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
The Republic of Nauru is an uplifted limestone island located in the southeastern Micronesia region. Nauru is one of the smallest republics and countries in the world, with a population of 12,500 people, according to the World Bank (2019). Nauru is a Small Island Developing States (SIDS) surrounded by deep sea and coral reefs. It has a total land area of only 21 km2, with minimal access to freshwater resources. Nauru’s Voluntary National Review (2019) states that “Climate change represents the single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and well-being of our people. Climate variability and slow onset effects of climate change increases our vulnerability and undermines the sustainable development of Nauru” (p. 14).
Nauru’s dependence on rainwater, its remote location, and its socio-economic system makes it highly vulnerable to climate change. The World Bank states that Nauru is highly prone to extended periods of drought. Over the years, phosphate mining has tremendously impacted the landscape and economy. Most of Nauru’s population and critical infrastructure are located on the coast.
According to Nauru’s 2nd National Communication (2014) freshwater availability is a significant issue in the country. Rainwater is the only source of potable water across Nauru. The Communication notes that electricity production is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, followed by manufacturing industries and construction. Phosphate mining is the biggest polluting industry in Nauru. Sectors such as agriculture, waste, and livestock are major contributors to Nauru's greenhouse gas emissions. The Global Carbon Atlas states that Nauru had emissions of 5.2 t CO2 per person in 2020, a little higher than the world average.
Nauru is a Non-Annex I party under the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC). Nauru ratified the Kyoto Protocol in August 2001 and the Paris Agreement in April 2016. The country accepted the Doha Amendment in December 2014.
Nauru is supported by the Australian and New Zealand governments in designing national strategies and promoting resilient development. Those governments provide development assistance for education activities and infrastructure, among other essential services.
ii. Relevant government agencies
The Nauru Department of Commerce, Industry, and Environment oversees environmental, climate change, and commerce issues. The Department is responsible for developing, overseeing, and monitoring key climate change policy and planning documents. The Department provides input on developing national and sectoral climate policies, prepares reports on international climate change agreements, and provides country-level advice on climate change issues. The Department also implements climate change-related activities in the water, energy, and environment sectors. It is responsible for monitoring the implementation of policy objectives related to the Sustainable Development Goals, including a monitoring and evaluation framework. As reported in the Nauru Case Study (2013), conducted by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, a Climate Change Unit was established within the Department to drive action on climate change in Nauru from a technical perspective. The Department is the UNFCCC focal point for negotiations on climate policy at the global level. The Republic of Nauru had no designated Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) focal point at the time of this review.
The Nauru Case Study (2013) states that the National Development Committee acts as “the policy and advisory arm of Cabinet on national and sectoral development, including climate change issues” (p. 18). The Department of Commerce, Industry, and Environment Project Steering Committee was “established to improve consultations on development, oversight and implementation of policies and programs related to environment, water, sanitation, energy, waste management and climate change” (p. 18).
The Department of Finance and Sustainable Development is an important central agency of the Government of Nauru, with a mandate to oversee and coordinate effective management of public finance and resources in Nauru, including the national budget for climate change. The Department is also the focal point for development assistance and aid coordination. It is additionally responsible for training new budget officers working within the Department of Climate Change.
Nauru’s Nationally Determined Contributions (2021) state that
Responding and adapting to climate change and its impacts requires a whole of Government approach and necessitates the involvement of all ministries and departments. An effective response to climate change will require strong leadership and coordination within the Government supported by effective legal and policy frameworks. (n.p.)
Nauru’s Nationally Determined Contributions (2021) mention establishing a Department of Climate Change and National Resilience to develop nationwide sustainability, climate change, and resilience strategies. The Department would be the government authority responsible for overseeing the implementation and priority setting of Nauru’s response to climate change and for tracking the overall progress of Nauru in implementing climate change policy.
Education and communication
The Ministry of Education and Training is responsible for equal and easy access to education and training. As part of the National Sustainable Development Strategy (2019–2030), the Nauru Education and Training Reform Package contends with declining literacy and numeracy rates. The Package aims to improve primary and secondary school attendance. Future goals include establishing a National Curriculum Committee, a National Moderation Committee, and a Curriculum, Accreditation Statistics, and Exams Unit.
The Department of Education is primarily responsible for training and educating the people of Nauru to prepare and equip future generations for upcoming challenges. The Department’s key mission includes literacy, education access, and skill-building, including on climate change, to develop a productive workforce.
The Department of Foreign Affairs is the political focal point and coordinates reporting and communication on relevant international agreements, including to the UNFCCC.
