​The pilot project Implementing a Whole-School Approach to Climate Change was launched in 2016 as part of the Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) with the goal to introduce a whole-school approach to ESD and to transform schools into climate-friendly institutions.

Over a period of two years, each of the 266 participating ASPnet schools developed and implemented their own climate action plan, which targeted teaching content and methodology, school governance, campus and facility management, as well as cooperation with local partners and communities.

School activities included, for example, elaborating monitoring tools to measure energy consumption, creating artwork or handcrafts from waste material, developing initiatives for solar panels, constructing school gardens and eco-walls, reusing sewage water, using alternative modes of transportation to school, planting of local species and setting up vegetarian days at school canteens.

The pilot showed that the whole-institution approach to ESD had a strong positive impact on students’ attitudes, behaviours and actions towards sustainable development and lifestyles, as well as on how they perceive their schools and the role they play in their community. Generally, students changed their attitude and thinking towards climate change – identifying it as a global issue, requiring compounded local actions – and strengthened their environmental conscience. Moreover, in some countries, results and lessons learnt from participation in the pilot project supported recent national initiatives for the integration of ESD into national curricula.

Building upon the positive experience of the teachers and students in the participating countries, the implementation of a whole-school approach to climate change will be expanded to the entire ASPnet.