Fund. The Pakistan Climate Change Act (2017) established which Ministries are responsible to 1) monitor implementation of international agreements; 2) approve and monitor implementation of comprehensive adaptation and mitigation policies, strategies, plans, programs, and projects; 3) monitor implementation of Pakistan’s National Adaptation Plan; and 4) protect and conserve renewable and non-renewable resources, species, and habitats.
To set the national environmental agenda and pursue sustainable development, the National Environmental Action Plan was formulated in 2001 as an umbrella program to address environmental concerns and alleviate poverty holistically. The second phase of the action plan (2007) focused on climate change as one of four core thematic programs for national-level interventions. Climate change initiatives include strengthening relevant government institutions’ organizational and technical capacities and developing policies on cross-cutting environmental concerns, including air, water, and forestry.
The National Environmental Policy (2005) aims to protect, conserve, and restore Pakistan’s environment from problems that include climate change, to improve citizens’ quality of life through sustainable development. The Policy emphasizes introducing and incorporating climate change and environmental planning, focusing on disaster risk reduction across all formal education levels. The Policy also mentions steps to address the problem of climate change through implementing different policies and frameworks.
The 2012 National Climate Change Policy aimed to “Develop/introduce curriculum on climate change and environmental planning with particular emphasis on Disaster Risk Reduction and introduce it into the formal education system at all levels, particularly into the higher education system” (p. 31). For example, Objective 2 for reducing threats of climate change to Pakistan’s water resources is “To increase awareness to adapt to changing water resource situation due to climate change” (p. 12). Strategy 2.1 to achieve this objective is “Enhancing public awareness to underscore the importance of conservation and sustainable use of water resources.” Short-term Action 1.2.5 to realize this Strategy was to add the importance of conservation and sustainable use of water resources to schools and madaras’ 1 curriculum. As a second example, Objective 4 for reducing threats of climate change to Pakistan’s forests is “To intensify mass awareness and build capacities of institutions and professionals on climate change adaptation” (p. 37). Strategy 4.1 to achieve this Objective is “Raising awareness among general public, forest communities and enhancing capacities of forest professionals on forestry and climate change adaptation.” Action 4.1.5 to realize the Strategy is to “Develop curricula on forest ecosystem, biodiversity and their relevance to climate change and introduce them at all levels of schooling.” An Action for reducing threats to critical infrastructure is to “Include disaster management as a discipline in the curriculum of universities” (p. 41).
Building on the earlier 2012 National Climate Change Policy, Pakistan also has a Framework for Implementation of Climate Change Policy (2014–2030) (2013). This Framework charts priority short-term, medium-term, and long-term actions for sector-specific interventions, such as water, disaster preparedness, and energy, to tackle the negative impacts of climate change.
The National Forest Policy (2016) addresses the sustainable use of renewable natural resources. It acknowledges the multiple functions of Pakistan’s forests, such as carbon storage for climate change mitigation.
In response to Pakistan’s high vulnerability to climate change, the government has created an updated National Climate Change Policy (2021). The Policy aims to ensure sustained economic growth by mainstreaming climate change across vulnerable sectors and steering Pakistan toward climate-resilient and low-carbon development. The Policy will meet these goals through a comprehensive framework to address the climate issues faced by Pakistan and combat future risks. The Policy is a ‘living’ document planned to be reviewed and updated to incorporate emerging climate change concepts and issues. The Policy focuses equally on adaptation and mitigation.
Pakistan submitted its updated Nationally Determined Contributions to UNFCCC in December 2021. The Contributions highlight Pakistan’s high-priority actions to transition toward a climate-resilient economy and align the government’s commitments with its national vision for climate change for a sustainable, low-carbon, and climate-resilient Pakistan. The updated Contributions are built on Pakistan’s climate policy and framework developments and significantly identify climate change’s socioeconomic dimensions and economic costs.
Education and communication
The National Education Policy (2017) is founded on holistic development and on recognizing education as a tool for protecting the environment. This revised Policy focuses on expanding education access to fulfill international commitments, building capacity of education personnel, and implementing strategies on critical issues like environmental education and increased knowledge on climate change through research and development initiatives. The Policy aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals to contribute to a sustainably developing society. The Policy also sets goals of strengthening Pakistan “by making it a literate country and enhancing the participation of masses in decision making at various levels” (2017, p. 40).