The Nauru Bureau of Statistics is responsible for collecting, compiling, and reporting national statistical information to local authorities, researchers, and the public.
iii. Relevant laws, policies, and plans
The National Disaster Management Act (2016) is in force in Nauru. It recognizes events induced by climate change and other disasters and binds citizens and the government to mitigate, prepare for, and respond to the impacts.
In 2020, the Government of Nauru adopted the Environmental Management and Climate Change Act (2020), which codifies authority with the Minister and Department responsible for environment and climate change to manage and protect the environment of the Republic of Nauru. The Act promotes sustainable development and facilitates compliance with Nauru’s international and regional environment-related obligations. The Act’s objectives include promoting and providing awareness, information, and education to the public on the protection and improvement of the environment. The Act includes the establishment of the Climate Change and Environmental Protection Fund for many issues, including 1) protection and conservation of the reef and foreshore, 2) preservation and protection of flora and fauna, 3) prevention of coastal erosion, 4) food security, 5) health, 6) soil conservation and 7) other purposes consistent with the provisions of the Act and as prescribed by regulations.
Nauru also has a Biodiversity Strategy & Action Plan (2013) that draws links explicitly to climate change impacts. The Plan consists of a focused strategy on developing the Environment Information Centre under its capacity building, public awareness, and education objectives. The Plan also intends to develop programs integrating biodiversity and climate change concepts in education. This review could not find information on an established Environment Information Centre.
The Republic of Nauru Framework for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction (2015) addresses education as a means to reduce and adapt to climate risks and as a tool to achieve health, water and energy objectives. The Framework recognizes education as an important factor in human capacity development, promoting sustainable development, and in building resilience to climate change and potential disasters.
Climate change is recognized in Nauru’s National Sustainable Development Strategy (2019–2030) (2019), which focuses on a future where partnerships contribute to a sustainable quality of life for all Nauruans, especially climate change adaptation. The Strategy emphasizes building resilience to climate impacts, including rehabilitating and restoring degraded lands. Nauru’s Strategy highlights the country’s key challenges. It outlines seven long-term goals: a stable, trustworthy, fiscally responsible government; access to quality education, both formal and non-formal; improved health and well-being; provision of enhanced social, infrastructure and utilities services; development of an economy based on multiple sources of revenue; enhanced resilience against the impacts of climate change that is inclusive of rehabilitating and restoring degraded lands; and, development of domestic food production for food security. The Government of Nauru has integrated climate action throughout the Strategy. The Strategy, along with the Republic of Nauru Framework for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction, have been the guiding policy documents for three successive administrations.
The National Climate Change Policy (Second Draft, n.d.) unites the existing body of policy, legislation, and knowledge “to provide a clear vision of Nauru’s planned action to address the impacts of climate change” (n.p.). The overarching strategy to address climate change in Nauru is to provide a sound policy framework, including monitoring and evaluation. This strategy does not replace existing policies but complements them. The National Climate Change Policy includes two outcome statements under the key policy objective of ‘Advocacy and Information’ (p. 12): 1) enable long-term fulfillment of climate change actions by leveraging advocacy for international support for Nauru and by building internal capacity within Nauru, including by integrating climate change into school curriculum and 2) ensure that Nauru is guided by current climate change science and projections when making decisions.
In 2018, the Department of Commerce, Industry and Environment developed the National Integrated Environment Policy with support from the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The Policy is a 5-year implementation plan to address environmental issues.
The 2021 New Zealand 4-year Plan on Nauru focuses on objectives including strengthened environmental sustainability and climate resilience, highlighting that “Greater environmental sustainability and resilience to the effects of climate change are critical for Nauru” (p. 4).
Education and communication
Education is regulated by the Education Act (2011), but the Act does not refer to a ‘natural’ environment.
The Education and Training Strategic Plan of Nauru 2008–2013 (2008) is one of the strategies to implement the Nauru Education and Training Reform Package, with a vision of ‘preparing for tomorrow.’ The Plan envisions a long-term milestone of a sustainable economy and environment, with a curriculum focused on climate change and sustainable life skills.
Nauru’s Education Strategy (2015) is the product of the Nauru-Australia Partnership for Development and aligns itself with the National Sustainable Development Strategy (2019–2030) (2019) for the improvement of education. The Government of Nauru developed a partnership to support and strengthen the implementation of the Education and Training Strategic Plan of Nauru 2008–2013 (2008). Technical and vocational education and training is a key focus of the Strategy.
iv. Terminology used for Climate Change Education and Communication
National documents of the Republic of Nauru mention ‘sustainable development’ most prominently, with a few mentions of ’environmental education’ and ‘education for sustainable development.’ Climate change communication and education are not explicitly mentioned.
