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Model UN event gives students voice on climate issues

By Bo Leung in London | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2022-01-29 03:05

(Video by Cui Chaoqun)

Students from 15 schools around the world took part in a virtual model United Nations event on Friday, where they offered their views on climate change.

The event, titled Good Cop Bad Cop, involved 140 students from China, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Ireland, who debated the climate resolutions agreed at the COP26 summit in Glasgow, Scotland last year.

The event's organizers wanted students to develop a greater understanding of what is involved in fighting climate change, and give schools around the world the opportunity to connect with schools in China.

The model UN conference was organized by UK-based educational charity Engage with China, which hopes to build China-literacy and develop global awareness in UK schools.

Theresa Booth, a director and trustee of Engage with China, hoped the conference helped students better understand that "all nations need to collaborate, listen to each other, (and) understand each other's challenges and specific needs".

She said such understanding is needed "if we are going to have any hope of successfully tackling global climate change, and this applies to other global issues like any future pandemics".

Feng Jialiang, counselor for policy research at China's embassy in the UK, said in a video message at the event that he would like to see continued international engagement and cooperation on climate change.

"We hope, all relevant parties, including the UK, will enhance cooperation and promote green developments, so as to protect mother Earth, our common home," Feng said. "Climate change and biodiversity loss are global challenges. To address these challenges requires solidarity, coordination, and cooperation and it also requires continued work from future generations."

Feng added that the model UN event provided a unique opportunity for students to learn more about multilateral processes, prepare for the future, and "make contributions to building a community with a shared future for mankind".

During the conference, students represented countries other than their own.

The six Chinese schools represented the European Union, India, South Africa, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and the UK, while a school from Ireland represented China.

Before splitting into different virtual rooms to debate different aspects of climate change, student delegates gave introductions and presentations.

King's Hospital School, from Dublin, Ireland represented Barbados.

The school's delegate said: "Climate change may not seem too real to those in other countries, but to countries like Barbados and my home country of Ireland, we live on islands and it becomes very real to watch the sea creep closer and closer every year to your homes and your livelihoods and will bring imminent deaths to billions of people around the world who live on low-lying lands."

The delegate from Shenzhen Foreign Language School in China, representing Saudi Arabia, said: "It's important to point out that climate change is happening now and it is a very serious threat to our climate. Fortunately, there are plenty of solutions to climate change, they are well understood … The implementation of climate-changing policies is a long-term process and cannot be implemented in one go."

The Marlborough College delegate said: "Climate change is an underlying threat to all nations, communities and individuals around the world and this is something that whilst not immediately apparent in all places needs urgent address … The very fact that students are here today to debate, evaluate, and reflect on the successes of the international community at COP26 shows hope for the willingness of future influential figures in effecting change and meeting targets."

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