Our UN-style model climate conferences inspire and enable students to ‘think globally, act locally’. Teams of students represent various countries, researching, presenting, and passionately debating their challenges and achievements. Then they move on to learn what actions they can take themselves and in their schools.
At the United Nations (UN) 2015 climate talks, world leaders from 196 countries agreed a landmark international treaty – known as the Paris Agreement – to keep the global rise in temperature well below 2 degrees Celsius. Countries signed up to national targets to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions which cause global temperature rises, and the resulting negative impacts on human society and the natural world which are happening already, and will worsen in the decades to come.
In Glasgow in November 2021, countries of the world will meet again at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) with the goal of accelerating action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement. COP26 is widely recognised as a vital opportunity to step up global ambition at a moment when time is running out to take bold action.
Bringing secondary school students closer to global climate negotiations
Inspired by these critical global negotiations, we have run climate conferences with secondary school students for over a decade to bring them closer to the international decision-making process, and to inspire local action. Our conferences are typically held in local council chambers and provide a multi-dimensional learning opportunity for students to:
- Engage in UN-style negotiations on global progress since the Paris Agreement
- Experience decision-making and question local decision-makers
- investigate a range of local organisations’ ideas to inspire their own climate action.
For information on previous conferences click here.
Resources & Briefings
- In preparation for the conference, students will receive background briefings to the UN processes and COP26, country briefings and a summary overview of countries’ progress.
- Students will also be asked to identify their ideas and pledge climate action that could make a difference in their school, thinking particularly about the four conference themes and identifying how these can be supported within RCCP strategy.
An evaluation and write up of the Conference will be available, including via ICN’s website (See 2019 example School Climate Conference, Reading – InterClimate Network).
The first part of the conference is designed to model the United Nations Conference of Parties. Teams of students from local schools represent nations from Bangladesh to the USA. In 2021 there is a special focus on bringing elements of the COP26 process given the hosting of the conferences in Glasgow, and ever more pressing need for nations at COP26 to ratchet-up commitments for more ambitious global action.
Local Action Workshop
The focus in the second part then turns to local climate action and how students can make a big difference. This year we are focusing on four themes (as above). Local experts share their expertise and heard ideas for student-led action in school. For example, in 2019 ICN secured the involvement of Mike Barry, previously head of Plan A at Marks & Spencer, as an inspirational speaker for the Reading conference on taking action.