Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in Al Dhafra Region and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD), Abu Dhabi will host the 12th World Environment Education Congress (WEEC) for the first time in the region. The congress has been planned in collaboration and coordination with the Abu Dhabi Convention and Exhibition Bureau of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi.

WEEC, which is one of the most important events and conferences in the field of environmental education in the world, will take place from January 29 until February 2, 2024, under the theme ‘Connecting People, Creating Tomorrow.’ The hosting of the congress by EAD was officially announced during the 11th edition of WEEC in Prague, Czech Republic, in March 2022.

The congress is an important international event for people who work within the field of environmental education and sustainable development, as well as those with an interest in it. The congress will address the role and significance of education for environmental work and sustainability at all levels, in both official and informal education.

It also provides an opportunity for researchers, educators, students, decision-makers, as well as those working for NGOs or working in the media field, to learn more about a range of significant topics pertaining to the environment and sustainable development.

The congress will feature several personalities from around the world discussing environmental issues, providing a valuable opportunity for those who want to share or present their own work. Furthermore, the congress will help to increase investment in the use of information technology in the areas of open education, distance learning, and knowledge dissemination for all.

Her Excellency Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary General of EAD said: “We are honored to represent Abu Dhabi in hosting the 12th World Environment Education Congress, a significant event that brings together a diverse group of experts and professionals committed to disseminating environmental education ideas. We all know that the potential to instigate change in any society begins with the adoption of environmentally responsible behavior, which can only be accomplished through environmental education. We are fortunate to live in an era where governments have begun to establish policies and plans that prioritise the environment at the top of their national agenda. We are also fortunate that more members of the community are becoming conscious of the need of environmental preservation to rescue the planet.”

She added: “This conference gives an opportunity to activate and strengthen EAD's position in the field of environmental education, as well as to activate environmental and sustainable development policies. In line with the UAE Centennial 2071, the congress also contributes towards the exchange of local, regional, and global educational experiences, to promote a competitive economy based on innovation, whilst encouraging investment in the country's youth. This will equip them with skills and knowledge that respond to rapid changes and transform educational institutions in the country into global research centers.”

Ahmed Baharoon, Executive Director, Environmental Information, Science & Outreach Management: “I am extremely grateful that the Organising Committee of WEEC selected my country, the UAE for the momentous occasion of hosting WEEC 2024. We are thrilled that an event as significant as WEEC will be on our home turf, and we will work endlessly to ensure that it is a huge success and inspiration for positive action towards the conservation of the environment.”

He added: “We respect and encourage the exchange of information and dialogue between experts and those who are interested in the field of environmental education, whether they work on an individual or institutional level. This is because we know what a vital role education plays in creating awareness of significant topics that threaten our planet. It is only through education that can we mitigate the effects of negative behaviour that directly harms our precious environment, and this is the role of all of us working in this field. Events like WEEC facilitate the development of policies and initiation of projects that can help us protect nature.”

WEEC, which is held every two years, is one of the most important global events that brings together environmental educational experts on an international level. They meet to review best practices, experiences, and research on environmental education methods and outcomes under the supervision of a scientific committee representing all continents and with the help of a national committee from the host country.

Individuals, institutions, networks, and alliances involved in environmental education utilise the congress as a venue for exchanging knowledge and discourse.

Since 2003, the network has hosted ten worldwide conferences, with thousands of participants from over 100 countries, including university professors, government officials, international organisations, journalists, political representatives, foundations, and NGOs.