Recognizing that education contributes to socioeconomic development, the National Education Policy Framework (2018) put forward a roadmap and high standards to enhance quality education and skill development. The Framework highlights challenges in education and innovative solutions such as non-formal programs. It advises active communication campaigns for widespread raising of awareness. However, it does not include environment and climate change.
Pakistan’s National Curriculum Framework (2018) aims to evolve effective principles and productive strategies for developing curriculum, building on constitutional principles, educational policies, and expert recommendations. The Framework identifies ‘environment and climate change’ only as emerging trends. The Framework does not have a climate change education component, although it has a strong focus on critical thinking.
Building on the vision of ‘One System of Education for All,’ Pakistan is developing a Single National Curriculum to be completed in 2023 that specifies standard curriculum terms, medium of instruction, and a common platform in line with international commitments to Sustainable Development Goal 4. This Curriculum is being developed in three phases for primary, secondary, and senior secondary educational levels. The Curriculum focuses on equipping learners with principles and attributes such as truthfulness, honesty, tolerance, respect, peaceful coexistence, environmental awareness and care, democracy, human rights, sustainable development, global citizenship, personal care, and safety. It will be implemented in all schools in Pakistan, public and private.
iv. Terminology used for Climate Change Education and Communication
Climate change is primarily viewed as a disaster-causing phenomenon and is being prioritized in Pakistan’s national plans and dedicated policies. Some official documents (e.g., National Climate Change Policy (2021), National Environmental Policy (2005), Framework for Implementation of Climate Change Policy (2014–2030) (2013)) mention ‘climate change’ along with terms like ‘awareness,’ ‘capacity building,’ ‘education,’ and ‘training.’ Other national documents such as the National Education Policy (2017) and the National Curriculum Framework (2018) very briefly include the terms ‘environmental education,’ ‘disaster risk reduction,’ and ‘sustainable development.’
The National Climate Change Policy (2021) identifies gaps in climate change education and recognizes limited investment in it. The Policy pinpoints capacity building and awareness raising as crucial working areas. It states that “Public education and outreach are vitally important to create broad awareness of climate change issues and its impact” (p. 42). It defines climate action as
Tak[ing] urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. It includes several targets that aim to minimize the climate change risks. Building resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related disasters, improve education, awareness and institutional capacity on Climate Change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning are its components. (p. 25)
The National Curriculum Framework (2018) and the National Education Policy (2017) use the term ‘climate change’ only as part of emerging trends. Climate change terminology is not found in the National Education Policy Framework. The Education Policy mentions ‘sustainable development goals,’ ‘education for sustainable development,’ and ‘sustainable development’ in various contexts, but with no specific definitions. These three national documents do not mention environmental conservation or environmental education objectives.
v. Budget for climate change education and communication
Pakistan has a gross domestic product of US$ 284 billion, as highlighted in the 2021 Nationally Determined Contributions. This document also states that access to international funding is required for climate-compatible development in Pakistan and to deliver contributions. A Climate Finance Unit, under the Ministry of Climate Change, explores global climate finance opportunities.
According to 2019 data from the World Bank, the Government of Pakistan spent 2.5% of gross domestic product on education. The education sector’s share of this spending declined by 0.4% from 2017. Pakistan’s financial budget of US$ 2.5 million for environmental protection in fiscal year 2020–2021 was slightly less than the US$ 2.69 million spent in the previous fiscal year. Under the Public Sector Development Programme, the Climate Change Division was allocated US$ 28 million in fiscal year 2020–2021, much lower than the US$ 43 million allocated in 2019–2021. Awareness raising and education on climate change were 2% of the 2013–2014 budget under Programme funding (Asian Development Bank, 2017).
The 2nd National Communication (2018) states that budgetary allocations have been made at national and subnational levels to execute the Framework for Implementation of the Climate Change Policy (2014–2030) (2013). The Communication specifies that Pakistan’s need for adaptation funding is US$ 7 billion to US$ 14 billion per year. It also notes that limited investment in climate change education and lack of demand and opportunities for skilled human resources have left Pakistan with few climate change experts to handle international negotiations.
