Learning about climate change adaptation in agricultural high schools in Uruguay

Creation date: 21 Dec 2017

Building capacities for youth part of adaptation planning in agriculture

13 November 2017 - Recognizing the key role of youth in adaptation to climate change the joint FAO-UNDP Integrating Agriculture in National Adaptation Plans Programme (NAP-Ag) organized a series of capacity building activities at agricultural high schools across Uruguay. 

Rocío Guevara and Rafael Terra from the Interdisciplinary Center for Response to Climate Variability and Climate Change of the University of the Republic in Uruguay led the half-day program with the goal of raising awareness on the causes and impacts of climate change in agriculture and reflecting on the importance of adaptation, and exploring reliable sources of climate information.

During the first two sessions of this capacity building program, 62 boys and girls, aged 15 to 19, of two agricultural high schools located in Colonia Concordia, Department of Soriano and La Horqueta, Department of Colonia, analyzed the causes of climate change and the local impacts of the climate change and the consequences for dairy production, agriculture and farm living. The activities, organized with collaboration the agricultural high schools and in coordination with the Local Boards of the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries, will continue through 2018 in different regions of the country.

Role playing and group discussions helped to enable the students to identify and reflect on how climate change is relevant to their daily lives and to recognize measures that strengthen their adaptative capacity.  

Through their own experience students already recognize the effects of climate change on farm life and the increased variability of weather.

“We experience climate change every day … there may be droughts or there may be long periods of rain as we experienced this spring,” one child said. “Before winter was winter, spring was spring and summer was summer... In my opinion now weather events are more extreme.”

Students were introduced to climate information portals and the use of climate tools for decision making in agriculture. For example, students were shown which sources of information are reliable and how to interpret weather forecasts. Students used the internet to find sources of information that can help to plan crop operations or the next growing season or prevent weather impacts during lambing that can aid adaptation planning at the farm level.

As children better understand the causes and impact of climate change they will be better prepared to plan and respond to it. Youth are powerful agents of change and can contribute not only to adaptation but also to mitigation actions. The NAP-Ag project believes that empowering youth through education will ensure that they are better able to participate in decision making for adaptation and building resilience.