ClimACT Project

ClimACT was a three-year, European Union funded project that aimed to support the transition to a low carbon economy in schools.  The University collaborated with four partner institutions from Portugal, two from France and another two from neighbouring Spain.

The University of Gibraltar has been a proud partner of the ClimACT project.

The project sought to build upon ongoing school activities, by converting existing practice into shared school experiences. It also involved pilot testing and trialling alternative teaching and learning resources and approaches. The activities aimed to raise environmental awareness and educate pupils and adults in sustainable practice.

The ClimACT project has been funded by the Interreg Sudoe Programme through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The programme awarded €993,096.31 to the project.

The SUDOE Programme encourages inter-regional cooperation within South-western Europe.

Project start date: 1st July 2016
Project end date: 30th June 2019


University of Gibraltar

The Gibraltar component of ClimACT has been led by the University of Gibraltar, underpinned by a partnership between HMGoG Dept. of Education (DoE) and HMGoG Dept. of the Environment, Heritage and Climate Change (DEHCC).

The tripartite team worked closely with teachers and environmental experts to investigate ways of embedding sustainable education as a whole-school approach, in conjunction with developing and trialling environmental performance assessment tools in local schools. As the leading local partner, the University coordinated the implementation of the two project strands: technical environmental audits and educational activities; liaised with international partners and reported to the Programme Authorities.

Project Partners

With the support from

Gibraltar EU Programme Secretariat


ClimACT Project Timeline

June 2019 | ClimACT project ends on a high

The University’s collaborative ClimACT project won a ‘Sustainable Energy Award’ at a prestigious ceremony in Brussels. The victory came just days before the three-year, EU-funded project came to a close in June.

The EUSEW 2019 Awards acknowledge the crucial role of the private and public sector, NGOs, national and local authorities in working towards a climate-neutral Europe. ClimACT, which has seen Gibraltar collaborate with institutions and schools from France, Portugal and Spain won in the awards’ Youth Category.

The University of Gibraltar has managed the project locally, underpinned by a partnership with both the Department of Education, and the Department of the Environment. During its three-year lifespan, the ClimACT project has supported activities that encourage education for sustainable development across Gibraltar’s schools.

To mark the end of the project, the University hosted an ‘End of Project Seminar’ in June which was attended by over thirty teachers. The seminar celebrated ClimACT’s progress and certificates were presented to schools in recognition of their achievements, dedication and commitment towards embedding sustainable principles in schools’ ethos and curricula.

While ClimACT officially finished at the end of June, its legacy will continue. Speaking of the future of the project, Amaia Fernandez, the University’s European and International Funding Officer said, “One of the biggest wins for the ClimACT project will be the legacy it leaves behind. Schools have embraced the activities and the local working party has set the pace for lasting changes across Gibraltar’s schools. In the short term, two teachers from the working party have been selected to attend a high-level training on education for sustainable development in Helsinki in July. We also hope to keep this forum going by meeting regularly to exchange ideas and as a support network.”

May 2019 | Final conference

Following the successful seminar held in September 2018 in Gibraltar, where international delegates took part in workshops relating to schools’ role in sustainable development, partners celebrated the completion of the three-year project by holding an international conference on the 9th and 10th of May in Lisbon, Portugal. The two-day conference comprised a variety of seminars and activities.

In recognition of the progress and achievements made in Gibraltar, the ClimACT conference welcomed the participation of local delegates to showcase their success stories around the topic of sustainability and education. The group also incorporated student representatives of the Young Enterprise (“YE”) programme, which has seen a significant increase in environmentally themed projects over the years.

Amaia Fernandez, from the University of Gibraltar, updated the audience on how the ClimACT methodology has inspired local schools, the progress made and its legacy. Accompanying video footage illustrated the local impact of this initiative. She said: “This event has emphasised the significant progress made in Gibraltar. Teachers have built their support network and students and ancillary staff are now an active part in achieving Sustainable Schools. The credit goes to schools, for their ambition towards making a change in Gibraltar”.