The report of the Pakistan Economic Survey (2021), produced by the Finance Division of the Government of Pakistan, indicates that the Green Climate Fund. will supply US$ 35 million from 2018 onward to transform the Indus Basin through increasing government capacity and farmers’ knowledge and skills to adapt to climate change. The Fund has also supplied US$ 37 million to reduce vulnerability of communities to climate change-induced natural disaster risks from glacial lake outburst floods, along with two projects focused on renewable energy and sustainable transport. The Report also notes four projects funded by the Global Environment Facility, but these do not focus on climate change education.
i. Climate change in pre-primary, primary, and secondary education
Pakistan’s education system was decentralized in 2011, but is steered by goals and learning outcomes defined at the central level that build around ideas of transformational change. The Pakistan Climate Change Act (2017) stresses promoting the integration of different aspects of climate change within formal educational curricula.
The National Climate Change Policy (2012) and the Framework for Implementation of the Climate Change Policy (2014–2030) (2013) recognize the importance of integrating climate change in formal education. For example, an Action under the Framework Objective of building capacities of institutions on climate change adaptation is to “Develop curricula on the forest ecosystem, biodiversity and their relevance to climate change and introduce them at all levels of schooling” (p. 37). The Framework also highlights “The importance of conservation and sustainable use of water resources be[ing] added to schools and madaras curriculum” (p. 12). A description of the types of climate change-related keywords discussed in the curricula may be found in the MECCE Project Monitoring section of this profile.
Analysis of the 2006 national syllabi reveals that the environment and its interactions with living beings and emerging issues form a mandatory part of the syllabi of General Science for grades 4 to 8, but climate change is not explicitly mentioned. However, the syllabus for Geography includes climate change under ‘Introduction to the Atmosphere’ for grade 7 and global warming under ‘Major Environmental Problems’ for grade 8. Global warming is also part of the syllabus for grade 9 (2020), under Environmental Chemistry. Topics such as global warming, the greenhouse effect, weather, and climate are also mentioned in the new syllabus for grades 11 and 12 (2020).
The Single National Curriculum developed by the government is a standard outcome-based document for each subject curriculum. It includes ‘environment and climate change’ as key considerations. The core curriculum is available for provincial governments. As per the 2021 official notification, it was introduced for grades Pre-1 to 5 in all streams of education for the academic year 2021–2022. ‘Introduction to Climate Change’ is one suggested subtheme under Environmental Education, for selected topics and teaching material content for grades 1 to 8. For instance, the Social Studies curriculum for grades 4 and 5 covers weather and climate, factors that affect climate change, and global warming. The English curriculum for grades 4 and 5 mentions ‘Introduction to Climate Change’ as a subtheme. The importance of plants for climate change is part of the General Knowledge curriculum of grade 2. The curriculum is yet to be implemented for all grades.
However, a 2021 analysis of the Single National Curriculum says that climate change topics in the General Knowledge and Social Studies curricula are limited to theoretical information. Those curricula have no emphasis on the ongoing climate crisis, mitigation/adaptation solutions, or action-oriented activities. The Early Childhood Care and Education curriculum consists of topics such as weather, seasons, and significance to humans, exploring the effects of climate change, and the role of global warming as learning outcomes under the ‘World Around Us’ theme. Climate change is only referenced as part of vocabulary for the science curriculum for grade 8. The 2021 Article says that young activists demand the inclusion of climate change as a separate subject in the curriculum.
A 2020 abstract published by Comparative and Educational Society reported that the Science, Geography, and Social Science textbooks for grades 6, 7, and 8 lack environmental and climate change-related material. The abstract sees no effective framework to update the outdated contents of school textbooks to cover climate and environmental degradation problems and provide context and strategies for climate adaptation and mitigation.
The Clean Green School Programme is an initiative jointly implemented by Pakistan’s Federal Directorate of Education, the Ministry of Climate Change, and international non-government organization Water Aid. This Programme aims for action-based learning at schools on climate literacy and environmental education in creative and meaningful ways. It was launched in 2019, under the Clean Green Pakistan Programme (2018), to expose students at 432 schools across the capital through comprehensive, activity-based, and child-friendly curricula on climate and environmental education.
