Climate Change is one of the most important issues at the center of national economic development and global governance.
To mobilize the strength of youth and practice the responsibility of higher education in tackling climate change, 12 universities across six continents jointly established the Global Alliance of Universities on Climate (GAUC) in May 2019. Three universities joined the alliance soon later.
In September 2019, the GAUC Graduate Forum was initiated, providing global youth with a platform to exchange ideas and receiving recognition from both within and beyond the academic arena. Nearly 400 young scholars from over 50 universities across six continents participated so far.
2021 marks a crucial year in advancing climate action. The IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report is a clear evidence that unless there are decisive actions together with rapid, sustained, and large-scale reductions of greenhouse gas emissions today, the goal of limiting global warming will be beyond reach tomorrow. To further address climate change, more and more countries and sub-national stakeholders announced their goal and pathway to carbon neutrality/ net zero.
Youth is the backbone of carbon neutral future. Against the backdrop of climate emergency and with the support of our member universities, GAUC is going to undertake a more active role in mobilizing the leadership of youth and demonstrating the collective strength of higher education institutions by upgrading the 3rd Graduate Forum into the Global Youth Summit on Net-Zero Future.
To synergize the momentum of climate actions brought by the global major climate events including New York Climate Week, the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15), and the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), the Summit is scheduled from late October to early November 2021, in a hybrid form that integrates both online and offline events.
Forum website: www.climatex2021.gauc.net
II. Basic Information
Leading organizers: Imperial College London, the University of Cambridge
Co-organizers: Columbia University, the University of Oxford, Yale University, and Tsinghua University
Strategic partners: COP26 Universities Network
· Opening Ceremony: 25th Oct., 2021
· The Summit: 26th – 29th Oct., 2021
· COP26 GAUC High-level Events (Board meeting & Award Ceremony): 5th Nov., 2021
III. The Theme
The Summit is themed "Climate X", to emphasize the close interconnection between climate change and other UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the transforming impact climate change holds over other areas.
Integrate with other trending global topics, the Summit will focus on the interconnection between climate and four areas: Nature & Biodiversity, Food & Health, Energy, and Transportation.
In addition to those areas, the summit also welcomes youth to initiate their field of interest, to study and explore its interconnection with climate change.
Considering the importance of global climate governance, the summit encourages the youth to submit papers, innovate solutions or share voices from the perspective of public policy.
IV. Summit Structure
The Summit will hold three tracks this year, namely: Academic Track, Action Track, and Voice Track, calling for youth’s ideas and solutions in different forms, to further expand the influence of the strength of youth, the Summit, and the GAUC.
1. Academic Track
The academic track calls for academic papers from the graduate students within and out of GAUC. Columbia, Oxford, Yale and Tsinghua will each host a themed forum during the summit:
Abstract (between 1000 and 2000 words) submission deadline is September 12th. Preliminary review result will be announced on September 24th. If the abstract is accepted, the author will be invited to the summit, must prepare a 3-minute verbal presentation during the Summit (Oct 25th~29th), and submit a 15-munite presentation in a short video format for the sake of review and publicity on social media by October 8th . Candidates advancing to the second-round review to compete the Best Paper Award must also submit the full paper and plain summary by October 8th.
Submissions are not limited to unpublished researches. Published results are acceptable as long as they are original researches within one year of the submission date. Unpublished researches are encouraged and will receive bonus points in the evaluation round. All submissions must be in English.
Students who receive Best Paper Award will be issued certificates and also be invited to the GAUC High Level Award Ceremony on November 5th during COP26 together with presidents of GAUC member universities and global climate leaders.
2. Action Track
Building a Net-Zero Future requires innovative solutions. The Summit initiate the Action Track this year to call for actual solutions from the youth by holding a 5-day, 7-hour Hackathon, organized by Imperial College London.
During the Hackathon, students from different GAUC universities will team up with each other and come up with climate solutions with the guidance of the mentors and through immersive study, brainstorming, and discussions with each other.
3. Voice Track
To bring the voice of the next generation to the global arena, the Summit also initiate the Voice Track. In partnership with COP26 Universities Network, the track calling for short video clips from global youth on their ideas, suggestions, and actions towards climate change.
V． Agenda of the Summit
To further maximize the influence of the Summit, a series of events will be held, aligned with the momentum brought by the most influential climate events, including the Climate Week NYC, CBD COP15 and COP26.
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