The YE students brought ‘The Ambient Project’ and ‘Compass Direct’ companies to Lisbon and presented their products to the international audience: the Betty bee book to teach young children about the environment and Walkit, a chemical-free formula to wash away dog faeces, respectively. The groups performed international sales following their presentations. The programme also saw stage performances by students including dance, music and acting disciplines, through which they expressed the impacts of climate change and actions to reduce the carbon footprint at schools. Students representing the YE groups found this experience rewarding and fulfilling. Kristina Hewitt from Westside School said “it was such a great experience” and Finley Bradford from The College said “thanks for the opportunity, it was class and you made it all qualify”.

Teachers attending the conference were determined to engage beyond ClimACT and hope to continue their international network in the future. Schools are delivering activities that impact on both the curricula and ethos, developing  critical thinking and emphasising the learning outcomes behind each action. Teachers are reinforcing their professional competences and empowering other colleagues. Mrs Jackie Linares, Education Adviser attending the conference said “students have represented Gibraltar in an international forum. I hope they are inspired to keep up the campaigning to stop climate change and to encourage people to live their lives in a way that will allow future generations to also have a good quality of life. Us adults have also learnt a lot and have brought back ideas to share. We have strengthened our ties with other like-minded educationalists from France, Spain and Portugal. Young Enterprise students have helped us to do this. We are very proud of our young ambassadors.”

ClimACT has facilitated a support network to assist the framework for Sustainable Schools Gibraltar. The partnership with both the Department of Education and the Department of the Environment has been instrumental in achieving the success of the initiative in our community. As a result, meeting and working dynamics with schools, which are now secured and normalised, are expected to continue beyond the project’s lifespan.

October 2018 | Brussels event
The ClimACT project won second prize in an EU-organised event, which was held on the 10th October in Brussels. The ClimACT delegation included staff from University of Gibraltar and a local student, as well as students and representatives from the partner institutions across Portugal, France and Spain.

In the framework of the ‘European Week of Regions and Cities’, ClimACT was one of just six projects from across Europe shortlisted to take part in the international competition Interreg Talks: Six projects, one Slam! The finalists presented high-impact projects, by performing and showcasing their respective results, in an attractive and original way.

ClimACT presented a short video followed by an on-stage performance by students from Gibraltar, France, Portugal and Spain in which they stressed the impacts of climate change and gave examples of actions undertaken at their respective schools to reduce their carbon footprint. The audience cheered and greeted the performers very warmly.

Amaia Fernandez, International and European Funding Officer at University of Gibraltar, said: “Being at the event in Brussels really brought home what combining research and educational approaches can do to influence schools’ ethos and curricula. ClimACT is an excellent example of international collaboration and shared school experiences. Achieving the 2nd Prize award in a still ongoing initiative recognises the tangible results it has attained already. ClimACT works alongside schools and we could not have had better ambassadors of the initiative than the students themselves”.

Students were delighted to be part of the delegation and be at the forefront of education for sustainable development. Among the students was Lauren Gear, a 12 year-old pupil from Westside School proud to represent Gibraltar at the Brussels event “I like having the opportunity to represent my country and my school.” French student, Clélia Bondi also enjoyed the experience stating “I like to be here because I can learn English, and I discovered Brussels. I like also to represent the ClimACT project to save our planet.”

ClimACT has been a three-year, European Union funded initiative that has supported activities to foster education for sustainable development. Locally managed by the University, the ClimACT project has sought to build upon ongoing school activities, by supporting a change of culture, embed sustainable development in schools’ everyday life and educate students and adults in sustainable practice.

The project entered its final stage with an end date of June 2019. However, as a result of the successful partnership with both the Department of Education and the Department of the Environment, in-school initiatives and learnings shall continue beyond the project’s lifespan.

September 2018 | Gibraltar Seminar
The Hon. Minister Gilbert Licudi welcomed over 40 international delegates to the University to launch a two-day ClimACT project meeting.

