Climate change communication and education

MECCE logo

1. Context

2. Climate change education and training in the country

3. Climate change communication in the country

4. Monitoring and evaluation


  1. Context

i. Climate change context

Uruguay, a South American country nestled between Brazil and Argentina, faces significant challenges and opportunities in the context of climate change. The territory is divided into 19 departments and 112 municipal governments. According to the 5th National Communication (2019), 95.3% of the population lives in urban areas and 40.1% of the total population resides in the country’s capital of Montevideo. The Uruguayan population is mainly European (87%).

According to the World Bank, Uruguay has a population of approximately 3.5 million people and a landmass covering 176,215 square kilometres. The World Bank and the 5th National Communication (2019) state that one of Uruguay’s most pressing climate vulnerabilities is its susceptibility to extreme weather events, including droughts and floods; the National Communication (2019) states that in 2019, 17,600 people were evacuated from their communities due to extreme flooding events. These phenomena can devastate agriculture, which is a key economic sector. Uruguay also faces challenges related to coastal erosion and rising sea levels, as a significant portion of its population resides in coastal areas. Uruguay experiences climate hazards such as droughts and floods, heat waves, hailstorms, and tornadoes. Estimations suggest that Uruguay’s temperature could increase by 2–3 °C by 2100. Rainfall is projected to increase in the entire country by 10%–20% on average, with a high seasonal and inter-annual variability. The El Niño–Southern Oscillation phenomenon (ENSO) further increases this variability with higher precipitation during El Niño years and higher droughts during La Niña years

Regarding international climate agreements, Uruguay is categorized as a non-Annex 1 party under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Uruguay signed and ratified the Paris Agreement in 2016. Additionally, Uruguay signed the Kyoto Protocol in 1998 and ratified it in 2001, and signed the Escazú Agreement in 2018 and ratified it in 2019.

According to the Global Carbon Atlas, Uruguay’s carbon emissions are 2.0 tCO2/person, ranking 75th globally. The 5th National Communication (2019) indicates that the most significant CO2-emitting sectors are agriculture, forestry, and livestock, contributing to 74.3% of the total emissions, followed by energy (20.6%), and waste (3.4%).

At the time of this review, Uruguay had not officially declared a climate emergency. Nevertheless, Uruguay has taken significant steps in recognizing the urgency of climate change. In 2023, the Minister of Economy and Finances participated in the European Union and Community of Latin American and Caribbean States Submit, stating that “the global climate emergency demands immediate action and long-term solutions.”

According to the 5th National Communication (2019), significant progress has been made in Uruguay regarding climate change action. As a result of the progress and efforts implemented, the Gender and Climate Change Strategy (2019) was published in 2019.

ii. Relevant government agencies 

Climate change

Uruguay has had environmental organizations since the creation of the National Institute for the Preservation of the Environment (INPMA) by Law No. 14,053 (1971). The first Ministry in charge of the subject was the Ministry of Housing, Territorial Planning and the Environment (MVOTMA), created by Law No. 16,112 (1990). The powers assigned by law to this Ministry were transferred to the Ministry of the Environment by article 291 of Law No. 19,889 (2020).

The Ministry of Environment is the central government ministry responsible for environmental policy and management in Uruguay. Created in 2020, it plays a pivotal role in coordinating climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies. The Ministry was responsible for developing national policies and strategies to address the challenges of climate change, including identifying vulnerable areas and formulating adaptation plans. The UNFCCC Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) Focal Point for Uruguay is part of the Ministry of Environment.

The National Directorate of Climate Change is part of the Ministry of Environment, and it is tasked with overseeing and coordinating climate change policies, actions, and international commitments. The Directorate is also in charge of coordinating the work of the National System for Climate Change Response. The System involves several Ministries—the Office of Planning and Budget, the Congress of Mayors, the National Emergency System, and the Uruguayan Agency for International Cooperation—that develop strategies and policies for climate change mitigation and adaptation and the Nationally Determined Contribution of the country. The System also coordinates the collection, management, and dissemination of climate data and information to support decision-making and research related to climate change.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries is responsible for addressing climate change issues related to agriculture, including sustainable farming practices and adaptation strategies. The National Directorate of Water is part of the Ministry and is responsible for water resource management, and may also be involved in climate change–related water resource planning and adaptation. The National Environmental Directorate is responsible for environmental impact assessments and environmental management, which can intersect with climate change issues.

The Ministry of Industry, Energy, and Mining is involved in efforts to reduce emissions from the energy sector and to promote renewable energy sources. The Ministry, with the National Directorate of Energy, is in charge of topics of energy efficiency, renewable sources, and planning.

