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New Chinese, German and Hindi language editions of the Environmental Education Kit to Combat Desertification will shortly be available to ASPnet schools along with the five existing language versions (in English, French, Spanish, Arabic, and Russian).

This innovative educational resource material, which consists of a teachers guide, a compilation of case studies, cartoons and a poster, was first developed and launched by UNESCO in 2000 in collaboration with the Secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) to respond to the need to raise public awareness of this pressing environmental problem.

Thanks to funding provided by the Governments of, Italy, Monaco and Switzerland, and with a contribution to the Arabic edition made by the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), trainees, teachers and their 10-to-12-year-old pupils in some 37 countries (particularly those most affected by desertification) have been able to learn about the causes and effects of desertification and the techniques to minimize land degradation. Along with useful information, the kit carries a positive message: desertification is not inevitable and everyone, at his or her own level, has a role to play in the Earth’s future.

The UNESCO New Delhi office is coordinating the Hindi version of the Kit and it is currently being translated and is expected to be available in the coming months. The Chinese edition, now in preparation, will eventually be distributed among ASPnet schools by the UNESCO Beijing Office and the Chinese National Commission for UNESCO. The German version, coordinated by the UNCCD headquarters in Bonn, and funded by the German government, will soon be available for distribution. All in all, these new editions represent a fitting start to the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.

To obtain a copy of the Environmental Education Kit to Combat Desertification; please refer to UNESCO’s online catalogue (www.unesco.org/publications) and in the printed updated 2004 version. The kit costs 30 euros.

For further information please contact: Thomas Schaaf at t.schaaf@unesco.org

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