ClimACT has been a three-year, European Union funded initiative that has supported activities that encourage sustainable development in education. It has seen the University of Gibraltar collaborate with four partner institutions from Portugal, two from France and another two from neighbouring Spain.

Minister Licudi addressed an audience that included the ClimACT partners, representatives from schools, senior staff from the Dept. of Education, the Dept. for the Environment, Heritage and Climate Change as well as colleagues from the European Programmes Secretariat. During his address, Minister Licudi praised the ClimACT partners on their progress to date and thanked local stakeholders for their involvement in the initiative. He said: “This collaborative project is of huge importance to Gibraltar generally and to the University of Gibraltar. We have for several years, introduced various initiatives through our schools aimed at educating our children on the need to move towards a low carbon economy. The partnership between the University of Gibraltar and international institutions through ClimACT allows us to exchange experiences and ideas with educational establishments in other areas.”

Locally, the ClimACT project has sought to build upon ongoing school activities, by converting existing practice into shared school experiences. Some of the activities linked to the project include Sustainability Weeks; the running of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle campaigns and plastic-free initiatives in local schools.

ClimACT has served as a good practice example of combining environmental, research and educational approaches to facilitate the integration of sustainable development in curricula, raise environmental awareness and educate students and adults in sustainable practice.

The progress meeting saw delegates taking part in workshops relating to education for sustainable development and featured discussions about environmental assessment tools between researchers and teachers. Delegates visited local schools to meet the pupils and teachers involved in the project and experienced some of the outcomes first hand.

2017/18 Academic Year | Local Working Groups
During the 2017/18 academic year, the project gathered momentum, coinciding with major Educational developments undertaken by the Government, which saw the building of new schools and the realignment of Key Stages. Gibraltar is well-placed to lead by example and become a centre of Education for Sustainable Development.

July 2018 | RegioStars nomination

ClimACT was amongst the European RegioStars Awards finalists in Category 2 “achieving sustainability through low carbon emissions”. RegioStars Awards identify good practices in regional development and highlight original and innovative projects that are attractive and inspiring to other regions.

ClimACT was nominated as good practice example in promoting Low Carbon Economy (LCE) in the educational sector, by way of combining research approaches looking at environmental performance of schools with educational approaches facilitating the integration of sustainable development in curricula.

July 2018 | Project Slam selection

In addition to the RegioStars Awards, ClimACT was shortlisted to present at Project SLAM 2018.
In the framework of the ‘European Week of Regions and Cities’, the Project Slam session presented high-impact Interreg projects in an entertaining and easy way to the audience attending the EU Regions Week. The presentation took place on the 10th October in Brussels.

ClimACT involved entire school communities in the transition to a low carbon economy, and without a doubt, students were the best ambassadors of the initiative. As such, selected ClimACT students presented the project at Project SLAM, representing the four countries participating in the project (Portugal, Spain, Gibraltar and France), ranging from First schools to University.

June 2018 | Sudoe Conference
ClimACT was chosen from amongst hundreds of Interreg projects to be showcased as a unique example of how effective international cooperation can impact education for sustainable development at a local level. As a result, the Gibraltar strand of the ClimACT project was presented at a key territorial development conference held in Brussels on the 6th June.

The conference took place at the European Committee of the Regions in Brussels and celebrated the 15th anniversary of the Sudoe Programme. The event saw members of the European Parliament, representatives of Directorate-General of the European Commission and Head of Units of Regional Policy and Regional Development.

The work facilitated by the University, including the Department of Education and the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Climate Change has been key in amassing strong local support from the Government, schools and environmental stakeholders.

Jackie Linares, Education Adviser, updated an expert panel on the project’s success to date, and highlighted that “ClimACT has brought the opportunity of working closely with teachers and environmental experts. The project has facilitated having school representatives gathered in one room, discussing sustainable education and exchanging ideas. ClimACT is assisting us in doing this ground work and setting up a solid structure to ensure that the initiative continues beyond the project’s lifetime”.

