BEIJING, PARIS and STELLENBOSCH, South Africa, Sept. 5, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — 2022 is unusual in many aspects, as expressed by Todd Stern, the former special envoy for climate change of the United States, in a recent interview. From the extreme droughts resulting in famine in the Horn of Africa to the heat waves across Europe and the flooding in Asia, 2022 shows the world what this ‘code red’ of climate change is like.
It is crucial to prepare today’s youth to lead global climate governance in the future, as well as to engage the society as a whole in this cause, especially with a perspective focusing on the synergy between climate change and other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), if we are to succeed in building a sustainable net-zero future for all.
The Global Alliance of Universities on Climate (GAUC) was established in 2019 to provide leadership of global higher education efforts to address climate change. Today it consists of 15 of the world’s leading universities from nine countries and across six continents. By launching the ‘Climate x’ Campaign, GAUC aims to offer a systematic solution to the progress of global climate governance and a concrete contribution to the success of COP27 by preparing the youth, promoting a synergetic approach, and mobilizing the multi-stakeholders.
"This is a time of enormous challenges. Our health and well-being, peace and prosperity, and nature itself are under threat. The most pressing problems confronting nations are ultimately global in nature, and they demand global solutions. The focus of the ‘Climate x’ campaign is an excellent example of this," said Amina J. Mohammed, the UN Deputy Secretary-General, in her address during the launch of the campaign.
The campaign, which pools the collective strength of GAUC’s 15 member universities, features a three-level structure: a national program of ‘Climate x’ Leadership Training Pilot (the Pilot) co-initiated by Sciences Po in Paris and Tsinghua University in Beijing; a regional event of the African Regional Forum on Climate Change organized by Stellenbosch University, GAUC’s only member university in Africa; and three events at the international level, namely the Global Youth Climate Week, the GAUC Climate x Summit, and the GAUC COP27 high-level event.
The youth plays a vital role
Climate change is a challenge that will cast long-lasting impact over our descendants in the future, which makes youth the backbone of the net-zero future.
Ahead of the campaign’s official launch, the Pilot program enrolled and cultivated over 150 students from GAUC member universities, forming the first cohort of GAUC Global Youth Ambassadors. Those students, divided into 21 interdisciplinary and cross-culture teams, have developed innovative solutions, ranging from digital games and mobile applications to panel discussions and community engagement, which will be featured during the campaign.
Synergetic approach is essential
Climate change is closely intertwined with all the SDGs and holds transforming power over broader social and economic sectors, making a synergetic approach that integrates the realization of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda essential in building a sustainable net-zero future. Considering the trending global topics, GAUC distinguished four areas to focus the synergy with climate change in 2022, namely Sustainable & Secure Energy; Finance; Nature, Biodiversity & Food; Adaptation & Resilience.
The campaign’s regional event, the African Regional Forum on Climate Change (ARF) will be a hybrid event from 5-9 September 2022, covering topics such as food and water security, disaster risk reduction, sustainable and reliable energy, and the impact of climate change on people and businesses. Leading up to the COP27, ARF aims to provide a platform for engaging multiple institutions and stakeholders in climate change science and its applied social and policy implications in Africa.
Getting the whole of society on board
The success of the cause requires getting on board society as a whole. In 2021, GAUC’s Climate x Summit attracted over 1.25 million participants worldwide during the COP26. In 2022, the three-level structure of the Climate x Campaign is going to engage even more multi-stakeholders.
At the launch ceremony, GAUC extended the invitation to global organizations and institutions to co-initiate the Global Youth Climate Week. Scheduled ahead of each COP, it is a mechanism that GAUC proposed to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to coordinate the actions of the youth for more impactful contribution. Ms. Patricia Espinosa, the then Executive Secretariat of UNFCCC appraised that the proposal would provide an impactful contribution to the UNFCCC process by mobilizing and institutionalizing the efforts being made by global youth in the response to climate change.
For more information about GAUC, please visit: https://gauc.net/