Competencies for climate action, and how to acquire and develop them?

Session questions(s):

Reflecting on existing frameworks (also critically), what are the competencies needed to advance climate change mitigation and adaptation in society?

Thinking about different forms of education, in what context can we expect to develop the needed competencies?


Session description:

The discussion revolved around existing frameworks of climate change and sustainability competencies and skills, and their implementation in different levels and forms of education. We discussed the concept of competencies—individual and collective—and the wicked problem of climate change from the viewpoints of different cultural contexts and scientific backgrounds of the participants. The group consisted of researchers and students from Finland, but also elsewhere from Europe and Africa.


Session lesson(s):

– The competencies and skills for societal transitions and climate change mitigation and adaptation are highly context specific, and therefore comparison studies between different geographical, political and cultural contexts would be important and useful to increase the impact of competency/skill frameworks.

– We called for climate oriented anticipatory governance, which would tackle the dilemma of working in unmatching cycles of politics, economics, research and climate.

– Keeping up the momentum of continuous collective development and learning!

– Specific skills highlighted in our conversation: repurposing and finding meaning for existing structures; learning how to focus, hence how to find yourself in the middle of all the mess

– More critical perspective to education in needed; going back to reasons to find solutions; allowing organic process of visioning

– The interesting question remains: in what context can the ideal of climate competence be reached? Is it even possible?


Session keyword(s):

climate change mitigation; anticipatory governance; critical education; competencies


Joula Siponen

INAR, HELSUS, University of Helsinki

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