Beyond these government-led initiatives, not-for-profit organizations implement climate change education in schools. For instance, World Wildlife Fund Pakistan leads a year-long Green Schools Programme that promotes ‘Green Schools’ certification for schools, with interesting activities for children. The Programme educates children about their duties and responsibilities toward environment conservation and about the role of the environment in keeping them healthy. A ‘Green Action Plan’ through Schools’ Environment Committee and ‘Green Curriculum’ is being planned under the Programme to extend climate-focused initiatives and involve school management, teachers, and students in environmental monitoring and decision making.
Recently the Federal Ministry of Climate Change announced the introduction of climate change education in the formal curriculum. However, as per media reports, the initiative will remain restricted to schools in Islamabad due to its limited mandate.
The National Climate Change Policy (2021) mentions including climate change in the school curriculum as a policy measure and suggests introducing a climate change curriculum at all levels of formal education for capacity enhancement. Pakistan’s 2nd National Communication (2018) identifies syllabus development on climate change as a critical priority to address the gaps in core science subjects that do not mention climate-related issues or establish the essential linkages to climate change. The National Curriculum Framework (2018) included ‘environment and climate change’ under emerging trends to be scoped during Framework development, but the final document does not mention climate change.
The 2021 Nationally Determined Contributions set the target of including climate change in the curriculum of all secondary schools by 2030. Under interventions for disaster management, it plans “to include relevant issues in the national curriculum and any other education material” (p. 57).
ii. Climate change in teacher training and teaching resources
Pakistan’s national policies recognize the importance of climate change education for sustainable development and identify teachers’ influential role in strengthening the education system. For example, the National Education Policy (2017) emphasizes teacher education. It recognizes that “The basic ingredient for sustainable development of the society rests with the effectiveness of its education system in which teacher is the globally recognized key factor” (p. 64). The Policy also mentions specialized teacher education programs for technical and vocational education to prepare them to teach this stream and ensure its success and sustainability. The Policy does not have a climate change focus.
Recognizing that teachers are a globally recognized vital factor for the sustainable development of society, the Ministry of Education adopted National Professional Standards for Teachers in Pakistan in 2008 as a mechanism for enhancing the effectiveness of its education system. Continuous professional development for teachers and other teaching personnel to meet new trends and innovations in teacher education is an essential part of the National Curriculum Framework (2018). However, climate change is not mentioned in the Standards.
Teacher training programs focused on climate change are mainly training and workshops led by not-for-profit organizations. For instance, to amplify teachers’ learning to transform climate knowledge for students, the Friedrich Neumann Foundation for Freedom- Pakistan (a German foundation) conducted Climate Change Teachers Training Program in 2019. The 2-day workshop to build capacity focused on conceptual understanding by teachers of climate change and improved knowledge of the changing dynamics of climate. Teachers learned about causes of environmental depletion and sustainable development values such as managing resources, promoting planting, reducing environmental pollution, abolishing single-use plastics, conserving energy, and saving non-renewable resources.
The Eco Science Foundation, a leading agency for promoting science and technology for socioeconomic development, conducted a 5-day Capacity Building Workshop for Science Teachers on Climate Change Education through inquiry-based science education pedagogy in March-April 2022. The training is designed primarily for young science teachers, especially women and teachers from marginalized areas of Pakistan, to produce a cadre of science teachers who can effectively deliver training programs on climate change education for their peers. Training topics include climate change, greenhouse effect, environmental pollution, sustainable energy and energy efficiency, adult learning, and developing competence.
The National Climate Change Policy (2021) and the Framework for Implementation of the Climate Change Policy (2014–2030) (2013) do not include teacher training programs on climate change. The 2nd National Communication (2018) and the 2021 Nationally Determined Contributions do not mention teachers or any climate-relevant programs focused on educators.
iii. Climate change in higher education
Climate change did not form a core component of the higher education programs in Pakistan at the time of this report. Pakistan adopts a research-based approach to climate change through dedicated institutions. For instance, the Master’s degree syllabus of University of Punjab’s Mountain Conservation and Watershed Management (online) and the Institute of Geographical Information Sciences syllabus for Remote Sensing and Geographical Information System include climate change as an elective course.
The National Climate Change Policy (2021) seeks to enhance technical subject knowledge and international representation on climate change for Pakistan’s higher education institutions and young professionals. The Policy mentions introducing a climate change curriculum, especially in higher education, emphasizing disaster risk reduction. The Policy also highlights the inclusion of climate change education as a compulsory subject in forestry education. It proposes establishing a federal center of excellence in forestry for international-level research and higher-level education. However, a 2020 news report mentions that Pakistan has yet to take steps to introduce climate change in its university-based degree programs and that courses in environmental studies are only available at the higher education level.