The Ministry of Transport and Public Works focuses on transportation-related emissions reduction efforts, sustainable urban planning, and infrastructure development to enhance climate resilience. The Ministry of Economy and Finance plays a role in budget allocation and financing climate change projects and initiatives.

The Ministry of Housing and Land Management works on the development of spatial planning policies that consider the effects of climate change, such as planning resilient urban and rural areas and promoting sustainable construction. The Uruguayan Institute of Meteorology is part of this Ministry and provides essential climate data and information for monitoring and forecasting climate-related events.

Regional level participation is emphasized for issues around adaptation to climate change , such as at the Meeting of Environment Ministers of MERCOSUR and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). Uruguay is also taking part in activities to advance regional projects for adaptation to climate change; for example, the EU Cooperation Program with Latin America and the Caribbean and the Ibero-American Network of Climate Change Bureaus.

Education and communication

The Ministry of Education and Culture is the main agency responsible for the development and implementation of education policies in Uruguay. Its roles include curriculum development, teacher training, and overseeing the education system. The Uruguayan National Institute for Early Childhood works independently from the Ministry and focuses on early childhood education and welfare. It plays a role in early education programs and policies.

The Ministry of Social Development is involved in social and community-based climate change adaptation programs and initiatives. The National Institute of Youth is part of this ministry and focuses on youth-related programs and initiatives, including educational and vocational opportunities for young people.

The National Administration for Public Education is an autonomous government agency responsible for the administration of public education in Uruguay, including primary and secondary education. It plays a central role in shaping education policies and standards. The Technical and Vocational Education Council, also known as Uruguay’s Work University, is an autonomous and public institute that functions as part of the Administration; it provides secondary technological education and vocational training at basic and advanced levels.

In contrast, the Uruguayan Association for Non-public Education represents private educational institutions in Uruguay. It advocates for the interests of private schools and educational organizations.

The National Institute for Educational Evaluation evaluates and monitors the quality of education in Uruguay. It assesses educational outcomes, conducts research, and provides recommendations for improvement. Evaluations on topics related to climate change education were not found at the time of this review.

The Council for Teacher Training is responsible for the training and professional development of teachers in Uruguay. The Council plays a crucial role in ensuring the quality of education through teacher training programs.

In Uruguay, public media organizations, such as Televisión Nacional Uruguay and the National Radio play a significant role in communication and education through broadcasting educational content and news. On the Public Media of Uruguay website, people can search for news content related to climate change in Uruguay and the world.

The National Network for Environmental Education for Sustainable Human Development (ReNEA) was created in 2005 as an inter-institutional space integrated by governmental, civil society, and formal education organizations with a common goal of environmental education. The Network is organized as the focal point of the National Directorate of Education of the Ministry of Education and Culture (MEC) and as co-convening institutions the MEC itself: the former Ministry of Environment, the National Administration of Public Education (ANEP), and the University of the Republic (UdelaR). The Network constitutes a space of collaboration and permanent construction, effectively integrated by government organizations, formal education, and civil society with a common goal of Environmental Education. It has a Technical Academic Coordinating Group (GCTA) formed with representatives of these areas and a Coordinator appointed by the Ministry of Education, and it holds an annual assembly with all the adhering organizations (approximately 50).

iii. Relevant laws, policies, and plans 

Climate change


Article 47 of the Constitution of Uruguay (1967) states that “the protection of the environment is of general interest. Individuals shall refrain from any act that causes serious depredation, destruction or pollution of the environment.”

The National Energy Policy (2008) covers the period 2008–2030 and enhances Uruguay’s transition to the use of clean and sustainable energy. The Policy promotes regulations, financial support, capacity building, and awareness among the population, industries, and government to achieve energy efficiency in Uruguay.

Several laws in Uruguay support climate change efforts. Law No 19.355 (2015), article 479, decreed the creation of the National Directorate of Climate Change as part of the formerly existing Ministry of Environment, Housing and Spatial Planning and allowed the coordination of its staff and budget. The Ministry of Environment was created as an independent Ministry with the approval of Law No. 19.889 (2020).

Other government agencies have been created to support Uruguay’s efforts: Decree No. 172/016 (2016) allowed the creation of the National Environmental System, which coordinates national policies that cover environmental topics, including climate change; Decree No. 65/020 (2020) approved the Regulation of Law No. 18.621 and led to the formation of the National Emergency System, which is part of the National System for Climate Change Response; and Law 19.585 (2018) created the National Commission for Scientific and Technical Evaluation as part of the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining. The National Commission was a way to ensure Uruguay’s accountability in international commitments related to energy and climate change.

To address the adaptation to and mitigation of risks caused or exacerbated by climate change, Uruguay created Law No. 19.772 (2019), which refers to Land-use Planning and Sustainable Development in the Coastal Areas of the country. The Law promotes interventions to allow coastal zones to adapt to climate change.