The 2nd National Communication (2014) mentions capacity building and public awareness programs as “activities that need to be focused and relevant in the local context.” The 2nd National Communication also says that “Such efforts need to be focused on making climate change information available to a wider audience” (p. 158). The 2nd National Communication refers to strengthening environmental education as one of the objectives outlined in the National Environmental Action Plan (1996).
The National Sustainable Development Strategy (2019–2030) (2019) focuses one of its goals on the ‘environment’ and defines the goal as “Sustainable use and management of the environment and natural resources for present and future generations” (p. 41).
The Education and Training Strategic Plan of Nauru 2008–2013 (2008) emphasizes attaining life skills, including environmental awareness. ‘Life Skills’ are defined as “knowledge, skills, attitudes, values and behaviours embedded in the local (and embracing the global) context which empower an individual to improve and sustain quality of life in their community and beyond” (p. 24).
Nauru’s Nationally Determined Contributions (2021) identify ‘sustainable development’ as a persistent challenge and intend to pursue a range of sustainable development actions, all of which bring significant climate change adaptation and mitigation co-benefits.
v. Budget for climate change education and communication
Nauru is one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to climate change. It is a core member of the Small Island Developing States and receives assistance under international and bilateral funding. The World Bank estimates that Nauru spent 9.1% of its total budget on education in 2018. However, climate change-specific figures are not part of the analysis.
The Pacific Climate Change Financing Assessment Framework (2013) notes that the key sources of climate change assistance to Nauru have been Australia, the European Union, Japan, the Global Environment Facility, and UN agencies. Nauru has also received a support of US$ 0.75 million from the Special Climate Change Fund through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change Project, led by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme.
The Green Climate Fund has funded two projects in Nauru worth US$ 29.3 million. The projects mainly focus on sustainable infrastructure and climate mitigation. The Fund projections for 2020–2021 by the Department of Finance were US$ 29.4 million of aid-in-kind. The projections estimate US$ 0.4 million to enhance climate change adaptation and resilience under the Global Climate Change Alliance Plus Scaling up Pacific Adaptation project. However, funds specific to climate change communication and education are not mentioned.
The Global Environment Facility has invested US$ 0.5 million on a climate change-focused project in Nauru, with public awareness and education campaigns as one component. This project also includes technical and vocational education and training (TVET) components on sustainable energy and climate change adaptation.
An article by the Australian Government mentions that Australia has provided support since 2016 of ~US$ 6.1 million to Nauru as part of a bilateral agreement on climate change and disaster resilience, based on the UNFCCC 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21). This support is built into many programs, including in the infrastructure and education sectors, and specific figures for climate change education are not mentioned.
Another article says that Australia committed to climate action in Nauru by providing US$ 3.9 million as climate change support between 2015 and 2018, mainly for economic infrastructure. Australia’s Aid Investment Plan (2015–2019) also covers climate change resilience as a cross-cutting issue. Under regional funding mechanisms, the Australian government has provided funds of US$ 50 million during 2015–2018, including for building the capacity of meteorology services and improving access to climate information.
The European Union-funded Pacific Technical, Vocational Education and Training is a project under the broader Adaptation to Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Programme. This Programme builds on the recognition that energy security and climate change are significant issues currently hindering the development of Pacific countries, including Nauru. The project is being implemented by the Pacific Community in partnership with the University of the South Pacific for 74 months, with an overall budget of US$ 6.3 million.
Although the Environmental Management and Climate Change Act (2020) proposes establishing the Climate Change & Environment Protection fund, we found no update on this fund during the development of this profile.
Nauru’s Nationally Determined Contributions (2021) have allocated budgets for climate-resilient infrastructure development and other envisaged projects in the country. The Contributions do not indicate any funding for the outlined education interventions on climate change.
According to the Voluntary National Review on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda (2019), Nauru is set to create a National Adaptation Fund. The Review also mentions that Nauru has a relatively low donor base and would mostly depend on external sources of finance, including foreign aid and foreign direct investment.
i. Climate change in pre-primary, primary, and secondary education
The Nauruan government recognizes the country’s extreme vulnerability to climate change through national policies and plans, and is taking steps to include climate change topics in school education. Nauru has 11 schools, including three primary and two secondary schools (Nauru College and Nauru Secondary School). The official syllabus for subjects taught in Nauruan schools is not available in the public domain. Thus, we could not assess the inclusion of climate change in school education.
