With all the talk of finance gaps and gigatonne gaps, there has been much more progress in closing the climate-education-and-awareness gap. Now there is an opportunity to go even further in the SBI. The New Delhi Work Programme adopted at COP 8 under Article 6 of the Convention comprises a promising set of commitments. The pillars of education, public participation and awareness-raising help to combat an atmosphere of climate denial and skepticism. Without a critical mass of public understanding and support to address the threats of climate change and the opportunities of clean energy development, the gap between the negotiations today and a fair ambitious, and binding global deal could become a chasm. The upcoming mid-term review of the New Delhi programme is a unique chance to build bridges between governments and citizens. That will only happen if civil society has the opportunity to fully contribute to the review along with Parties. This can best be realized by amending the New Delhi Work Programme to extend beyond 2012 and strengthen it to provide more local and regional climate education. Elements required include creating financial mechanisms specifically to fund Article 6 activities, recognizing and supporting youth organizations as key providers of non-formal and peer education, and supporting the diversity of forms that public awareness building can take, including arts, entertainment and both 'online' and 'real-life' social networks. The SBI should call for civil society as well as Party submissions on the review of the New Delhi Work Programme. Similarly, the Secretariat should receive a broad mandate to conduct its review of the work programme with as much civil society participation as possible. Parties should also provide the financial means to enable the Secretariat to organize regional workshops on the implementation of Article 6 in the SIDS and Africa. Previous workshops have been invaluable in communicating the objectives of Article 6. These regions deserve that resource, too. Because it is less controversial of a gap to cross than finance or emissions commitments, it should be easy for Parties to agree on filling voids in climate awareness as a step toward bigger things.
Advancing the New Delhi Work Programme