The National Policy on Climate Change was issued in 2017 by the National System for Climate Change Response and establishes the legal framework for addressing climate change in Uruguay. It outlines the country’s commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, adapting to climate impacts, and promoting sustainable development. It sets objectives over the short, medium, and long term, up to 2050. One of the main goals of the Policy is to enhance climate awareness. The Policy outlines the importance of working toward gender equity, intergenerational justice, and human rights to achieve a sustainable society in the country.

The National Adaptation Plan is divided into three documents: the National Adaptation Plan for Cities and Infrastructures (NAP-Cities; 2021), the National Adaptation Plan for the Agriculture Sector (2019), and the National Adaptation Plan for the Coastal Zone (2019). All three Plans aim to enhance Uruguay’s resilience to climate change impacts by identifying vulnerabilities and implementing adaptation measures.

To address the intersection between gender and climate change, Uruguay has developed two main documents. The Gender and Climate Change Strategy (2019) supports the integration of a gender perspective into national policies related to climate change and highlights how climate change, especially in developing countries, increases the vulnerabilities created by gender disparities. The Strategy recommended the creation of the Gender and Climate Change Action Plan (2019), developed by the Ministry of Environment, which prioritizes capacity-building activities, participation and leadership of women, and integration of a gender perspective into public policies and instruments related to climate change.

The National Strategy for Uruguay’s Development 2050 (2019) outlines how to integrate an analysis of the impacts of climate change into the development and planning in the country. The Strategy seeks to prioritize public investment, social cohesion, local economy, and sustainability to reduce the country’s vulnerabilities to climate change.

In 2020, Uruguay approved, through Decree No. 66/020 (2020), the development of the National Policy for Comprehensive Emergency and Disaster Risk Management in Uruguay 2019–2030 (2021). This Policy, among other objectives, increases risk management communication in the country and creates a systemic process to develop plans and policies. These objectives will be accomplished while considering climate change adaptation.

One of the distinguishing features of NAP-Cities is a strong commitment to incorporating generational and gender perspectives with a human rights-based approach. NAP-Cities measures have been categorized according to their potential transformation impact on urban gender inequalities based on three areas: a) accessibility to services (mobility, infrastructure, and public spaces), b) political participation, and c) economic inclusion.

A National Action Strategy for Climate Empowerment (ENACE Uruguay) was developed and finalized in 2022.

In 2017, Uruguay presented its 1st Nationally Determined Contribution, which has 20 objectives for reducing emissions intensity and maintaining carbon stocks on land and 106 measures in various sectors, including mitigation, adaptation, capacity-building measures, and generation of knowledge. In 2022, the 2nd Nationally Determined Contribution was presented; it contains the main measures to be implemented to increase the country’s capacity to adapt to climate change and includes Uruguay’s contribution to the mitigation of greenhouse gases. The Nationally Determined Contributions were developed within the framework of the National System for Response to Climate Change and included a public consultation stage and a process implemented through the Digital Citizen Participation Platform.

Education and communication

The General Environmental Protection Law No. 17,283, enacted in 2000, establishes in article 11 that “[p]ublic entities will promote the formation of environmental awareness in the community through education, training, information, and dissemination aimed at the adoption of behaviours consistent with the protection of the environment and sustainable development” (n.p.). In a similar venue, The Education Law (Law No. 18.437), enacted in 2008, outlines the principles and regulations of the Uruguayan education system, emphasizing the right to education and the importance of inclusive, quality education. The Access to Public Information Law (Law No. 18.381), also enacted in 2008, promotes transparency and public access to government information and establishes procedures for people and organizations to request and receive public information.

Law No 19.272 (2014) entails public participation and contemplates the active participation of society in local government issues. This implies creating opportunities for social participation, according to the themes and levels of society, so that people can participate in the information sharing, consultation, initiation, and follow-up of actions. The law also contemplates using public hearings to disseminate and present development programs and plans that seek to improve the quality of life and the environment.

The Plan for Environmental Education published in 2014 and revised in 2018 showcases the framework for environmental education in Uruguay at all levels of the educational system, in governmental and non-governmental areas, and institutions of formal and non-formal education.

Law No. 19.773 (2019) approves Uruguay’s regional agreement on access to information, public participation, and justice in environmental matters in Latin America and the Caribbean, known as the Escazú Agreement.

The National Human Rights Education Plan (2019) was created by the National Commission for Human Rights Education as an instrument that frames different human rights education practices and different areas of action. The Plan guarantees the elements for climate empowerment, such as the right to a decent education for all people, the right to participation in different spheres and from different sectors of society, and the right to public access to information. The Plan was approved by the National Administration for Public Education as a result of a collective and consultative construction process.