The Education and Training Strategic Plan of Nauru 2008–2013 (2008) sets a milestone for the goals of ‘our students,’ ‘our curriculum,’ ‘our teachers,’ and ‘our schools’ as a sustainable economy and environment achieved through national human and social capital capacity development. The Plan sets a curriculum goal of “Balanced, seamless across year levels, with relevant content, with special reference to climate change, sustainable life skills, healthy lifestyle, societal values, Nauruan language, and English” (p. 4). The Plan highlights that curriculum should aim to provide students with a set of life skills as defined by the South Pacific Board for Educational Assessment context. The Plan mentions that the Board and UNESCO have produced a list of Regional Benchmarks in Life Skills, defined as “Knowledge, skills, attitudes, values and behaviours embedded in the local (and embracing the global) context which empower an individual to improve and sustain quality of life in their community and beyond” (p. 24). In particular, life skills include teamwork, environmental awareness, and respect for others. 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.
Under the public awareness and education objective of the Biodiversity Strategy & Action Plan (2013), Nauru plans to use the information on its biodiversity and climate change impacts and integrate it into school curricula.
The need to incorporate capacity building on environmental vulnerability, mainly influenced by climate change and potential disaster events, into the school curriculum is recognized in the Republic of Nauru Framework for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction (2015).
The Pacific Nationally Determined Contributions Hub works with the German funding agency- GIZ in Nauru on the Climate Change Education Programme as part of the implementation strategy of the Nationally Determined Contributions. Recognizing the need for knowledge on climate change risks and challenges Nauru faces, the Programme focuses on incorporating climate change education into the national school curriculum. The Programme also intends to address children and youth as the nation’s future leaders.
Under Advocacy and Education, the National Climate Change Policy (Second Draft, n.d.), , plans to “Integrate climate change into school curriculum, community awareness and provide the necessary skills for Nauruans to better adapt to climate change.” The policy also aims to “Upskilling of the Nauru population starting with schools to enable more science-based approaches to climate change.” (n.p.)
Nauru’s 2019 National Voluntary Report mentions that in aiming to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), “the Education Department has been implementing several strategies to strengthen and improve its capacity, provisions and the system as a whole. These include (…) curricular innovations such as the PAWS program, Creative Arts, Family Life education, and integration of climate change, energy and health into the curricula” (p. 41).
Nauru’s 2nd National Communication (2014) states that topics related to global climate change need to be incorporated into the primary and secondary school curricula. The Communication also supports education and training on household-level kitchen gardening through the school curriculum.
Nauru’s Nationally Determined Contributions (2021) focuses on sustainable development and improving education for healthy and productive people. Nauru also intends to integrate climate change into the primary school curriculum with adaptation and mitigation co-benefits. The Contributions also mention that Nauru has drafted a National Adaptation Plan and National Climate Change Policy. The Contributions highlight that
Successful adoption and implementation of Nauru’s Climate Change Bill and Policy would ensure accountability and transparency, as well as to ensure inclusive and representative consultation and decision making processes. Stronger governance will establish institutions capable of implementing and enforcing climate policies and frameworks. (n.p.)
To help youth understand their country’s challenges and prepare them to implement practical climate actions, Nauru’s Nationally Determined Contributions (2021) plan to integrate climate change into the primary school curriculum in partnership with German Corporation for International Cooperation. The Contributions reinforce that developing a science-informed education curriculum would incorporate nationally relevant information about climate change, including the risks posed to Nauru and strategies to address those issues. The climate change curriculum is set to be integrated for two years and proposes a review process to establish the revised curriculum. The Contributions highlight that in terms of SDG 4, “Education is improved through the development of a curriculum that incorporates climate change in a way that is nationally relevant and prepares youth and adults to better understand and assess climate change risks and effectively implement climate action.” (n.p.) In terms of SDG 17, the Contributions mention that “Nauru’s partnership with GIZ and The Pacific Community will enable the development of a science-informed education curriculum that incorporates nationally relevant information about climate change, including the risks posed to Nauru, as well as strategies to address them.” (n.p.)
ii. Climate change in teacher training and teaching resources
Nauru, through its climate change policy documents and strategies, desires to strengthen the capacity of teachers in climate education and communication.
Australia and New Zealand run several teacher education programs on the island. For example, the Nauru Teacher Education Project. The Project helps Nauru to prepare teachers in-service and pre-service, as Nauru has due to its small size limited capacities. Yet, climate change is not mentioned on the Projects website.
Nauru’s Voluntary National Review on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda (2019) lays importance on teacher training programs. Training topics include leadership programs for school principals, technical and vocational education and training support, and curricular innovations such as integrating climate change, energy, and health into curricula.
