Select Committee on Environmental Audit Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum from Environmental Campaigns (ENCAMS)



  Eco-Schools was launched as a direct consequence of the Earth Summit in Rio and has flourished ever since. It is now in 23 European countries. The United Nations Environment Programme is actively considering endorsing Eco-Schools as its recommended schools environment programme. In fact there was a meeting in Frankfurt last month Donald W Kiarnu Director of Environmental Policy Implementation UNEP to forward this.

  The UK plays a leading role in Eco-Schools and has more schools involved than any other European country. ENCAMS would love the Prime Minister to use Eco-Schools as an example of a successful initiative borne out of Rio and which is a major success story for the United Kingdom when he attends the Rio+10 Earth Summit in South Africa. The initiative has secured more than a £1million from landfill tax credits to further promote Eco-Schools over the next three years and it shows that we can work in partnership with our European neighbours!. As I said before it really is a success story and worth celebrating so any help you could give us to secure the Prime Minister's support would be very welcome.

  Eco-Schools was developed in response to the growing need for concerted action on Local Agenda 21, adapted for appropriate coordination by schools themselves working with their local communities. An initiative of the Foundation for Environmental Education (in Europe) piloted in 1995 with support by the European Commission, the programme quickly gained popularity as an ideal way to achieve the objectives of improved local environments, better community structures, and enhanced environmental awareness and decision-making potential of young people. The approach has been to link education and awareness raising with results oriented action. Today, Eco-Schools is a leading international programme environmental education, management and certification, with more than 6,000 schools taking part in 23 countries, 2,500 of those being in the UK. The United Nations Environment Programme is actively considering endorsing Eco-Schools as its recommended schools environment programme.

  The Eco-Schools Green Flag award is a recognised symbol and label of high achievement by schools. What sets Eco-Schools apart from other programmes focusing on strictly environmental objectives, however, is the participative approach, involving children and youth in problem identification, discussion and resolution, together with teachers, other schools staff, parents, and other community stakeholders. This sets the background for citizenship education. The potential of this programme to develop the concept of Citizenship, especially with the opportunities in networking with other schools internationally, has been recognised by the Council of Europe's North-South Centre. The Centre awarded Eco-Schools the "Global Education Award"; the first time such was offered to a programme principally in the area of environment.

  Eco-Schools follows an environmental management system approach, with 7 basic steps, from the formation of an Eco-Committee through to reporting and disseminating information to the community. Energy, Water and Waste are the basic themes practised in every country, but other environmental themes are focused on in some countries

Eco Schools in the United Kingdom

    —  The UK, is the largest national programme with over 2,500 participating schools, Transport, School Grounds and Healthy Living are just some of the extra issues supported.

    —  Newly registered schools entering at about 50 a week.

    —  SET (Sita Environmental Trust) funding renewed for a further 3 years from July 2001—includes extra funding for three part-time Eco-Schools Officers to cover England, who took up post on 17 September. £1,065,000 in total for the three year sponsorship.

Eco-Schools in Europe

    —  6,000 schools taking part in 23 countries.

    —  The United Nations Environment Programme is actively considering endorsing Eco-Schools as its recommended schools environment programme.

    —  The number of schools which attain the flag in Sweden has been considered by the Environment Ministry as a premium indicator for trends towards sustainable development, alongside ISO14001 and EMAS certifications.

Why are UNEP considering Eco-Schools

    —  good overall programme with sound participative methodology;

    —  professional programme delivered by network of professional organisations;

    —  quality is controlled and maintained by organisations and through national commissions;

    —  already international, supported by an international structure, and with the possibility to expand to other world regions;

    —  although it mostly covers environmental issues, the potential for citizenship education as well as other aspects of sustainable development (ie natural resource conservation, poverty eradication, etc) is quite high.

February 2002

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