The Framework for Implementation of the Climate Change Policy (2014–2030) (2013) emphasizes research activities and setting up research departments on climate change across universities nationally, especially in agriculture, forestry, and livestock. For example, the Centre for Climate Change Research and Development, established within the COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, assesses feasibility, vulnerability, and public perceptions on emerging climate change-related issues. The Framework proposes including short-term disaster management as a discipline in the curriculum of universities.
The Clean Green Pakistan initiative of the Ministry of Climate Change focuses on inducing climate change-related behavioral change through activities in planting, waste management, sanitation, and safe drinking water. Guidelines for colleges and universities have been developed under the initiative to create a governing body and select Clean Green Scouts and Champions to lead a campaign from each university. The Champions are expected to coordinate the initiative and be an information-sharing point for campaign activities, including resource mobilization and module development on sanitation, tree planting, etc.
The National Education Policy (2017), under research and development at the tertiary level, mentions increasing research grants to discover new and useful knowledge to address critical problems such as energy, climate change, food security, and availability of adequate freshwater resources. Pakistan’s 2nd National Communication (2018) identifies gaps in climate education and the absence of climate related issues in the syllabus of higher education. It aims to introduce climate change-related scientific disciplines in leading universities to ensure a regular supply of trained human resources.
The 2021 Nationally Determined Contributions specifically includes a section on ‘Youth and Volunteer Engagement,’ with one target being to “engage with the Ministry of Education, Higher Education Commission, universities, and CSOs to propagate climate education curriculum” (p. 59). This document also discusses introducing specialized courses to colleges and universities.
iv. Climate change in training and adult learning
Training and capacity building workshops on climate change, agriculture, and disaster risk reduction are central to the climate change efforts made by the government of Pakistan. Focus is on gender-appropriate mechanisms and training for women, especially those from marginalized backgrounds.
Pakistan’s National Climate Change Policy (2021) pinpoints the need for disaster and climate change education and highlights the inclusion of compulsory training in streams such as forestry. Sensitization workshops for national policy makers and experts, based on surveys to understand the capabilities of stakeholders, are also part of the Policy.
Clean Green Pakistan, a national campaign by the government, is conducting online training courses for people about the Clean Green Pakistan Index and the Clean Green Champions Programme. The Index aims to rank cities and neighborhoods based on cleanliness and greenery indicators, while the Champions Programme encourages voluntary participation by citizens in the national effort. These courses are open to the public, and participants are awarded a completion certificate from the Federal Ministry of Climate Change for their role and contributions. An online training program on Sustainable Development Goals is also under development.
Pakistan’s civil society organizations are leading training on climate change and cross-cutting issues for building awareness. The Institute of Rural Management, the leading facility for capacity development and learning in Pakistan’s not-for-profit sector, operates an Environment & Natural Resource Management Programme that includes a Climate Change Programme focusing on climate adaptation. This country-wide Programme conducts community and youth training on disaster risk reduction, water resource management, and themes of climate change.
The Korean International Cooperative Agency, in collaboration with the International Climate and Environment Centre, conducted online training on Sustainable Water Resources Management for Climate Change in 2021. The 10-day training program involved 23 participants and was targeted to working and mid-level officials in climate change, public health, engineering, water resources, etc. It focused on water and climate change challenges, responses, and adaptation measures.
Along similar lines, the Pakistan - International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) organized short-term training on Eco-Disaster Risk Reduction and Ecosystem-based Adaptation to Climate Change (2017). Training aimed to build the capacity of representatives from government and academia and community-based organizations. It covered climate change-induced disasters, promotion of ecosystem-based approaches, and sustainable development.
Pakistan’s 2nd National Communication (2018), in line with the country’s reliance on the agricultural sector, mentions strengthening technical institutes to provide training by national and international experts on climate change and climate-smart agriculture for national, subnational, and local authorities and for farmers and extension workers. Technical training on vital vulnerable sectors, including agriculture, energy, and transport, is also planned under the 2nd National Communication for multi-disciplinary stakeholders such as government officials, farmers, workers, and technical staff. The Communication proposes developing climate change professionals through educational opportunities in geosciences, social sciences, management sciences, governance, policy formation, and implementation disciplines.
