On June 3, the British Council announced the launch of a new global campaign to address the climate emergency in the lead up to the COP26 summit in November. On an online launch event, the Climate Connection: Conversation for Change, explored the climate emergency with speakers including the Rt Hon. Alok Sharma MP COP26 President-Designate, author and activist, Neil Gaiman, and Stevie Spring, Chairman of the British Council.
During his recent visit to Bangladesh, which coincided with the British Council’s launch of the Climate Connection, a session was held between the Rt Hon. Alok Sharma MP COP26 President-Designate,and five youth climate activists from the British Council’s networks.
He said ‘Young people are critical contributors to climate action as agents of change, entrepreneurs and innovators, so I have been delighted to hear from climate activists here in Bangladesh. The next decade will be make, or break, and we need everyone in if we are to tackle the worst effects of climate change and protect our planet for future generations. The British Council's Climate Connection will crucially unite people from across the world around this important goal’.
Launched in the week leading to World Environment Day, the Climate Connection will run until the COP26 summit in November to bring together people from around the world to share their ideas and perspectives on climate change, and to look for solutions using education, art and culture, and science. It will offer global conversations, art and science showcases, university scholarships, funding, research, and training opportunities.
The UK will host the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland from 1 to 12 November. The British Council is supporting the UK government’s ambition for COP26 to be the most inclusive ever by using its global networks to inspire millions of people around the world to take action against climate change.
A British Council survey of almost 40,000 young people aged 18-34 across 36 countries, including the G20 countries, found that climate change is perceived by them to be the most important issue facing the world today.
Kate Ewart-Biggs, British Council Interim Chief Executive, said: ‘The British Council is proud to support COP26’s aims to unite people around the world to tackle climate change. Through our Climate Connection campaign, we will draw on our expertise in education, the arts, and cultural exchange, to support people everywhere to find innovative solutions to the biggest global emergency we face.’
The Climate Connection initiative includes the following projects involving Bangladesh: Research on youth perceptions on climate change, Challenge grants for young people to undertake climate themed social action projects, teaching materials focused on integrating environmental sustainability into the classroom, Creative Commissions on arts and climate and international networking opportunities for city corporation mayors to discuss climate-related challenges they are facing.
Tom Miscioscia, Director British Council Bangladesh, said: ‘Addressing climate change is a key priority of the British Council in Bangladesh, we deliver a broad range of initiatives designed to support young people (with a particular focus on women and girls), to actively contribute to the climate change discussion; deliver projects to address local and national climate challenges; and support educational opportunities, with the goal of developing a future pool of climate change leaders and activists.