UN Climate Change and the German regional government of North Rhine-Westphalia on Friday, December 10, 2021, announced a new “Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE)” hub designed to foster education and public awareness, training, public access to information and participation in climate change action in North Rhein-Westphalia and globally.
Financially supported by the government of North Rhein-Westphalia (NRW) and located at the UN Climate Change secretariat in Bonn, the ACE hub will provide capacity building, tools and knowledge to governments and other stakeholders across the world, so that they can better engage the public, including young people, in climate action.
“Education and public awareness are essential building blocks for a successful fight against climate change. We have seen in the recent past how important information and knowledge is for our ability as a global society to work together to take action against global threats such as climate change or the Covid-19 pandemic,” said UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa. “We are very happy to join hands with NRW in establishing this ACE hub. There is a lot of knowledge and experience in the region that we can draw from and many opportunities to build bridges between the local and global stakeholders engaged in ACE”.
“The world is looking for professionals who understand the challenges of climate change and develop solutions in their respective areas of expertise to counteract global warming,” said Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart, Minister for Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalisation and Energy of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia. “I am therefore very pleased that the ACE Hub is located in North Rhine-Westphalia and thus makes our outstanding capabilities – for example in the development and application of climate protection technologies – internationally visible and usable.“
The announcement follows on the heels of COP26 last month, where a 10-year work programme on Action for Climate Empowerment was adopted. ACE is a cornerstone of the global fight against climate change and seeks to promote and strengthen the role of education, training, public awareness, access to information, and public participation, as well as international cooperation around these issues.
Under the Glasgow work programme on ACE, it is the responsibility of every government and region to promote ACE implementation, but in many cases the knowledge and tools for working effectively on ACE are lacking or not readily accessible to everyone.
The ACE hub will start operations in 2022 and will include a range of activities, including developing guidelines and learning materials to support the work of national ACE focal points, organising an ACE academy for national ACE focal points, and delivering webinars, networking events and study visits in the region.
Youth has a special focus for the ACE hub and activities dedicated to support meaningful youth engagement will also be delivered, including an annual Youth ACE exchange and Hackathon to develop new ideas and solutions to increase awareness, education and participation in climate action.
The ACE hub is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between the NRW government and UN Climate Change and is the result of several years of discussions and informal collaboration in the areas of ACE, which was initiated at COP25 in Madrid in 2019.