The Educational Development Plan 2020–2024 (2020), developed by the National Administration of Public Education, presents a set of strategic guidelines, objectives, and strategies to be carried out by the Education System of the country, including initial and primary education, secondary education, professional technical education, and training subsystems to enhance the quality of the education in Uruguay.

Uruguay’s National Education Plan 2020–2025 (2021) sets out the strategic goals and policies for education in Uruguay. It includes targets related to improving the quality and inclusivity of education.

The 5th National Open Government Plan (2021) promotes transparency, public participation, and access to government information. The Plan is part of the Latin America and Caribbean Regional Observatory on Planning for Development portal that allows people to consult Uruguay’s commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Concerning SDG 4, the Plan set the commitment to have an open data strategy to promote and support open processes on issues related to gender, anti-corruption, environment, climate change, health, parliament, and justice. Regarding SDG 13, the Plan seeks to design and implement a participatory process for the elaboration of the 2nd Nationally Determined Contribution of Uruguay and implementing a monitoring system. The progress of these commitments can be tracked in an Open Government Observatory platform.

In 2022, the government of Uruguay submitted its fifth SDG Voluntary National Review, which highlighted that Uruguay reports on 4 targets for SDG 4 Quality Education and 7 targets for SDG 13 Climate Action. None of these targets are related to climate change education.

In 2022, Uruguay developed the National Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) Strategy. This key document analyzes the situation of the ACE elements in the country from a climate empowerment perspective. The Strategy also outlines that the document was developed using a participatory processes and sets objectives, guidelines, and actions to be followed. According to the document, this Strategy “is based on four phases: initiation, planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation, with the involvement of the different stakeholders at the core” (p. 11). The Strategy is based on the definition of 7 strategic guidelines, 17 associated objectives, and 25 lines of action. Each guideline ensures a cross-cutting approach to the human rights perspective with equity and social justice, and also considering territorial, generational, cultural, and gender diversity. This approach is reflected both in the definition and implementation of the actions and in the indicators that are used to monitor the implementation of the Strategy. The strategic guidelines are 1) environmental education for climate change; 2) training for a just transition to sustainable, inclusive, resilient, and low-carbon development; 3) knowledge generation, research, development, and innovation to address the challenges of climate change; 4) generation and public access to information; 5) communication and awareness; 6) empowerment through participation and climate action; and 7) national and international cooperation.

iv. Terminology used for Climate Change Education and Communication

The 5th National Communication (2019) defines environmental education as a type of education “that develops experiences to achieve quality learning for all ages and in all the country. It promotes reflexivity, solidarity, and inclusivity, and guides students to take into account their local context” (p. 125).

The Methodological Guide on Environmental Education for Climate Change (2023) defines ‘environment’ as “the result of a set of socio-cultural meanings, norms, values, interests and actions” (p. 11). The guide also highlights that ‘climate change’ should not only be understood from a technical or scientific framework but also in that it affects the contexts, experiences, and people’s lives.

In several documents, public participation in Uruguay is highlighted, and in the Methodological Guide on Environmental Education for Climate Change (2023) it is defined as,

processes with specific characteristics to promote people’s quality of life. They are a way of conceiving and approaching teaching-learning and knowledge-construction processes. They are based on people’s interests, empowering them for daily life and the deployment of changes in their communities. (p. 35)

Finally, ‘environmental education’ and ‘communication’ are often used in Uruguay’s policies and official documents because, according to the Methodological Guide on Environmental Education for Climate Change, “[they] allow the establishment of participatory methods involving understanding, ownership, discussion, exchange of experiences, cooperation, commitment, and decision-making” (p. 41).

v. Budget for climate change education and communication

According to data from the World Bank (2020), Uruguay spent 4.6% of its total GDP on education. The Green Climate Fund has allocated US$ 69.6 million for four projects in Uruguay: low-carbon transportation, sustainable cities in Latin America, a Climate Fund for equity, and technical assistance. The Global Environment Facility has provided funding of US $20 million for 10 projects in Uruguay; examples of these funded projects are Institutional Strengthening for the Preparation of the Fifth National Communication to the UNFCCC, Implementing Pilot Climate Change Adaptation Measures in Coastal Areas of Uruguay, and Institutional Strengthening and Enabling Activities to Comply with the UNFCCC. Uruguay’s 5th National Communication (2019) was also developed with the financial support of the Global Environment Facility.