Pakistan’s Nationally Determined Contributions (2021) identifies the need to strengthen scientific and technical capacity through training programs, to reach its commitments. It places significant emphasis on capacity building and adaptive capacity for women, especially women farmers in agriculture, forestry, and renewable energy, and targeted communication for livestock management in connection to climate change impacts. The Contributions also mention development of the National Adaptation Plan through “Strengthening the capacity to coordinate and promote climate change adaptation (CCA) at systemic, institutional and individual levels, and help poor and climate vulnerable communities to adapt to climate change impact” (p. 39). One of the significant adaptation objectives under the Contributions is to “Mitigate impacts of extreme events through preparedness and capacity building of national partners on disaster preparedness” (p. 48).
i. Climate change and public awareness
The National Climate Change Policy (2021) recognizes that “public education and outreach are a vitally important phenomenon to create broad awareness of climate change and its impact” (p. 33). The Policy recommends development of a national-level education program with the involvement of communities, ministries, and departments. It also recommends mass awareness programs on climate change, the importance of water and energy, and impacts of climate change on biodiversity through media, public-private-partnerships, students, and community mobilization. The Policy highlights government programs (described below) that feed into Pakistan’s Ecosystem Restoration Initiative to facilitate a transition to climate-resilient development through mainstreaming of adaptation and mitigation measures through ecologically targeted initiatives.
The Prime Minister’s Urban Forest Project and Protected Areas and National Park initiatives are being implemented to expand protected areas to at least 15% of Pakistan’s area by 2023. The initiatives focus on environmental protection and establish links to global programs, such as increasing registered national parks under the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
The Clean Green Pakistan national campaign, launched in 2018 and led by the Ministry of Climate Change, aims for behavioral change and institutional strengthening. It addresses five cross-cutting components of climate change: planting, solid waste, liquid waste/hygiene, total sanitation, and safe water. The campaign focuses on empowering citizens to be responsible, through competitions among cities, universities, and institutions.
Another initiative of the Ministry, the Ten Billion Trees Tsunami Programme, is being implemented from 2019 to 2023 across Pakistan in partnership with provincial and territorial Forest and Wildlife Departments. The Programme aims to plant 10 billion trees to improve conservation measures while encouraging eco-tourism, community engagement, and job creation through environmental conservation.
According to Pakistan’s 2nd National Communication (2018), Enercon Systems Private Limited, a private corporation and a global leader in energy control solutions, is involved in public awareness programs, education, and outreach activities to enhance knowledge of climate change and sustainability issues. For example, Enercon collaborated in 2015-16 with the World Wide Fund for Nature Pakistan to conduct awareness raising sessions for schools on sustainable energy, with participation of 5,000 to 6,000 students. Enercon also increased awareness and capacity on sustainable transport under the Pakistan Sustainable Transport project (2018), funded by the Global Environment Facility. The Communication notes plans to conduct institutional and community-level awareness campaigns focused on the importance of tree planting and forests.
Pakistan’s Climate Change Act (2017) focuses on raising awareness, to “undertake education and awareness campaigns and programs to enhance understanding and awareness of different aspects of climate change” (p. 8).
Pakistan’s updated Nationally Determined Contributions (2021) proposes awareness and disaster management programs for children, waste management programs for women, and campaigns for farmers to reduce vulnerabilities and provide early predictions of climate disasters.
ii. Climate change and public access to information
Access to climate change-related information is not prioritized in Pakistan’s national policy documents. The Climate Change Policy (2012) and its Framework for Implementation of the Climate Change Policy (2014–2030) (2013) do not target access to information in their goals and objectives. They do, however, focus on establishing early warning systems and forecasts for the farming community, risk management, and disaster preparedness while partnering with the community to disseminate information on climate predictions and corresponding advice. The Policy indicates that Pakistan plans to ‘develop knowledge-based management and networking with strategic climate change research establishments to ensure benefits from international scientific advancements’ (p. 31). The Framework includes “establish water resources database for knowledge management and dissemination of necessary information through advanced information and communication technology” (p. 13).