Nauru’s 2nd National Communication (2014) sets forth measures to conduct appropriate teacher training programs in environmental education. The 2nd National Communication also mentions Nauru’s Teachers’ Guide, but the Guide was not available for review in the public domain.
Nauru’s Nationally Determined Contributions (2021) plan to deliver a revised curriculum developed by Nauruan teachers, with climate change integrated.
iii. Climate change in higher education
Due to the country's low population and remote location, higher education infrastructure in Nauru is not well developed. Nauruan students must mostly travel overseas, to Australia and New Zealand for higher education. Tertiary education in Nauru is provided by the University of the South Pacific, the only higher education institution in the country.
The University of South Pacific‘s campus in Nauru runs two certificate courses of 1–2 years on climate change resilience, focused on climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction and risk management. The University also has 3 years of Bachelor’s level degree programs in environmental management and environmental science, and a Certificate Programme on Sustainable Fisheries is taught on campus.
Australian National University‘s Institute for Climate, Energy, and Disaster Solutions hosts an online climate change course for Nauruan students, with support of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The course covers climate adaptation, adaptation science, stakeholder inclusion, and responses.
The National Sustainable Development Strategy (2019–2030) (2019) sets a youth development goal, recognising youth investments as a means for a sustainable future for Nauru. The Republic of Nauru Framework for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction (2015) emphasizes youth in planning and decision making to address gender gaps in climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction.
The 2nd National Communication (2014) discusses incentives for students to choose higher education in the environment, climate change, and related development studies. The Nationally Determined Contributions (2021) target youth preparedness at the national level to better understand and assess climate change risks and effectively implement climate action.
iv. Climate change in training and adult learning
Nauru’s Education Strategy (2015) emphasizes improved access to trade and vocational education and training services and supports implementing these education pathways. The Strategy mentions that a secondary-level technical and vocational education and training pathway was introduced in 2010, focusing on practical learning. A series of back-to-school initiatives are planned, focusing on the Learning Village campus. However, climate change is not included in these initiatives.
Nauru also aims to create more training opportunities for young people to acquire employable skills related to sustainable energy, climate change, and disaster risk management, according to the National Sustainable Development Strategy (2019–2030) (2019). The Strategy also focuses on designing community capacity-building programs for women. Capacity building on climate change adaptation, intended to forestall health-related issues, is mentioned in the Voluntary National Review on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda (2019).
The Republic of Nauru Framework for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction (2015) recognizes the skill development needs in the agricultural sector for both government and the community. The Framework focuses on climate variability, agricultural production, and management. The Framework also prioritizes strengthening institutional capacity for disaster management and emergency responses to climate change.
The European Union funded Pacific Technical, Vocational Education and Training 2014–2020, a project promoting sustainable livelihoods as a central theme. The project’s objective is to enhance livelihoods in line with the current Nauru development policy, including resource management and conservation, and most importantly, emerging policy to meet threats such as climate change. The education sector is a major actor in the project, providing opportunities for youth to gain sufficient employment skills to lead productive lives.
According to the Nauru Training Needs and Gap Analysis report (2015) by the Pacific Technical, Vocational Education and Training project, a range of technical skills are in demand in Nauru, particularly sustainable energy and climate change adaptation skills across knowledge-based, transferable, and personal traits. Energy efficiency, renewable energy, climate variability, crop resilience, conservation, and communication skills are a few of the skills mapped in this analysis. Recommendations include establishing a basic course on climate change, sustainable energy, and a community-based climate change skills set designed for communities. The Report mentions that the Nauru-Australia Partnership for Development aims to increase the number of students graduating from regionally recognized tertiary, technical, and vocational training courses.
The Pacific Climate Change and Migration (2016) project is implemented in three countries, including Nauru, to increase the protection of communities that are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change displacement. The project’s purpose is also to improve Nauru’s capacity to better plan and manage the effects of climate change on migration, and to enhance national capacity for effective participation in regional, bilateral, and global schemes. The project involves:
sharing of information,
gathering data on community attitudes toward climate change-induced migration, and
developing climate change responses and national action strategies to mitigate displacement risks.
According to the Commonwealth Network, the government refurbished Nauru Secondary School in 2010. It includes trade and vocational education and training facilities in the Nauru Technical & Vocational Education Training Centre. The Centre ensures that students become productive members of the workforce and obtain a qualification, to access further specialized training opportunities. Although training infrastructure is available, the current programs do not focus on climate change, the environment, or sustainable development.
