COP21 ministers called to strengthen university and college education partnerships
The collective voice of the world’s universities, colleges and students must be heard at COP21 when the United Nations Climate Change Conference takes place in Paris, France, during the first week of December. This evening (Wednesday 14 October 2015), COP21 Secretary General, Pierre-Henri Guignard, will be handed an Open Letter, at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, conveying this call on behalf of a global alliance of networks and associations representing more than 6000 universities and colleges worldwide. The Open Letter will be handed over by representatives of the global alliance, including the GRLI, the EAUC and HESI, and has been signed by major tertiary and higher education sustainability and student networks and associations on every continent.
In the letter to COP21 Ministers and negotiators, governments are urged to acknowledge and strengthen the research and education role that universities and colleges play in finding and implementing solutions towards climate change mitigation and adaptation, placing it in the context of addressing wider issues of sustainability, including social and economic policies and practices. The letter also proposes more specific measures to be implemented, such as showcasing universities and colleges as living laboratories for climate change adaptation and mitigation, increasing support for transdisciplinary learning, teaching and research approaches and using university and college campuses and operations as a leverage agent to accelerate the transition to clean energy sources.
The event in Paris will be hosted by The Higher Education Sustainability Initiative — HESI — which was created by a consortium of UN entities UNESCO, UN-DESA, UNEP, Global Compact and UNU in 2012.
John North, Managing Director of the Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative, a strategic partnership of business schools and accreditation bodies focused on transforming management education in partnership with business:
“Global responsibility has been on the agenda of business schools, companies, global accreditation bodies and corporate universities worldwide for a number of years. The rapid emergence of an informal global alliance of this magnitude and the message it conveys is unambiguous and urgent — put the talks to bed, act in a globally responsible way by partnering with universities, colleges and students to mobilise climate action.”