Our UN-style model climate conferences inspire and enable students to ‘think globally, act locally’. Teams research and represent countries, presenting and passionately debating global challenges and achievements before engaging with local climate action.

Background

At the United Nations (UN) 2015 climate talks, world leaders from 196 countries agreed a landmark international treaty – the Paris Agreement – to keep the global rise in temperature well below 2 degrees Celsius. Countries signed up by providing their own national targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are causing global temperature rises and negative impacts around the world. 

The UN annual meeting in United Arab Emirates (UAE) 2023 was a global stocktake but the 6th Synthesis Report published by the world’s scientists ahead of the talks showed beyond doubt just how far off track we are saying that, ‘risks are increasing with every increment of warming‘ (IPCC 2023, p.17). 

World leaders representing nearly 200 nations at COP28 collectively committed for the first time to an energy transition that signals the ‘ beginning of the end‘ of the fossil fuel era. Renewable energy is to be tripled by 2030. Crucially for developing and most vulnerable nations, a much campaigned for ‘Loss and Damage’ Fund became reality.  

Later this year nations will come together in Baku, Azerbaijan working to enhance international climate cooperation. See regular updates here: COP29 Azerbaijan.

ICN led conferences

ICN has run over 60 climate conferences with secondary school students typically held with the support of local councils in impressive council chambers.  

This is a short film from one of our events and see the gallery below. 

Our UN-style conferences aim to: 

  • Enhance critical thinking about the global climate crisis  
  • Link directly to action in students’ communities and schools 
  • Inspire students’ own advocacy and climate action. 

Role-play methodologies bring to life critical climate negotiations and collaborations providing a multi-dimensional learning opportunity for secondary students. 

Guided by our resource briefings groups research and represent a range of countries, presenting their country pledges and climate challenges.   

After taking part in their own decision-making, students have the important opportunity to meet with and question local decision-makers about progress on climate action and what more schools can do.    

Contact us to find out more about holding a conference in your area: schools@interclimate.org

“I found it an amazing inspirational session that I really took a lot from.”

Student, 2023.

Run your own COP

ICN has made our tried and tested UN-style climate conference format into an award-winning resource that is adaptable and has already been used in a range of settings, including:   

  • Sequences of Environmental Science lessons culminating in classroom conferences 
  • Off-curriculum conferences across year groups, whole schools and across academy chains 
  • Virtual and live conferences with eco-school networks 
  • Conferences led by linked and partner organisations with other councils’ support. 

We provide free on-line training on how to run a climate conference aimed at teachers, older student leads and other facilitators. We also have a network of experienced facilitators who can support your conference (charged). 

Contact  schools@interclimate.org for more details.  

Please include us in any social media posts from your conference @InterClimate. 

“The three-lesson info on the website was very useful. Real solutions inform was particularly useful.”  

Teacher, 2023.

Skills and benefits

  • Greater comprehension of and critical thinking about global climate issues 
  • New knowledge, awareness of COP and perspectives on other countries 
  • Research, analysis and interpretation and debating skills, conflict resolution skills and teamwork 
  • Public speaking, articulacy and oracy, justification, and critical thinking skills 
  • Understanding alternative viewpoints in a complex environment 
  • Confidence, real world and ‘cultural capital’ 
  • Awareness of the bigger picture and need to involve more students in school. 

Resources & briefings

Click here for our free COP resource to hold your own high quality UN-style summit. It comprises teacher guidance, preparation activities and briefings.

Each year we update the resource to offer 16 country briefings that represent different perspectives and important groupings, with COP28’s selection shown here:  

LDCs/SIDS/Vulnerable (V20)BRICS* _________ Other Emerging EconomiesIndustrialised (HICs)
BangladeshBrazilChileAustralia
BarbadosChinaEgyptEuropean Union
Marshall IslandsIndiaIndonesiaUnited Kingdom
UgandaSouth AfricaUnited Arab Emirates **USA

* Alliance between Brazil, Russian Federation, India, China and South Africa. United Arab Emirates and Egypt are among six nations that will join this alliance from 2024.

**The United Arab Emirates had the Presidency of COP28.

Impact

See our review from our 2023 conferencesClimate Conferences 2023 take strides not baby steps! 

Reboot the Future Top Resource Award:

“The Top Resource Award goes to the five individual resources we’ve found to be the most helpful, inspiring and effectively designed. Your resource was selected because with students studying the key aspects of the climate crisis, the functions of the UN and learning to empathise with different countries’ situations, this offers a fantastic, multi-layered learning experience.”

Reboot the Future

Teacher feedback after Conference event:

Thanks for all of your time and effort in organising and hosting this event, it is one of the best activities I have taken part in with my eco group over the years. I like the fact that it is specific, focused, with an overall outcome at the end.”

Teacher, 2021 Conference

Reflection on using the resource in the classroom:

“Students were really engaged with the fact that the UK was hosting COP26 and were really interested in the causes and impacts of climate change, they had a lot of prior knowledge here. Students who had a connection to their country were far more likely to get passionate about their research, e.g. a boy with Indian family did amazing research into India’s position. There was a lot of excitement around familiar countries. Students definitely valued the opportunity to learn more about the issue of the day.”

Teacher, Devon

“It went very well, way beyond my expectations. The kids spoke a very good level of English, and were focused throughout the whole morning. I had an impression, that this generation is much more concerned about the issue.”

Balazs Nagy, Anthropolis, Hungary (I-CAN partner)

Feedback from students:

“It was a very fun and educational event and I would love to see more events like this.” 

“Thank you so much for this opportunity! I’ll never forget it!” 

“This was a great opportunity for me, I had lots of fun and I hope it is offered to other people in the future.”