An interactive 1-day workshop on priority adaptations to climate change for fisheries and aquaculture in Nauru for reducing risks and capitalizing on opportunities took place in 2013 for 29 participants from government departments, state-owned enterprises, non-governmental organizations, communities, private enterprises, and individuals in Nauru. The workshop objectives included:
creating an understanding of the direct and indirect effects of climate change,
identifying the implications of the projected changes to fisheries and aquaculture activities,
prioritizing the adaptations and policies needed to build the resilience of enterprises and communities, and
equipping communities to take advantage of potential opportunities.
The 2nd National Communication (2014) states that Nauru Secondary School includes a facility for adult learning in trade and vocational education, oriented toward vocational education. The 2nd National Communication mentions training for the community on kitchen gardening and fisheries education as priority actions for climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction. Improved community preparedness and response systems are also targeted in the 2nd National Communication through community training for responding to extreme events. Other priority training topics include energy efficiency, renewable energy, environmental science, and management. Capacity development for local personnel is also a recommendation outlined in the Communication.
Nauru’s Nationally Determined Contributions (2021) emphasize capacity building for effective climate change action, especially on loss and damage, which is referred to as the “capacity to cope with the climate change impacts that cannot be avoided and exceeds the capacity to adapt” (p. 10). The Contributions also call for international aid for technology transfer and capacity building support to establish a skilled and well-trained workforce through improved education. The aim is to ensure domestic ownership, and co-benefits for implementing adaptation and mitigation actions. The Contributions state that a Global Environment Facility project to transition from mining to sustainable development in Nauru is in planning. One project component is “capacity building and knowledge sharing to enable scaling up toward land degradation neutrality and biodiversity conservation” (p. 38).
i. Climate change and public awareness
Numerous public awareness programs on climate change and cross-cutting issues are being conducted in Nauru and are mainly reported in national documents and strategies.
The Nauru Energy Roadmap (2014–2020) (2014) focuses on raising awareness of energy use, energy efficiency, and conservation measures. The Republic of Nauru Framework for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction (2015) emphasizes creating community awareness about disaster response under priority disaster management and emergency response actions to contribute to climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.
Nauru’s National Climate Change Policy (Second Draft, n.d.) targets building institutional-level awareness and resource capabilities to better respond to climate change. Under disaster risk management, the policy plans to “implement a community outreach strategy to develop and maintain high levels of community awareness and preparedness for responding to extreme events” (n.p.).
Nauru initiated a Nauru Energy Efficiency Training and Public Awareness Campaign (2008) with the objective of poverty alleviation through improved access to electricity. The Campaign carried out community-wide climate change energy efficiency programs such as information dissemination and public awareness activities, along with energy audits and implementation.
The Nauru Island Association of Non-Government Organisations, an umbrella body of about 25 member non-governmental organizations established to represent community interests and funded by New Zealand’s International Aid & Development Agency. The Association participates in energy awareness-raising campaigns and actively engages women and youth-based groups in energy sector activities. Information about the Association’s interventions and active campaigns was unavailable during the development of this profile.
Public awareness initiatives mentioned in the 2nd National Communication (2014) include the Clean and Green Project, which focused on raising community awareness of the importance of waste management. The Aiwo Energy Road Map is a successful example of a community-led initiative. Traditional environmental awareness campaigns such as the Keep Nauru a Pleasant Island competition, the enviromedia campaign, and a pilot Operation Clean-up Nauru campaign have also been undertaken. No further information was available on these initiatives in the public domain at the time of this review.
Nauru’s 2nd National Communication (2014) states that public awareness programs and activities need to be focused on and relevant to the local context. The 2nd National Communication proposes periodic assessments on the impact and effectiveness of awareness programs. The Communication aims to bridge key knowledge and awareness gaps for reducing community health risks, including those related to the effects of climate change. The major topics for climate change-focused awareness programs highlighted in the 2nd National Communication include:
encouraging greater consumption of local produce,
conserving and protecting water sources,
promoting energy efficiency and conservation measures,
reducing emissions in the transport sector through fuel-efficient and alternative fuel vehicles, and
improving public transport services.
Nauru’s National Sustainable Development Strategy (2019–2030) (2019) also plans for community and public awareness of climate change, especially to build water resilience through improved household storage facilities and awareness of the importance of using clean water. The Strategy review, mentioned in the Voluntary National Review on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda (2019), says that climate change programs for community and public awareness are completed. However, no further information was available during this review. The Voluntary National Review mentions that a project is being implemented to manage recyclable waste, which involves implementing awareness campaigns. The Strategy mentions conducting awareness campaigns for improving energy efficiency through renewable energy education, especially in schools.
ii. Climate change and public access to information
Access to up-to-date climate science and projections forms a major part of the National Climate Change Policy (Second Draft, n.d.). The goal is to ensure that mitigation and adaptation actions are relevant and evidence-based, and would help Nauru in better decision making. The Policy aspires to fill climate-related knowledge gaps, especially in the water sector, and ensure equitable access to information by deploying multi-hazard early warning systems and integrated weather observations. The Policy mentions, “Increase access to information within Nauru for climate change and DRM, including long-term plans and upgrades of island communication services to enable formation of an Early Warning Systems (EWS) for disaster preparedness.” (n.p.).
