The role of the Education Sector in South Asia: Empowering youth and children for climate change adaptation action


Event information

Date: 6 August 2020

Time: 2:45 PM – 4:15 PM Kathmandu time (GMT+5:45)

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UNICEF will present its priorities on climate change linked to education discussing potential entry points for action in South Asia. Also, UNICEF will provide a platform to discuss with duty bearers and rights holders within the education system about current work, goals and gaps. Audience members will respond to the UNICEF presentation and discuss the entry points presented, as well as suggest other possible ways that climate change can be addressed through the education sector, including through policy, planning, training, and curriculum reform, for example.



  • Introduction of virtual talk by UNFCCC (5 Min)
  • Introduction of virtual talk and panelists by Mr. Frank van Cappelle. (5 Min)

Setting the scene:

  • Presentation on UNICEF ’s priorities on climate change and linkages between education sector and the UNFCCC by Mr. Reis Lopez Rello (7 Min)
  • Presentation on UNICEF ROSA’s ongoing regional study (outline/scope; methodology; anticipated outcomes) by Ms. Fumiyo Kagawa (7 Min)
  • Ministry of Education’s perspectives on CCA and education system entry points
    • Mr. Ibrahim Asif (5 Min)
    • Mr. Wangpo Tenzin (5 Min)
  • Youth ’s perspectives on existing CCA learning and action opportunities at school; learning opportunities and support they would like through the education system
    • Ms. Shreya K.C (5 Min)
    • Ms. Heeta Lakhani (5 Min)
  • Dialogue among panelist focussing on challenges and opportunities (15-20 Min)
  • Q&A session (15- 25 Min)


Panelist biographies:

Frank van Cappelle, PhD, is an Education Specialist at the UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia, where he is the focal point for education in emergencies, education technology and innovations, monitoring and assessment, and gender equality in education. In his previous role at UNICEF, he coordinated and co-authored several national and regional studies on out-of-school children.

Reis Lopez Rello is a Climate Change Adviser at UNICEF Office for South Asia supporting governments to embed climate considerations into Education, Social Policy, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene into sub/national policies and programmes. Prior joining UNICEF, he acted as Regional Technical Specialist on Climate Change Adaptation at the UNDP-GEF unit supporting governments in Latin America and the Caribbean, and Asia and the Pacific to access environmental and climate finance. Before joining the UN, Reis worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers advising businesses on their sustainability and carbon strategies. 

Fumiyo Kagawa, PhD,  is Research Director of Sustainability Frontiers , an academic non-governmental organization primarily concerned with climate change, disaster risk reduction and resilience building and their implications for understandings and directions in sustainability education. She has coordinated, engaged in and led a wide range of international research and development initiatives focusing on diverse issues linked to the rights of the child and climate change primarily in the field of education. She currently conducts the UNICEF ROSA climate change education research as consultant.

Her major publications with her Sustainability Frontiers’ colleague, David Selby, include: Towards a Learning Culture of Safety and Resilience (UNESCO/UNICEF, 2014); Climate Change in the Classroom (UNESCO, 2013); Disaster Risk Reduction in School Curricula (UNESCO/UNICEF, 2012); Education and Climate Change: Living and Learning in Interesting Times (Routledge, 2010), among others. Most recently (2019-2020), she co-developed the national climate change mitigation and adaptation lower secondary curriculum together with associated teacher training and resource materials on behalf of the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Ibrahim Asif is the Director General, Policy Planning and Research Division at the Ministry of Education in the Republic of Maldives.

Wangpo Tenzin is Dean & Curriculum Specialist at the Curriculum Development Centre part of the Royal Education Council in the Kingdom of Bhutan.

Shreya K.C. is an environment and climate activist. Over the last 4 years, she has been actively involved in spreading awareness, advocating policies and taking action for environment and climate issues. She taught Science and Environment in a local school for two years. Currently, she is the face of Nepalese Youth for Climate Action (NYCA), a national not-for-profit youth network tackling climate change where she serves as National Network Coordinator. She was a recipient of Youth Climate Scholarship 2019. She has presented youth intervention in national and international forums including the intervention of YOUNGO (official children and youth constituency of UN) in the closing plenary of COP 25. She strongly believes in the power of youth momentum and urges every youth to fight for socio-environmental justice through any means, be it with education or activism or else. Undergraduate of Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science, she is also a research grantee at Resources Himalaya Foundation.

Heeta Lakhani has a Masters degree in Environmental Studies & Resource Management from TERI University, New Delhi. She is a firm believer in the power of the young people in grassroots as well as international processes and policies. Heeta founded the Green Warriors program to educate school students on climate change. She aims to bridge the knowledge gap on climate science as well as international processes among the children in Mumbai, who are at the forefront of facing the impacts of climate change in the coming years. Through her work she aims to create change-makers who will take knowledge-based action in order to combat the climate crisis. She is the current Focal Point from the Global South for YOUNGO, the official children & youth constituency of the UNFCCC.