On the Budget Transparency Portal, people can consult how much funding has been allocated for the different Ministries and Directorates. The portal shows the budget allocated for the National Directorate of Climate Change for the 2021–2023 period. For 2021, the Directorate received US$ 355677.70 (UYU 13,622,279) and used 65% of these funds. In 2022, it received US$ 363917.58 (UYU 13,937,862) and used 83%, and in 2023 received US$ 398134.86 (UYU 15,248,367) and at the time of this review had used 9%. Part of the budget was allocated for education, awareness, and communication around climate change.

In a 2022 article, it was noted that the Ministry of the Environment has the smallest budget in the country (0.26% of the total budget), and the National Directorate for Climate Change has 0.004% of the total budget. According to the 2nd Nationally Determined Contribution (2022), actions against climate change will only be possible through access to external funding and technology transfer. On the same note, the Nationally Determined Contribution document highlights that having access to this external support is a requirement to implement climate action within a framework of just transition and climate justice.

In 2022 the government of Uruguay submitted its fifth SDGs Voluntary National Review focusing on SDGs 4, 5, 14, 15, and 17. The document highlights that SDG 4 ‘Quality Education’ received 19.89% of the total budget allocated for the development of all 17 SDGs.

  1. Climate change education and training in the country

i. Climate change in pre-primary, primary, and secondary education 

The Uruguayan education system is organized into early education, primary education, secondary education, higher secondary education, and tertiary education levels. Early education, primary education, secondary, and higher education are mandatory for the population. According to the 5th National Communication (2019), the country seeks to integrate a gender perspective into all educational levels and include climate change content in the whole system.

According to the 5th National Communication (2019), the National Administration for Public Education, the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Ministry of Housing and Land Management, the University of the Republic, and the National Agency for Research and Innovation developed the Program to Popularize Scientific Culture. As a result, they have developed cycles of lectures, action–research experiences, and spaces for artistic expression targeted to children and young people in urban and rural schools. These activities raise awareness about climate change. The activities address the integration of scientific knowledge, local knowledge, and novel knowledge about climate change so students can reflect on the impacts resulting from events such as floods, droughts, or rising average sea levels and be aware of resilience strategies.

Uruguay is going through a comprehensive curricular transformation to improve learning and align it with existing needs that require people with attitudes and skills in line with the current times and willing to face the uncertainties of the future. However, according to the 5th National Communication (2019) and the content in basic education, teaching practices seek to include concepts such as vulnerability, variability, energy efficiency, prevention, and citizen monitoring and measurement. As an example, Science Clubs program has approximately 20% of their national projects addressing climate change. The Clubs bring children, young people, and teachers from all over the country closer to climate change issues and invite them to think and design adaptations for their cities, schools, or neighbourhoods to respond to problems derived from climate change.

Uruguay’s Voluntary National Review (2022) highlights that the country seeks to include climate change issues in the curricula of all levels of basic education as a response to Target 13.3 of Sustainable Development Goal 13. To work toward the Target, the Education and Climate Commission was created, with delegates from the National Administration for Public Education, the University of the Republic, and the Ministry of Education and Culture.

The National Administration for Public Education has the goal that by 2030, environmental education for climate change will be incorporated in all educational subsystems (initial and primary, secondary, technical-technological, and education training). In the Early Childhood and Primary Education Program, climate change content appears in the Geology subject from Grades 1 to 5. In secondary education, climate change content is part of Geography during the 1st to 3rd cycle of school and in Chemistry and Biology during the 3rd grade.

ii. Climate change in teacher training and teaching resources

According to the Council for Teacher Training, the country includes resources for pre-service and current secondary education teachers. During their studies, future educators have to attend the ‘Climate: components and Factors’ class. Once students decide their area of specialization, other content related to climate change is available to them. Examples of the courses available that cover climate change topics are Physical Geography I (Climatology/Biogeography), Ecology, Biodiversity, Earth and Space Sciences, Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology, and Ethics.

An important resource for in-service teachers is the Methodological Guide on Environmental Education for Climate Change (2023). The Guide was developed with the activities of the South-South Cooperation. The Cooperation is integrated by the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Uruguayan Agency for International Cooperation, the Ministry of Environment in Chile, and the Uruguayan Environmental Education Program. The Guide is part of the project ‘Gender Equality and Environmental Education as Transversal Axes of Climate Change’ and is a tool for teachers and technicians to address climate change with a didactic perspective of environmental education and through processes of citizen participation. The Guide reminds the teacher that when teaching about climate change, technical and scientific language can pose difficulties to learning, to avoid teaching climate change by only mentioning the global reality, and to consider the reality of each person and their environment.