Nauru has taken substantial steps to improve the public’s access to environmental and climate information. The Nauru Environment Data Portal is a one-stop open-source platform to find, access, and reuse national environment-related government data (including climate change information) specifically for informed decision making. The Portal’s purpose is to provide easy access and safe storage of environmental datasets that could be used for monitoring, evaluating, and analyzing environmental conditions. The Portal also offers trends to support environmental plans, forecasts, and reporting requirements at various levels.
A regional-level Pacific Climate Change Portal is a joint initiative of multiple governments and institutes, including Australian Aid, German Corporation for International Cooperation, and the University of the South Pacific, to provide access to climate resources, news, and events in the Pacific Islands region. The Portal has a specific page for climate information on Nauru, where it hosts the country’s data on climate science, governance, national climate priorities, adaptation, mitigation, knowledge management, and education.
The Nauru Bureau of Statistics portal hosts all the country-level statistics and national documents, and reports for usage by stakeholders, including the public. However, the website does not include environmental and climate change information.
The 2nd National Communication (2014) identifies access to information and knowledge as a need of the hour in Nauru to empower individuals to plan and respond to different climate risk situations. The Communication aims to fill knowledge gaps and ensure access to information through activities that include a “compilation of vulnerability assessments for Nauru relating to disaster risk, climate change, and climate variability, as the basis for identifying future priority actions” (p. 99). The Communication also sets infrastructure goals to “Provide universal and reliable access to internationally competitive communication services and an independent and commercially viable media” (p. 127).
Nauru’s Voluntary National Review on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda (2019) plans to implement early warning systems through a national center for drought monitoring and meteorological and hydrological issues. The 2nd National Communication (2014) acknowledges that efforts are required to make climate change information available to a broader audience in Nauru.
Nauru’s Nationally Determined Contributions (2021) recognize that data collection and information dissemination to understand better climate impacts on agriculture, fisheries, and marine resources are essential for improved resilience.
iii. Climate change and public participation
The Government of Nauru conducts extensive consultations with multiple stakeholders, including the community, to ensure public participation in developing national policies and designing country-level climate change strategies.
Nauru’s National Youth Policy (2008–2015) (2008) aims for a sustainable quality of life for young people in Nauru and drives positive actions by youth on issues that cause environmental degradation. Climate change-focused initiatives are not part of the Policy. Under the Policy, the Nauru National Youth Council was formed. The Council is affiliated with the Youth Affairs Department of the Department of Education and aims to empower the young people of Nauru to contribute to decision making.
The National Climate Change Policy (Second Draft, n.d.) incorporates the views of stakeholders and members of the government and civil society through a stakeholder consultation process that does not state public participation. The Policy mentions the participation of communities for policy implementation purposes but not explicitly in the policy and decision making processes.
Consultations with government, community, business groups, and individuals were conducted as part of the 2nd National Communication (2014) to set Nauru’s specific sector goals to achieve the long-term vision on climate change. The government developed plans such as the National Environmental Action Plan (1996) and the Energy Efficiency Action Plan (2008–2015) (2008) through a consultative and consensus-building process that involved stakeholders from the public, private, and civil society sectors. The Communication states that addressing gender issues in climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction means to “ensure equal and meaningful participation by men, women and youth in planning and decision making” (p. 106). The Communication mentions that the government will undertake community consultations for fisheries management plans to integrate future changes and risks due to climate change.
The Republic of Nauru Framework for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction (2015) mentions that the government developed a Framework over seven years. Extensive consultative processes began in 2010 and engaged government stakeholders, civil society, and the public of Nauru. The priority actions outlined for climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction were also developed by an interactive process involving workshops and stakeholder consultations to map vulnerabilities and examine climate risks across sectors.
For the Review of the Nauru Energy Roadmap (2014–2020) (2018), insights from multiple stakeholders were gained using a participatory consultation process with three national consultation workshops and one community consultation.