The Pakistan Meteorological Department provides public access to climate change and environment-related data through its climatological, data processing and monitoring, and research services. It is responsible for providing forecasts, alerts, and advisories during extreme climate events, including droughts, floods, and cyclones. The Department has a dedicated Climate Change Impact & Integration Cell, which is a climate resource center with numerous data resources relevant to climate change, including the Climate Data Processing Centre, Climate Data Online, Real Climate, and Climate Change (Historical Data).
The Pakistan Research Repository is an initiative of the Higher Education Commission. The Repository holds research theses and articles from country-wide universities and academic institutions on climate change, environment, and earth sciences. It provides open and one-stop access to research conducted by universities.
The Pakistan Scientific and Technological Information Centre publishes Pakistan Science Abstracts, which features research articles from across Pakistan in disciplines including earth and environmental sciences. The Centre has a dedicated scientific and technological knowledge database for climate change and energy articles.
The Civil Society Coalition for Climate Change operates a Pakistan Climate Change Portal, a public open-access online repository of available knowledge and research on climate change and related areas in the context of Pakistan. The portal has two major components: 1) an online library of climate-relevant reports, publications, research, policy documents, and scientific and numerical data, and 2) maps and visualizations for climate change indicators.
The Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission provides Geographic Information System (GIS) information on climate change issues. Its Climate Change Study Program addresses climate change processes and parameters to understand better the impacts and behaviors of key trace gases in the atmosphere. Analysis focuses on assessing the impact of climate change at the national, regional, and global scales to identify vulnerable areas and adaptation options.
Pakistan’s updated Nationally Determined Contributions (2021) urge an increase in access to climate-specific information and its dissemination, especially to women through radio and mobile phones. It also mentions establishing a nationwide Multi-Hazard Vulnerability and Risk Assessment and Geographic Information System for mapping and identifying climate change risks.
iii. Climate change and public participation
Pakistan commonly uses public consultations to develop its climate change policies. The government undertook extensive consultation with all relevant stakeholders from the federal ministries and departments, provincial governments and their line departments, and civil society organizations to develop the National Climate Change Policy (2012) and Framework for Implementation of the Climate Change Policy (2014–2030) (2013). The process also included subnational consultations with the provinces of Balochistan, Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Azad Jammu & Kashmir. Consultation meetings were attended by government officials, academia, researchers, policy experts, non-government organizations, students, and journalists. Meetings gathered valuable inputs and suggestions for formulating the draft Policy and developing the Framework for Implementation.
The Framework mentions short- and long-term actions to promote stakeholder consultations and public participation in decision making on climate change and related themes such as integrated water resource management and agriculture. The Framework gives as an example the Biodiversity Action Plan for Pakistan (2000), which was “prepared in consultation with and participation of stakeholders including government, academia and civil society” (p. 46).
The 2021 Nationally Determined Contributions involved “bottom-up and top-down approaches that ensured active engagement and participation of a wide range of stakeholders during its development process” (p. 19). The formulation process engaged youth and volunteer groups and their organizations in consultations, including review of the previous Nationally Determined Contributions (2016) through youth perspectives, a survey on links between climate change and youth, and mapping of civil society organizations working with youth groups.
The Nationally Determined Contributions (2021) recommend promoting women’s participation in decision making at local levels and community participation in forest conservation activities. Within agriculture, the Contributions mention strengthening rights-based approaches and gender-responsive measures to increase women’s participation in decision making, while raising awareness of rural communities about the importance of involving women in decision making for natural resources management.
Development of the 2nd National Communication (2018) involved stakeholder consultations through correspondence, personal meetings, and workshops by the Global Change Impact Studies Centre. The Communication emphasizes the importance of meaningful participation of civil society and the humanitarian community and women’s participation in disaster risk management and climate change issues in Pakistan, to ensure ownership of policies. The Communication also recognizes limited community participation in decision making and a lack of incentives for community ownership.
i. Country monitoring
Pakistan’s national policies note the significance of monitoring mechanisms to track progress and ensure implementation, but climate change, communication, and education are not assessed.
The Pakistan Climate Change Act (2017) puts forth monitoring as an important tool to track implementation of the objectives of international climate change agreements, the National Adaptation Plan, and local plans. However, monitoring of climate change education is not part of the Act.