In 2022, the Environmental Education Program organized a course on environmental education for climate change. The training constructed a sense of environmental citizenship through an experiential process and by promoting collective reflection based on own learning. The target audience for the course was technicians or teachers with experience in academic work or community work in environmental education and climate change, community communicators, and civil society leaders.

iii. Climate change in higher education

The University of the Republic is the largest and most prominent public university in Uruguay, and it has several interdisciplinary spaces that contribute to research on climate. For example, the Interdisciplinary Centre for Response to Climate Change and Variability addresses issues of mitigation and adaptation to climate change in agricultural systems, territorial vulnerability of environmental systems, cities and climate change, energy systems, and natural resources valorization.

Other institutes that are part of the University of the Republic are the Interdisciplinary Centre for Integrated Coastal Management of the Southern Cone and the South American Institute for Resilience and Sustainability Studies (SARAS). SARAS is a research centre that contributes to research and capacity building on sustainability topics, such as ecosystem services, ecology, and climate change in policy and practice. The University of the Latin American Centre for Human Economy offers a Certificate in Climate Change where students gain knowledge on the causes and effects of climate change, its relation with the Sustainable Development Goals, and the challenges of development in the context of climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Within the University of the Republic, the Department of Atmospheric Sciences of the Faculty of Sciences has developed basic and applied research on atmospheric and oceanic behaviour and the causes of climate change. The Department collaborates in the area of climate change with other universities such as the University of Buenos Aires, Princeton University, the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, and the International Centre for Theoretical Physics.

The University of the Republic also offers postgraduate education and content related to climate change in different programs, such as Environmental Sciences, Geosciences, and Integrated Coastal Management. Other higher education programs at the University that cover climate change are the Certificate in Physics, the Certificate in Geography, and the Certificate and Master’s in Environmental Education. All of these programs are part of the Faculty of Sciences.

The Technical University of Uruguay (UTEC) started integrating climate change content into their programs in 2017 when the University opened its first degree in Environmental Sciences. By 2023, the University will offer two engineering programs that incorporate climate change into their content: Irrigation, Drainage and Effluent Management Systems Engineering and Agro-environmental Engineering.

iv. Climate change in training and adult learning 

Starting in 2017, the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries has developed a series of workshops on adaptation to climate change and variability in agricultural and rural schools in different departments of the country. The training allows students to understand and reflect on issues related to adaptation to climate change and variability in the agricultural sector, and provides tools for the use of reliable climate information sources. Most of the workshops are provided by teachers from the Climate Change Center at the University of the Republic. The workshops were also part of the process to develop the National Adaptation Plan for the Agricultural Sector (2019). The workshops were held in 10 educational centres in the interior of the country, training about 320 students.

The National Adaptation Plan for Cities and Infrastructure (2021) includes among its measures “Intensify the incorporation of contents related to climate change and variability in professional education of those who participate in urban planning, construction and management processes.” As a result, several curricular courses and professional training activities have been developed in the country to address climate change. The courses cover a variety of topics such as public spaces and buildings, sustainable drainage, nature-based solutions, and new technologies and materials.

  1. Climate change communication in the country

i. Climate change and public awareness 

Climate awareness is mentioned in different policies related to climate change in the country. The National Policy on Climate Change (2017) mentions that awareness needs to be increased to improve people’s commitment and promote cultural change in the population. The National Adaptation Plan for Cities and Infrastructure (2021) also mentions that awareness-raising is needed to increase citizen participation. The National Adaptation Plan for the Agricultural Sector (2019) mentions that a survey on women’s participation in agricultural production activities, access to resources, decision-making on the farm, and use of time for family- and medium-scale production units was conducted. The survey generated evidence of the perception of the impact of climate change and adaptation strategies from rural women in production systems.

The Friends of the Wind Society has carried out activities of information sharing, awareness, advocacy, and monitoring of policies on climate change at national and regional levels. An example of this is the “Regional Forum on the Impact of Civil Society Organizations on Disaster Risk Reduction in Latin America and The Caribbean,” and education and awareness-raising activities on climate change in schools.

The Ministry of Housing and Land Management, the Human Rights Secretariat of the Presidency, the National School of Public Administration (ENAP), the Metropolitan Agenda, and the Climate Change Working Group of the Metropolitan Region, under the commitment to mainstream the human rights approach in environmental and climate change policies, carried out several awareness-raising activities such as the workshop ‘City, climate change and human rights.’ In the metropolitan area, a course on ‘Human rights and climate change: a comprehensive approach to planning in the metropolitan area’ was also provided.

Uruguay joined the Network of Climate Change Journalists of Latin America and in 2019, the government launched an online course through the Network for journalists and communicators from Latin America and an in-person workshop for communicators from Uruguay on how to address the issue in the media.

Other public awareness efforts include the development of graphic and audiovisual communication materials, aimed at different audiences, to improve understanding of the phenomenon of climate change, its impacts, and the measures to be taken to reduce its consequences. In particular, the booklet ‘If the climate changes, we change’ stands out.

