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Students learn life lessons in climate change debate

By XING YI in London | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-02-13 00:55

More than 200 students participated in an online Model UN conference organized by Engage with China on Feb 2. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Students from 23 schools around the world took part in the third Model United Nations Conference 'Good COP Bad COP', organized by British educational charity Engage with China, or EWC, on Feb 2.

Themed around climate change and the COP, or Conference of the Parties, the Model UN saw more than 200 student negotiators using their skills to find consensus on dealing with issues such as single-use plastics, fast fashion, and food waste.

The event, running for the third year, gave pupils from different countries, including China, the United Kingdom and Brazil, an opportunity to come face to face with students their own age from different backgrounds and life experiences.

EWC's co-founder Theresa Booth said that by representing another country at the conference, students were given a flavor of what real global negotiations are like, and appreciated that respect and good listening skills are essential if consensus is to be achieved.

Conference president Remi Livesey, a student at The Grange School in Cheshire, said: "The beauty of this type of (Model United Nations) debate is the chance to speak from another perspective … Everybody did an amazing job and it was a really good debate with some great points and some high-level thinking."

Theresa Booth, co-founder of Engage of China, speaks at the online Model UN conference on Feb 2 [Photo provided to China Daily]

Zhang Jin, minister counselor for education at the Chinese Embassy in the UK, said: "Facing global challenges, no country can solve it alone or remain unaffected; countries and peoples need to transcend borders and ideologies, work together to find common ground.

"I'm delighted to see you, young students from various countries, are trying to understand your peers from different backgrounds, respect these differences, and find solutions agreed and accepted by all."

Caroline Wilson, the UK's ambassador to China, also sent a video message to the conference, encouraging students to be young climate leaders and carry forward the UK-China collaboration on climate change.

H-J Colston-Inge, the other director of EwC, said: "To solve climate change the world needs innovators, cross-cultural cooperation and individuals who are committed to behavior change and to finding solutions to this existential threat to our planet."

Other speakers at the conference included Julian Hobbs from Vestas, producers of wind turbines, and George Harding-Rolls from Eco-Age, an agency seeking to create a post-plastic system and reduce individual plastic footprint.

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