This article was first published on May 25, 2022 and updated on November 13, 2023
It’s an opportunity that is both important and daunting: to take a seat at a negotiating table that affects societies - and the entire planet. The AFD Group division tasked with raising awareness has taken up the challenge of immersing students in international debates on biodiversity and now, climate change – one of the Group’s key mandates.
AFD’s first teaching kit on biodiversity has been trialled by a number of classes, such as the exercise led by a school in La Seyne-sur-Mer just east of Marseille, on the Mediterranean. Throughout the school year, three classes of 7th graders (representing the negotiating countries), and one class of 12th graders (representing the COP presidency and non-state actors) prepared for this experiment in international diplomacy, recreating the international talks on biodiversity.
To facilitate the use of the kit, AFD offered has related webinars for teachers who wanted to explore these issues in more depth and better understand the simulation methodology.
Launched in September 2021, the kit was produced in partnership with the French Ministry for National Education and Youth (MENJ), the French Biodiversity Agency and the Landestini association. It was presented at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Marseille.
Following the success of this first kit, AFD has launched a new tool, this time focusing on climate change in the lead-up to COP28. This kit is the result of a collaborative project between AFD, the MENJ and the Office for Climate Education, and is structured around six sessions covering scientific issues, negotiation mechanisms and climate commitments. Students are also provided with “actor” role cards to make it easier for them to walk in the shoes of the various delegations involved in the COP meetings, whether from Brazil, France or Vanuatu.
Webinars to facilitate the use of this kit will be offered between November 2023 and March 2024, covering various topics related to COP28.
With these initiatives, AFD continues to advance its awareness-raising mission, mobilizing the educational community around major environmental issues, while offering students the opportunity to broaden their horizons and play an active role in protecting the planet.