In 2023, the training area of ​​the National Emergency Directorate and the National Directorate of Climate Change organized the interactive face-to-face workshop ‘Climate Change and Comprehensive Risk Management, how do we prepare?’ to raise awareness among youth in climate action, promote the prevention of climate change, and provide educational tools and materials for teaching the community to address these issues.

ii. Climate change and public access to information 

According to the Global Open Data Index (2015), Uruguay ranks 7th among 122 countries in terms of access to information. The 5th National Communication (2019) mentions that the country has a framework of transparency through a domestically designed system for programming, monitoring, reporting, and verification of compliance with climate change adaptation and mitigation goals.

Uruguay’s Environmental Information System integrates data from automatic air sensors, water quality monitoring, and information on biodiversity and protected areas. The information is presented through a map. The Territorial Information System is comprehensive and contributes to informed territorial planning and action at all levels. Its main objective is to make the necessary information available for territorial planning and sustainable development in a framework where climate change is one of the priority dimensions.

The National Environmental Observatory (OAN), with the participation of other departmental and national organizations involved in environmental matters, gathers environmental information and makes it available to the public. The information consists of national, departmental, and local information on the state of the environment. The OAN’s platform is designed to be consulted by the citizens, and all the information contained on it is open data.

iii. Climate change and public participation 

Several public policies in Uruguay have been developed following participatory processes. The National Policy on Climate Change (2017) was developed in a participatory manner. More than 300 representatives from the public and private sectors, civil society. and scientific-technical fields participated in its design. As a result of this process, the Policy includes 20 strategic priorities, 72 lines of action, and 5 dimensions: governance, knowledge, social, environmental, and productive. The consultation process was carried out in three stages: the first was informative; the second consisted of a collective diagnosis of the climate change state of Uruguay; and the third consisted of a Participatory Planning Workshop.

The process for preparing the National Adaptation Plan for the Agricultural Sector (2019) was based on nine Adaptation Dialogues occurring in 2017, with participation of more than 200 people from the private and public sectors, academia, civil society, and agricultural producers and their organizations. Participants were encouraged to discuss climate vulnerability and propose adaptation strategies for the seven most important production systems in the country and to address the differential vulnerabilities of rural women and family farmers. Two broad calls were made to address cross-cutting issues in the agricultural sector: one for rural women and one for family farming. As a result, the necessary lines of action were formulated and validated to improve the livelihoods of rural populations.

According to the 2nd Nationally Determined Contribution (2022), the National Adaptation Plan for the Coastal Zone is under development, and will include a participatory processes. For the Plan, the capacity building and implementation of adaptation measures were coordinated among the six departmental governments through the execution of 103 workshops to evaluate the perception of local actors, the incorporation of the knowledge of the scientific community, and design adaptation responses to climate change.

According to the 5th National Communication (2019), in 2021 the educational sector approved the document ‘Roadmap to an Integral Curricular Transformation.’ The Roadmap contains the different actors that will be invited to participate in the development of an Integral Curriculum for the Country in 2023. The Roadmap also includes their roles and the timing and duration of their participation. In 2021, a stakeholder consultation process started, intending to map the interests and concerns focused on the curriculum.

For the 2nd Nationally Determined Contribution (2022), the government created the Digital Citizen Participation Platform. By using the Platform, the population had a tool to express their points of view, contributions, suggestions, and comments on their climate actions or those they know about. In this space, the timeline of the elaboration process and different milestones in the development of the 2nd Nationally Determined Contribution were also presented. In addition, a process for capacity building and feedback was developed with a group of 40 young people between 14 and 22 years of age from different parts of the country and in different contexts. The objective of the process was for these young people to learn about the various aspects of climate change, the policies and actions being carried out at the national level, and the international commitments. At the end of this capacity-building process, youth were able to present a series of measures and lines of work that they considered vital. As a result, according to the 2nd Nationally Determined Contribution, by 2030 Uruguay aims to create a space for youth representation to strengthen their participation and influence in public climate policy processes.

The Uruguayan Centre for Appropriate Technologies has also promoted the Latin American Climate Platform intending to strengthen the construction of platforms for dialogue between civil society and government about climate change.

According to the country’s National Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) Strategy (2022), the national and subnational levels of the national government, as well as regional and sectoral approaches, represent an opportunity to incorporate the ACE elements by following a process of collective construction by Climate Emergency Advocates. In this sense, public participation is key to achieving empowerment for climate action. The Strategy highlights that participatory processes should include an intergenerational approach, gender perspective, and coherence of public policies. In the same venue, participation allows the recognition of the different needs and interests of the population.

