Both the government and many private organizations have started projects to bring more attention to and prioritize environmental issues in Uruguay. International organizations, especially those associated with the United Nations, have been fundamental in funding new projects. In addition, there is strong legal protection of the environment in Uruguay which can facilitate broader environmental education programs.
Policy & Practice
The 47th article of the Constitution of Uruguay says that “the protection of the environment is a general interest”. The 11th article of the General Environment Act establishes that “[t]he public entities will promote the formation of an environmental consciousness within the community through activities of education, training, information, and promotion tending towards the adoption of a behavior consistent with the protection of the environment and sustainable development.” The same act mentions that the National System of Education has to “consider cross-cutting features among which it is found… the environmental education for the sustainable human development.”
EE in K-12 Curriculum
Although the Education Act establishes that environmental education has to be considered in the National System of Education, environmental education is not a particular feature of formal education in Uruguay. In this context, the government has promoted the creation of programs such as the National Plan of Environmental Education with the objective of including environmental education in the K-12 curriculum.
There is not a certification program for environmental educators in Uruguay, but there are some other options for professional development related to environmental education. The Ministry of Education offers regional courses in environmental education through the National Network of Environmental Education for the Sustainable Human Development (RENEA). In higher education, the University of the Uruguayan Republic offers a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Management and the Institute of Improvement and Higher Studies (IPES) offers a master’s degree in Environmental Education.
The National Network of Environmental Education for the Sustainable Human Development (RENEA) was created in 2005 and works with the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry of Housing, Land Planning and Environment to promote activities regarding environmental education.
EE in National Government
The Ministry of Education and Culture created the branch of Environmental Education in 2003 to oversee national initiatives.
National EE Campaigns and Funding
Uruguay is an active participant in the regional efforts to promote environmental education, such as the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and projects of the Organization of American States (OAS). Most of the environmental education funding comes from international organizations such as the United Nations system. The funding is usually designated to specific programs such as Environmental education for the sustainable local development and Environmental Education of the National Administration of Public Education.