GAUC ‘Climate x’ High Level Event Shines at COP28

2023-12-05 | GAUC

GAUC ‘Climate x’ High Level Event Shines at COP28

The Global Alliance of Universities on Climate (GAUC) held the ‘Climate x’ High Level Event at COP28, on December 3rd, 2023. This event was an important session during the COP28 GAUC DAY, showcasing and summarizing the progress of GAUC in empowering youth this year, while also highlighting China Pavilion’s Youth Day.

The Global Alliance of Universities on Climate (GAUC) held the ‘Climate x’ High Level Event at COP28, on December 3rd, 2023. This event was an important session during the COP28 GAUC DAY, showcasing and summarizing the progress of GAUC in empowering youth this year, while also highlighting China Pavilion’s Youth Day.


The event was honored to have XIE Zhenhua, China’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, and Patricia Espinosa, the former UNFCCC Secretary General, and LIU Zhenmin, the former UN Under-Secretary General, in attendance.


LIU delivered a speech on behalf of XIE Zhenhua at the high-level event. "I have participated in GAUC’s activities multiple times and have witnessed the positive efforts and achievements made by GAUC over the past four years, in promoting higher education's involvement in the global climate governance process," XIE affirmed GAUC’s progress in his address. He pointed out, "This COP will feature the first global stocktake since the Paris Agreement. The goal is to identify the overall gap between actions and targets, thereby accelerating transformative innovation, strengthening international cooperation, promoting the fulfilment of commitments by all parties, and striving to do better. Addressing climate change is a crucial area where global youth contribute to global development. "

image.pngIn her address, Espinosa expressed gratitude to XIE for his contributions to the global climate governance. She noted, "Climate change is the most difficult, complex and wide-ranging challenge ever faced by humanity. We must keep reminding ourselves of the fact that climate change cannot be addressed solely. I firmly believe that the young people have a pivotal role across the world, in accelerating the transition towards a cleaner, healthier and safer world."

LI Zheng, Secretary-General of GAUC and President of Tsinghua’s Institute of Climate Change and Sustainable Development (ICCSD), and Lord Nicholas Stern, Chair of GAUC Academic Committee and Chairman of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and Environment of LSE, shared their welcoming remarks with the guests.


On behalf of GAUC, LI expressed his gratitude towards the member universities and global partners of GAUC, and for the continuous support GAUC has received since its establishment. “The ‘Climate x’ Campaign, an initiative birthed by GAUC, seeks to illuminate the intricate synergy between climate change and the broader spectrum of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” LI said. “The ‘Climate x’ Campaign is not just a series of events but a testament to the potential that arises when universities, partners from varies sectors, and youth unite with a shared vision for a more sustainable and equitable world.”

image.pngStern expressed appreciation to Tsinghua University as the host of the GAUC Secretariat, for demonstrating leadership in rallying the efforts of member universities and cultivating future youth leaders in carbon neutrality. "The young people who are pushing us now are the drivers of the future. One important element of the ‘Climate x’ project points to the importance of collaboration. When they work together, they understand each other, they build relationships, they make friendships for the future. This will have enormous returns for climate and sustainability, and a better world," he said.

LI and Stern presented the graduation certificates to students of the ‘Climate x’ Leadership Training Program 2023. This year the program enrolled around 1000 students, from nearly 400 universities, in 78 countries and regions, with more than 80% hailing from the Global South. During the training program, experts from the member universities of GAUC and AUA, GAUC’s partners, as well as its 2022 Global Youth Ambassadors, presented around 50 online lectures and workshops. During the practise module of the program, students organized 300 events in their local communities, and engaged nearly 30,000 people worldwide.

image.pngKelly Dent, Director of External Engagement at World Animal Protection, FANG Yanhua, Chief Administrator of AUA Secretariat, and Deepali Khanna, the Vice-President of the Asia Regional Office of Rockefeller Foundation, each delivered a keynote speech in order to inspire youth through diverse perspectives.

“Congratulations to the students who have successfully completed the ‘Climate x’ Leadership Training Program!” said Dent. "In the face of the challenges of climate change, the role of young people is more important than ever. Let’s work together to build humane and sustainable systems that are better for animals, people and our planet. "

FANG shared her observations on the outcomes of the ‘Climate x’ Leadership Training Program and youth climate action in her keynote speech. "We are delighted to see that, with a deepening understanding of the climate change issue, young people can become agents of change by practicing what they have learned."

"The Rockefeller Foundation is privileged and proud to support GAUC in carrying out the ‘Climate x’ Leadership Training Program," said Khanna. "Young people have the unique blend of creativity, determination, and skills that is needed to lead substantive change. I urge each one of you to join hands with them to make a brighter, more meaningful, and more resilient world a reality."

Moderated by Alice HO, the Chief Youth Officer of GAUC, six GAUC Global Youth Ambassadors from 2023 training program  shared their experiences and takeaways with the audience during a panel discussion session, including Rounok Jahan Khan from Bangladesh, Chinazaekpere Ofodile from Nigeria, Soo Yu Han from Malaysia, Manal Bidar from Morocco, and XUE Yuhan and XU Qixuan from China.image.png

Following the success of the 2023 ‘Climate x’ Leadership Training Program, GAUC has formed its 3rd youth delegation for COP, the GAUC COP28 Youth Delegation. This year, the delegation comprised of 19 emerging leaders, including selected students from the ‘Climate x’ Leadership Training Program, the 2022 GAUC Global Youth Ambassadors serve as youth mentors, and dedicated students from member universities. During their stay at COP28, they are going to observe the climate negotiations, participate in side-events, and organize their own workshops. In the meantime, COP28 is the first time that GAUC has held its own pavilion in the Blue Zone of COP, located at B7-90. The young delegates are looking forward to partnering with youth and multi-stakeholders worldwide, to contribute to a net-zero future.


Reporter: Soo Yu Han

Editor: Cary Lee

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