UN ignites the fire on climate action in Eswatini

May 20, 2024

A panel discussion on the role of education in climate action held under the MTN Bushfire UN live dialogues.


The series of live dialogues, a collaboration between MTN Bushfire and the United Nations in Eswatini partnership, commenced on May 16 with a vibrant discussion on the pivotal role of education in climate action. Held at the Bushfire Amphitheatre in Malkerns, and facilitated by UNDP and UNICEF, the event drew over 100 stakeholders, including policymakers, students, educators, activists, experts, and development partners. 

The dialogue provided a platform for exchanging ideas and exploring unconventional solutions through arts under the MTN Bushfire, emphasising the importance of thinking outside the box in tackling climate change.

The objective of this dialogue was to create awareness and stimulate interest among stakeholders to participate in the development of the Long-Term Low Emission Development Strategy (LT-LEDS) to place Eswatini on a carbon-neutral development pathway. The LT-LEDS articulates the country’s aspirations, objectives, and targeted actions for sustainable development and climate adaptation and mitigation for the period 2025 to 2050 to produce Eswatini’s Climate Vision 2050.  The Climate Vision 2050 will outline Eswatini's pathway for a future that is both low in carbon emissions and resilient, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. 

The LT-LEDS is aligned to Eswatini’s climate action policy document also known as the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) submitted to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change following the country’s ratification of the Paris Agreement, aiming to limit global warming to well below 2°C, with efforts to keep it to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels. 

Part of the audience at the role of education in climate action live dialogue


The dialogue was led by a panel comprising the Director of Eswatini Meteorological Service, Duduzile Nhlengethwa-Masina, a representative of a civil society organization that focuses on the development of children and youth, Junior Achievement communication officer, Siphesihle Mkhonta, an environmental activist from the youth parliament, Zandisile Howe, and an artist and environmental consultant, Dane Armstrong.

Speaking at the event, Nhlengethwa-Masina said for the Eswatini to achieve Climate Vision 2050, the country must recognise the importance of education in addressing climate change and promoting sustainable development.

“We have what we call the Action for Climate Empowerment programme which we quite often refer to as ACE and some of the things in ACE talk to ensuring that there is a policy framework to enable education and awareness at all levels,” said Nhlengethwa-Masina, adding: “As the government, we are currently developing a bill that is creating that enabling space.”

The dialogue brought together policymakers, students, educators, activists, experts, and development partners.


Her submission stimulated interest among the panellists and stakeholders as they explored ways of integrating climate change education into formal and informal education systems, ensuring that future generations are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

“Science is at the centre stage of all SDGs, that is why we have to strengthen our national systems of innovation, research and education,” said Dr Rejoice Maseko, the Director of Science, Technology and Innovation under the Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology.

Mkhonta and Howe stated that the focus on empowering youth through education should be amplified by equipping young people with the necessary skills and knowledge to address climate-related challenges to foster a generation of proactive environmental stewards capable of driving meaningful change.

The dialogue served as a beacon of hope in placing education at the centre of climate action, highlighting the transformative power of knowledge and collaboration in fostering sustainable development. 

Other MTN Bushfire UN live dialogues will take place at the University of Eswatini, Kwaluseni Campus, as follows:

  • 21 May 2024, 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM: Understanding the Scope and Impact of Gender-Based Violence in Eswatini

  • 21 May 2024, 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM: Empowering Youth for Sustainable Development: Navigating Employment Challenges and Food Security in Eswatini

  • 22 May 2024, 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM: Tackling Dual Challenges: Enhancing HIV and AIDS & Key Population Inclusion Amidst the Fight Against Human Trafficking in Eswatini

  • 22 May 2024, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM: Building Resilient Societies: The Role of Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions in Sustainable Development