June 2018 | World Environmental day

The Word Environment Day held on the 5th June 2018 at the Commonwealth Park saw the University promoting sustainability and engaging with young students. The ‘Wash & Squash’ theme of the University’s stall proved popular with students. ClimACT community outreach at its best!

February 2018 | Sudoe Calendar entries

ClimACT-inspired drawings by two pupils from St. Bernard’s First School in Gibraltar were selected to feature in the 2018 Interreg SUDOE calendar. The Interreg SUDOE programme asked pupils from Spain, Portugal, France and Gibraltar to produce drawings based on the project, so drawings reflected environmental issues and promoted sustainability in school.

Inka Gronowska’s drawing was the back cover and Faith Medina’s was July. Calendars were distributed amongst all countries participating in the SUDOE programme (Gibraltar, France, Spain and Portugal) so the fact that Gibraltar was represented through these ClimACT drawings was quite a significant and remarkable achievement.

February 2018 | Bayside environmental week
Amongst the awareness raising campaigns led by schools, Bayside Comprehensive School held its Environmental week from the 19th to the 23rd February 2018. During that week all teachers included at least one lesson linked to the environment in their respective subject. The week included an ‘Open day’ in which ClimACT and local NGOs participated in community outreach activities and engaged with students.

January 2018 | Progress meeting in Madrid
The local ClimACT project team were in Madrid in January to attend a progress meeting. During the two-day visit, Gibraltar delegates presented and shared information on their progress, and discussed their experiences of engaging with school communities. Delegates then visited two participating schools in Alcala de Henares to learn how they had integrated sustainability throughout their curricula.

Catherine Walsh, Energy Officer at DEHCC, attended the trip and said “The ClimACT meetings were extremely useful in crystallising the aims of the project and identifying ways in which education for sustainability can be fostered in schools. Visiting participating ClimACT schools and seeing the positive results of their efforts was very encouraging and served to demonstrate how numerous small initiatives can add up to make real changes.”

June 2017 | Progress meeting in La Rochelle
In June 2017, delegates from the University and local schools travelled to La Rochelle to meet with partner institutions. The Gibraltar partnership presented its work on the project to date outlining its two-track approach. On-site environmental audits in local schools, assessing schools’ performance in parameters related to energy, water usage, comfort and indoor air quality, waste management, transport patterns, green spaces and green procurement practices has been conducted by the DEHCC.

In parallel, the University of Gibraltar convened a working group of Gibraltar-based educators from First, Middle and Secondary schools, with the objective of identifying educational activities and methodologies that could make use of the data collected by DEHCC to raise environmental awareness, engagement and transform practice. This education for sustainability strand was of great interest to international partners.

March 2017 | Project Launch
The project was officially launched in Gibraltar at the University in March 2017 with representatives from local supporting bodies in attendance including the Minister for Education, Environment, Heritage & Climate Change, Dr John Cortes. He commented, “This project is significant in bringing together Education with Environment and Sustainability, and also demonstrates the importance of EU funding in providing added value across a range of disciplines.”

January 2017 | Progress meeting in Seville
The project partners held their first progress meeting at the University of Seville. The meeting introduced delegates to technological devices that assist with energy efficiency, as well as the various educational tools which included educational games, building of solar powered devices, short movies, books and a theatre script to embed education for sustainable development into the core curriculum. Guidelines on how to conduct environmental audits in schools were also presented. The latter would help assess parameters related to energy and water usage, indoor air quality, waste management, transport patterns, green spaces and green procurement practices.

September 2016 | Grant Awarded
Signature of the Grant Agreement by the project coordinator and SUDOE programme Authorities took place in Santander (Spain) at the start of the month. This was closely followed by the official kick-off meeting, which took place in Lisbon at the end of September, in which the member institutions met and set out their plans for the years ahead.