Finally, the National Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) Strategy (2022) remarks that—given that climate change deepens existing social and territorial inequalities and inequities—it is necessary to guarantee dignified living conditions for all vulnerable people. Therefore, it is necessary to include in ACE the rural population, children, adolescents, youth, the elderly, a gender perspective, the migrant population, ethnic and racial diversity, and people with disabilities.

  1. Monitoring and evaluation

i. Country monitoring 

Since 2014 in Uruguay, the National Greenhouse Gas Inventories have used IPCC inventory software to estimate direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the sectors. To estimate its indirect GHGs, each sector has auxiliary spreadsheets for calculating emissions.

The Uruguayan Institute of Meteorology is the national meteorological authority and is responsible for the development of public meteorological and climatological services on weather and climate in the national territory and adjacent oceanic zones. It contributes to the safety of people and property and the sustainable development of society.

Coordinated by the National Directorate of Emergencies, the country has designed the methodology and metadata for the development of national indicators for disaster risk reduction. As part of this process, in 2019 the National Emergency System and the Southwestern Seismological and Geophysical Observatory held a workshop in Uruguay on the conceptual and methodological elements of the tools promoted to develop a monitoring system.

According to the 2nd Nationally Determined Contribution (2022), the 100 climate change adaptation and mitigation measures included in the 1st Nationally Determined Contribution were monitored, and their progress is currently under evaluation. With these monitoring and evaluation practices, Uruguay seeks to track the progress in the implementation of adaptation measures and to generate indicators. However, according to the 2nd Nationally Determined Contribution (2022), the evaluation of the impact of adaptation actions continues to be a challenge. Another challenge is developing a monitoring and evaluation framework that can be shared with other countries. An example of the measures that are part of the Monitoring and Evaluation System, according to the 2nd Nationally Determined Contribution (2022) is “[b]y 2025, at least 6 protected areas include in their management plan the consideration of climate change and variability” (p. 20). The 2nd Nationally Determined Contribution (2022) also highlights that working groups will develop these actions and measures, including working groups in gender, education, communication, or awareness.

Within the framework of the design of the National Adaptation Plan for Cities and Infrastructure (2021), a System of Indicators for Monitoring Adaptation to Climate Change and Variability in Cities was developed. The purpose of this system is to measure the level of urban adaptation to compare cities and identify those that present more critical situations.

The 2nd Nationally Determined Contribution (2022) mentions that the indicators should not be only considered as metrics, but also as a way to manage and promote adaptation actions, reduce vulnerability, increase adaptive capacities, identify risks, strengthen the resilience of socio-ecological systems, and reduce losses and damages.

Further, the government of Uruguay—working transversally at the level of all Ministries, autonomous entities, and decentralized services—assumed responsibility for guiding public policies to fulfill the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In 2019, the country shared an online status report on each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that allows monitoring and evaluation of compliance with the 2030 Agenda. According to the 2nd Nationally Determined Contribution (2022), this work will include reviewing, monitoring, and updating gender trackers in each of the measures, continuing the efforts already made to achieve a gender-responsive monitoring system.

Finally, the National Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) Strategy (2022) proposes a governance and implementation system coordinated by the National Climate Change Response System and an Education, Communication and Awareness Working Group. The Strategy also suggests basic elements for the evaluation and monitoring of progress in implementation. Examples of these elements, (called ‘Goals in the Strategy’) are “Implementation of the first week of climate action that includes a day for teacher training” (p. 32); “by 2030, the number of climate databases available as open data catalogue has increased” (p. 40); “by 2030, annual awareness campaigns are developed.” (p. 43), and “Citizen communication spaces that address climate change are increasing.” (p. 44). The Action Plan for the Monitoring and Evaluation of the Strategy will be updated every two years and the strategy will be revised in accordance with national commitments on climate change.

ii. MECCE Project Monitoring

The Monitoring and Evaluating Climate Communication and Education (MECCE) Project examined Uruguay’s Curricular Framework for Pre-primary Education (2017) for references to ‘climate change,’ ‘environment,’ ‘sustainability,’ and ‘biodiversity.’ Two total references were found, all related to the term ‘environment.’ No references to ‘biodiversity,’ ‘sustainability,’ or ‘climate change’ were found.

The MECCE Project also examined Uruguay’s National Curriculum Framework (2017) for references to ‘climate change,’ ‘environment,’ ‘sustainability,’ and ‘biodiversity.’ The term ‘climate change’ is not mentioned in the document. Terminology related to the ‘environment’ is used five times. The term ‘sustainability’ is mentioned one time. The document does not mention the term ‘biodiversity.’


This section will be updated as the MECCE Project develops.

Last modified:

Wed, 29/11/2023 - 10:18