SADC EE Policy Audit
A recent SADC Environmental Education (EE) Policy Audit was carried out to determine the status of environmental education policy processes in SADC region. The policy audit was based on desk research, questionnaires and consultation with the stakeholders and had the following objectives
- To better understand the policy processes in SADC;
- To identify common elements in the development and implementation of policy;
- To identify constraints and opportunities;
- To look for gaps and needs in each country; and
- To propose a way forward for each country and for SADC sectoral level.
In assessing the present status of EE policy in the SADC region, both at the regional and national levels, it is clear that the concept of environmental education is still evolving. As priority issues affecting the SADC region e.g. poverty, HIV/ AIDS, pollution and waste management become more pressing, the region is challenged to see how best environmental education can contribute to resolving these issues. This SADC EE Policy audit report identified and recommended intervention/entry points for EE policy processes to address these issues.
The audit has shown that countries have pursued the development of environmental education policy at different rates and used different national documents as the basis for the implementation of environmental education in their countries. It has also shown that the countries share many features. Some of the general findings (conclusions) are as follows:
- The time range during which the main policy documents for the establishment of environmental education in the SADC Countries ranges mainly from the mid 90s to the present. Major International events have given impetus to this process, i.e. the World Congress on EE in Moscow (1988), the Earth Summit (1992), WSSD in 2002. These events have required the SADC countries to look at the status of environmental education in the preparation of country reports and to chart a way forward.
- SADC-ELMS have been instrumental in catalysing country initiatives on EE policy in the Region. The creation of a SADC Regional Environmental Education Programme, and specifically the establishment of a Regional EE Network of Representatives created an effective structure for communication on EE in the Region.
- The IUCN/USAID NETCAB Project, 1999?2001, designed specifically to address and develop environmental education policy in five countries within the Southern Africa Region, had a positive impact on the participating countries, i.e. Botswana, Malawi, Mauritius, South Africa and Zimbabwe by having them assess their policy status and continue moving the EE policy development/implementation process forward. It shows that different needs and opportunities for EE initiatives exist in each country, and the EE policy development / implementation process in the Region can, and should, vary widely.
- The establishment of a SADC Regional EE Centre was a major step forward in developing capacity in the region for environmental education policy development and implementation. Many people throughout the region have been trained in many aspects of EE (including policy).
- The SADC Regional EE Centre has been a source of ideas (through material production and training) with respect to the strategies and content for environmental education in the region. Of special importance with regard to policy, has been the development of the School Pack for the development and implementation of Environmental policy at individual school level.
- Most of the SADC countries have a Document that serves as a policy basis for environmental education. However, two major constraints exist: (1) some countries have had difficulties having these documents approved by Cabinet. (Some are still awaiting approval) and (2) Effective means for implementing these policies have been lacking and thus there is often a large time gap between development of the policy and its implementation.
- The support for EE by donor partners, such as Danida, and Sida has greatly facilitated important environmental education initiatives in the Region, especially the integration of Environment into school curricula. Some of the main initiatives in environmental education in the region were achieved through this type of donor?partner assistance.
The focus of EE in the Region has been to integrate environmental education into the school curricula. Careful study of most of the school curricula shows it to be still mainly on content and focussing on the biophysical such as soil erosion, deforestation, pollution in general rather than on process. However, some countries, including South Africa, with its activity-based learning engaging learners in taking direct action for environmental protection, the process of learning is gaining increasing emphasis.