The National Sustainable Development Strategy (2019–2030) (2019) was prepared based on the public consultation report of the review of the earlier version of the Strategy, seeking feedback and insights from all the stakeholders. The community meetings conducted as part of the Strategy development process provided an opportunity to incorporate communities’ perspectives on potential growth and development areas, key challenges, and possible solutions for sustainable development. The Strategy discusses strengthening social inclusion in policy design and recognizing young people’s contributions through participatory processes, which were crucial outcomes of the consultations. The review report confirms that a higher proportion of women participated during these consultations. The inclusion of women was reinstated as part of the Voluntary National Review on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda (2019) and indicated strong support for action.
The Voluntary National Review on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda (2019) explains that “consultations were inclusive and transparent processes which engaged diverse groups of stakeholders through a series of stakeholder consultations including sector-specific consultations, district open forums, and questionnaire distributions. A good coverage of the elders, youth, and people with special challenges was recorded” (p. 4). The Review lists community priorities for each Sustainable Development Goal identified during community consultations.
More robust institutional and governance arrangements are highlighted in Nauru’s Nationally Determined Contributions (2021). The Contributions discuss the idea of “ensur[ing] women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities in the consultation and decision making process, which will also translate into greater educational and economic opportunities for women as a part of Nauru’s sustainable and low-carbon future” (p. 44). The Contributions also mention conducting a national consultative process with communities to develop the plan for the Higher Ground Initiative, an internal displacement mechanism to build resilience from climate impacts.
i. Country monitoring
Nauru conducts reviews and presents monitoring frameworks in policy documents, but climate change-related indicators are not expected.
UNESCO states that Nauru’s National Quality School Standards Framework (2011) has introduced inclusive education indicators, including a positive school environment and quality learning outcomes. However, the Framework does not include climate change, environment, or sustainability-related education indicators.
The Pacific Climate Change Financing Assessment Framework: Nauru Case Study (2013) was conducted by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in partnership with the Government of Nauru, Australian Aid, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to make informed decisions on measures to improve access and management of climate change resources. The Assessment recommends enhanced monitoring and evaluation of Nauru’s climate change program and the preparation of a climate change report every two years, which could be a valuable tool for informing key stakeholders. The Assessment mentions little about funding for education activities with explicit climate change elements.
The Nauru Improved Education Investment End-of-Term Review (2018) finds that “Climate change was not a big focus for the education sector work as it was not considered specifically relevant” (p. 14). However, the infrastructure review indicated risks associated with climate change and was included in the design and construction of the Learning Village, a center to provide Nauruan students better access to study, especially at the secondary and tertiary levels.
Nauru’s Voluntary National Review on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda (2019) aligns with the National Sustainable Development Strategy (2019–2030) (2019) and an appropriate set of indicators to monitor the implementation of policy objectives. For Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4, the Review recognizes that improved education outcomes are important for sustainable development and establishes the need for teacher employment and training. Localized SDG indicators for each goal listed in the Strategy do not include climate change communication and education. The Review, however, discusses conducting baseline studies and assessments of climate change impacts on coral reefs, fisheries, and marine resources.
Together, the Republic of Nauru Framework for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction (2015) and the National Sustainable Development Strategy (2019–2030) (2019) comprise an implementation framework that includes monitoring, reporting on progress, and supporting information and knowledge management. A simple monitoring and evaluation framework and basic indicators have been adopted, but climate change education is not included.
The monitoring and evaluation process outlined in the overarching National Climate Change Policy (Second draft, n.d.) mainly draws upon the mechanisms in the Republic of Nauru Framework for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction (2015). The Policy mentions tracking indicators through existing national plans and strategies and community-based vulnerability surveys. The Policy places responsibility on the Department of Climate Change and National Resilience for collating information and reporting progress.
In the 2nd National Communication (2014), the capacity building, education, and training theme highlights the need for periodic assessment of the impact and effectiveness of current awareness programs. Nauru’s Nationally Determined Contributions (2021) plan to conduct a national assessment of the public education system, focusing on climate change. A national long-term risk assessment is also planned to understand the scale, timing, and costs of climate change impacts on important national assets.
ii. MECCE Project Monitoring
The Monitoring and Evaluating Climate Communication and Education (MECCE) Project examined the Education and Training Strategic Plan of Nauru 2008–2013 (2008) and Nauru’s Education Strategy (2015) for references to ‘climate change,’ ‘environment,’ ‘sustainability,’ and ‘biodiversity.’
The Education and Training Strategic Plan of Nauru 2008–2013 (2008) mentions ‘climate change’ only once and ‘environment’ 6 times in the context of the physical environment. The term ‘sustainability’ is referenced 6 times, and ‘biodiversity’ is not mentioned.
Nauru’s Education Strategy (2015) mentions ‘environment’ once but does not mention any other terms.