The British Council During COP26 Discloses: 8,000 Young People Around the World want and are able to tackle Climate Emergency but lack opportunities to do so

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The 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), with over 196 leading countries, from 31 October – 12 November 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland, to jointly discuss the guidelines each country can utilize to tackle the climate emergency.

The COP26 is an international conference to agree upon the climate change goal and policy to keep the global average temperature from rising above 1.5 degrees Celsius, the main cause of climate change, with the main goal to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emission by 2040.

Mr Scott McDonald, Chief Executive of the British Council, said that the British Council, as the UK’s international organization for cultural relations and educational opportunities, has initiated “The Climate Connection” programme, an international programme that the British Council jointly works with its partners in connecting and building trust between countries and communities, and empowering people to address the climate emergency and tackle the climate crisis through art and culture, education, and the English Language, with a particular focus on young people aged 11 to 35. The programme supports young people to gain the skills and connections they need to address climate challenges. Through the Climate Connection, which was launched at the beginning of 2021, the British Council has reached almost two million people online and directly engaged with over 2,000 young people to date, including indigenous communities, artists, academics, scientists, and creative innovators, to find long-lasting, innovative ways to tackle multiple issues relating to the climate crisis.

The British Council initiatives being showcased during COP26 include

  • Fashion Open Studio x COP26 Fashion Studio showcasing 9 young designers from the Global South, with ‘Bhukram’ from Thailand as one of the selected.
  • The Climate Connection Higher Education and Cultural Policy Roundtable Series, exploring the multiple roles the higher education and culture sectors play in combatting the climate crisis. There were two representatives from Thailand including Dr Kannika Thampanishvong from TDRI and Asst. Prof. Dr. Romyen Kosaikanont from SEAMEO who joined the ASEAN session.
  • A global MOOC for English teachers building capacity in how to integrate climate-themed issues into English language teaching by providing online courses for English teachers globally to develop the ability to introduce the environmental subject into English classes. More than 550 Thai English teachers have joined the webinars and enrolled for these online courses.
  • Green Careers Fair at COY16 and a Green Careers Guide supporting young people to build successful careers that help the planet through advice on education opportunities and routes into green jobs.

“One of the most important highlights of this event is the showcase of the ‘Global Youth Letter on Climate Action’, with the voices of 8,000 young people across 23 countries who would like to be a part of tackling the challenges of climate changes. The report found that whilst young people are willing and keen to make meaningful contributions, many lack the opportunities to do so. Whilst 75 per cent of respondents reported having skills to deal with climate change in their communities, 69 per cent had never participated in climate action. These findings have contributed towards COY16’s Global Youth Statement, which will be formally presented to Minister Alok Sharma MP, COP26 President on 5 November as part of the Young and Future Generations Day at COP26,” added Mr Scott.

Ms Helga Stellmacher, Director of the British Council Thailand, commented that the British Council has been involved in many projects as part of The Climate Connection Programme since April 2021. Seeing Thai English teachers, policy makers in higher education, fashion designers, and young Thai people take part in this global programme is a good sign that the climate issue is being seriously addressed in Thailand. In parallel with COP26 happening in the UK, there are a number of ongoing projects under The Climate Connection in Thailand, include the ‘UK and the Climate Change’ pavilion which is part of the National Science and Technology Fair currently taking place at Impact Arena Muang Thong Thani, and two social innovation projects in Nang Loeng, developing capacity of creative hubs to deal with waste management and to sustainably improve the quality of life in the community. We hope that even though The Climate Connection Programme and COP26 are coming to an end, there will be a long standing legacy from our projects which will continue to facilitate systemic sustainable changes accordingly.

For more information, please visit www.britishcouncil.or.th and Facebook Page: British Council Thailand