On 25-27April 2019, Kazakhstan hosted the 2nd International Conference on Climate Change for the Educators from the Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. The event summed up the results of the 1st international contest of environmental projects of schoolchildren on climate change.

The climate change is recognized by the United Nations (UN) as one of the most important global challenges. It affects all countries and regions over the world. Each person to some extent is being responsible for those changes that are taking place on the planet.

To mitigate the climate change impacts and reduce the carbon footprint, individuals shall gain the knowledge since young age. At the present time, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and its partners have developed a set of interactive learning materials on climate change. This initiative is called “Climate Box” and it targets at schoolchildren.

The Climate Box project was launched in 2014, and nowadays it covers eight countries from the region of Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. The project becomes a truly international one. It has been initiated in Uzbekistan in May 2018 within the framework of the UNDP Uzbekistan project “Developing climate resilience of farming communities in the drought-prone parts of Uzbekistan” funded by the Adaptation Fund and implemented jointly with the Center for Hydrometeorological Service (Uzhydromet) at the Ministry of Emergency Situations.

The leading experts on climate change, clean energy, water resources, as well as teachers, methodologists, and representatives of the Ministries of Education from various countries, including Uzbekistan, participated in the Conference of Teachers held in Almaty. During the sessions, the top priority issues of the “climate change” topic and climate education promotion in the countries of the region were discussed, and experience with use of “Climatic Box” during the lessons of the different grade classes as well as within the extra-curricular programmes was shared.

The conference was culminated with the final phase of the 1st International Contest of environmental projects focused on climate change that have been developed by schoolchildren. More than 40 children from the eight countries: Armenia, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, submitted their projects for consideration by the contest jury. The contestants presented innovative ideas on how to mitigate the climate change, make water use more efficient and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, etc.

Uzbekistan was represented by the winners of the Republican Climate Change Competition conducted jointly by the Republican Center for Education under the Ministry of Public Education of the Republic of Uzbekistan, UNDP Uzbekistan and Uzhydromet on 9 April 2019 for the students of schools in Karakalpakstan and Tashkent. The international jury highly appreciated the interest of schoolchildren from Uzbekistan in climate change as well as their ideas on how to increase the climate resilience in their regions, decrease pressure on land resources, save water and reduce the carbon footprint.

Rozimahamedov Amirbek, the 7th-grade student of school No. 233 in Tashkent, presented his invention on using “living” and “dead” waters for growing seedlings. He won the International “Climate Box” Contest.

Salieva Biybikhan, the 10th-grade student of school No. 1 in Muynak district of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, presented a project on the use of artesian water for irrigation of plants in her schoolyard to save drinking water and create a microclimate. Her idea was awarded with the prize for the “Best international project of practical implementation."

Ermagambetova Butakoz, the 8th grade student of school No. 20 in Nukus of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, offered to organize a school Eco-Club “Ishonch” (“Belief”) to attract more young people to reduction of their carbon footprint and improvement of the environment. Her project was recognized as the best in the “Social Volunteerism” nomination.

The Letters of gratitude from the organizers "For the professional training of participant from the Republic of Uzbekistan to the International School Projects Contest" were handed to Abubakirova Vinera (Tashkent, school No. 233), Arzuev Nurmakhanbet (Muynak district, school No. 1), and Serjanova Orazgul (Nukus, school No. 20).

The International Conference and Contest are expected to contribute to achieving the project outcomes as well as strengthening the interrelationships of relevant department professionals, teachers, and schoolchildren, and unlock the full potential of the Climate Box project within the educational process and beyound.

The UNDP’s assistance to Uzbekistan is aimed at achieving common interrelated outcomes, among which the significant attention is paid to climate change adaptation in arid regions of Uzbekistan and to the environmental protection in the surrounding areas.