The Ministry of Federal Education & Professional Training, through its office of the National Education Assessment System, assesses the education system for grades 4 to 8 in collaboration with Provincial Education Assessment Centres, Area Education Assessment Centres, and Assessment Training Centres. The System objective is to carry out fair and valid national assessments to enhance quality, equity, and access to education. As per a 2021 UNESCO study, the System plans to establish student assessment in line with international standards. The 2005 assessment report is the most recent available in the public domain. It does not mention climate change or the environment. Reports are also published at the provincial level, such as the Provincial Report on Assessment of Students Learning launched in 2008 for the Province of Punjab. However, these reports do not mention any assessments related to tracking climate change education.
The Annual Status of Education Report (2021) is a large citizen-led, household-based initiative to measure changes in essential learning and school statistics and to interpret results for use in making policy decisions at various levels. The Report aims to provide reliable estimates on the schooling status of children aged 3–16 years residing in Pakistan’s rural and a few urban districts. However, it does not report on parameters related to climate change and environmental issues.
The Clean Green Pakistan Index, which focuses on enhancing community knowledge of sanitation and climate change, includes participatory monitoring and evaluation as one objective. The Index ranks cities and municipalities against performance indicators for each component, including safe drinking water, solid waste management, liquid waste management/hygiene, planting, and total sanitation. Independent assessments and reports are developed by the Climate Change Ministry as endorsements for award-winning cities based on final rankings.
Pakistan’s Sustainable Development Goals 2019 Voluntary National Report recognizes education as a key national priority but does not explicitly assess SDG targets related to climate change education. Awareness of disaster risk reduction and disaster risk management is a priority focus for Pakistan. One government priority in the Report is to “launch awareness raising campaigns, enhance skills and institutional capacity of relevant stakeholders, including women” (p. 49).
The World Bank conducted a technical assessment in 2020 on its Actions to Strengthen Performance for the Inclusive and Responsive Education (ASPIRE) program. Results on climate change-related interventions show that “climate-related risks adversely affect education as school’s shutdown due to infrastructure damages from climate-related events” (p. 13). The Assessment also mentions the importance of integrating climate change into government policies and plans and incorporating climate change messages into communication campaigns.
The Ministry of Education’s Professional Standards for teachers (2009) charts 10 different standards for Pakistan’s educators, including subjective knowledge and communication methods, but outlines no specific monitoring mechanism. According to the 2019 study on Teacher Education for Sustainable Development, the Standards for Teachers are deficient in their focus on sustainability education. Another 2014 study on Teacher Education Policies and Programs identifies the lack of an effective professional monitoring system and accreditation for teacher education.
The Climate Change Policy of Pakistan advocates monitoring and evaluating the policy at 5-year intervals through Climate Change Policy Implementation Committees, to be established at federal and provincial levels. The Committees, comprising representatives from government, civil society, and academia, are also responsible for overseeing progress in implementing the Policy.
The 2nd National Communication (2018) plans to establish “a National Data Bank for climatological, hydrological, agro-meteorological, and other climate change-related data to cater to the needs of all relevant institutions” (p. 117).
The 2021 Nationally Determined Contributions describe the monitoring, reporting, and verification mechanism in place to track progress on commitments. The Contributions also propose establishing “the national adaptation M&E system by developing a roadmap for its future setup, based on pilot experimentation in the agriculture sector” (p. 75). The Contributions do not specifically mention monitoring of climate change education.
ii. MECCE Project Monitoring
The Monitoring and Evaluating Climate Communication and Education (MECCE) Project examined Pakistan’s National Curriculum Framework (2018), National Education Policy (Education Sector Plan; 2017), and National Education Policy Framework (2018) for keywords related to ‘climate change,’ ‘environment,’ ‘sustainability,’ and ‘biodiversity.’
None of these documents examine biodiversity. The National Curriculum Framework does not refer to the aforementioned relevant keywords.
In the National Education Policy (2017), ‘sustainability’ is referenced 20 times, and keywords related to both terms, ‘environment’ and ‘climate change’ are referenced 1 time each.
‘Climate change’ and ‘biodiversity’ are not discussed in the National Education Policy Framework. The document does not use the term ‘environment’ in the environmental sense and does not mention ‘sustainability’ at all.
This profile was reviewed by Prof. Awais Piracha, Director of Academic Programs – Geography, Tourism and Planning, Western Sydney University, Australia.