The climate time-bomb is ticking. While the failed rainy seasons in the Horn of Africa drove millions of people into starvation, extreme rainfall in West and Central Africa displaced 1.3 million people. These are just two of the many extreme weather events that the world endured in 2022. According to UN Secretary-General António Guterres, the 6th Synthesis Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC AR6) “is a clarion call to massively fast-track climate efforts by every country and every sector and on every timeframe.”
To further rally the climate endeavor of its member universities as well as to finalize its annual strategic plan, GAUC held the 2023 Executive Committee and Academic Committee Meeting on April 28th, 2023. During the meeting, members of the GAUC Executive Committee and Academic Committee exchanged ideas on the future governance structure of the alliance, discussed the key annual topics, and shared insights regarding GAUC’s working plan in 2023.
Professor YANG Bin, the Chair of GAUC Executive Committee and Vice President of Tsinghua, restated the consensus reached at the 2022-2023 GAUC Board Meeting and expressed his appreciation towards GAUC’s 15 member universities. “The dedication and commitment of our member universities are indispensable to the climate actions that GAUC has managed to pool since its establishment. Let’s join our hands tightly once again and contribute the collective efforts from higher education to the cause,” he said.
Lord Nicholas Stern, Chair of the GAUC Academic Committee and Chair of the Grantham Research Institute at LSE, expressed his gratitude to the GAUC Secretariat. “I wanted to express my thanks to the GAUC Secretariat for all the work that they have done.” Lord Stern then emphasized three key elements in addressing climate change: the urgency of taking action, the importance of international actions, and the role of climate actions as the driver of development. In February, LSE’s Grantham Research Institute, which he chairs, released a new report with partners titled ‘Embracing the New Paradigm of Green Development.’ “Climate is deeply interwoven with our economics and our development prospects around the world,” he emphasized, “Our actions towards net zero will also drive development.”
LI Zheng, the Secretary-General of GAUC and President of the Institute of Climate Change and Sustainable Development at Tsinghua (ICCSD), briefly reviewed the achievement of GAUC’s ‘Climate x’ Campaign in 2022. Dr. WANG Binbin, the Executive Secretary-General of GAUC then presented GAUC’s working plan to GAUC Executive Committee and Academic Committee. During the discussion session, attendees exchanged ideas on GAUC’s strategy for 2023 and beyond. The session was moderated by Lord Stern.
In 2023, GAUC is going to further update its strategy based on the conclusions reached at the GAUC Board Meetings, which was held on February 28th this year. Building on the success of the ‘Climate x’ Campaign in 2022, the alliance will adopt ‘Climate x’ as its overarching theme across activities. In addition, GAUC will strengthen research collaborations and expand the training program for youths worldwide.
In 2022, GAUC launched the ‘Climate x’ Campaign to empower youths to lead the way in addressing climate change, with a special focus on the synergy between climate change and all the other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Thanks to the contributions from GAUC’s 15 member universities in 9 countries at 6 continents, the Campaign featured a three-level structure at national, regional, and international level, with diversified flagship projects.
The Climate x leadership training pilot, co-initiated by Sciences Po and Tsinghua, with courses contributed by 8 members, successfully cultivated one hundred GAUC Global Youth Ambassadors from GAUC member universities; The African Regional Forum on Climate Change, organized by Stellenbosch University, generated regional influence and momentum for COP27; The Global Youth Climate Week, co-initiated by 100 global partners, became a milestone mechanism; During COP27, member universities of GAUC organized eight events on GAUC Day, and 17 GAUC Youth Ambassadors formed the GAUC Youth delegation which amplified young people’s climate voices to international leaders.