Background

At the recently concluded COP11 in Hyderabad, India, with regard to Strategic Goal C of the COP which looks to improve the status of biodiversity by safeguarding ecosystems, species and genetic diversity, the decisions vide Target 11 states that by 2020, at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water areas and 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well-connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and integrated into the wider landscape and seascape.

With this increased focus on marine issues reiterated by the COP11 discussions and decisions there is also a need for special emphasis on education for biodiversity conservation in Marine Ecosystems particularly amongst children and youth. For the same reason it is also necessary to look at exchange between countries to establish linkages.

It is in this background that Centre for Environment Education has conceptualised an education project for Education for Marine Biodiversity Conservation for schools in Gujarat and Australia.

The Global Citizenship for Sustainability (GCS) project of CEE Australia was an exciting and challenging new way for school-communities in Australia and India to learn about sustainability by identifying issues that concern them locally and then sharing these concerns and possible solutions with each other over several months of shared project work. The GCS project aimed to develop a model of exchange and engagement across diverse cultures, and in countries at different points in the development continuum, with a view to achieving a commonality of purpose and an understanding of the values and skills that will support our search for a more sustainable future.

GCS Marine will focus on Marine Biodiversity Conservation. “Project 1600”has been named such because the coastline of Gujarat is 1600 kms and schools in Gujarat will be invited to select study areas anywhere in the entire coastline of the state.

In Australia schools who are interested in getting involved in the program will be invited to work on a coastline covering 1600 kms, identified in the coasts of Queensland and New South Wales.