Davos – 23 Jan, 2019 – 8 global universities have expressed their shared commitment to combat climate change. A joint statement, made in Davos at the World Economic Forum, represents a commitment to establish the Global Alliance of Universities on Climate (GAUC). Among its key objectives, GAUC will facilitate greater levels of collaboration on climate issues, greater engagement with climate stakeholders, and the promotion of environmental practices by universities, in line with United Nations conventions on climate change and Sustainable Development Goals.
GAUC – the first university grouping of its kind – is made of: Australian National University; University of California, Berkeley; University of Cambridge; Imperial College London; London School of Economics and Political Science; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; University of Tokyo, and Tsinghua University, with the intention of including more universities in the coming years.
“This initiative is welcomed by the World Economic Forum. Through this grouping, universities will mobilize their resources, research and scientific findings, and increase their ability to disseminate knowledge and build consensus throughout the world.” said WEF spokesperson.
“The historic commitment that we are exploring today is a pivotal step to making an even greater collective impact. We believe leading universities should play a leading role in shouldering the responsibility to tackle the most challenging issues confronted by humankind. The Global Alliance of Universities on Climate will be a unifier of higher education grassroots climate action to encourage universities around the world to address climate change as a core part of their mission.” said Qiu Yong, President of Tsinghua University.
The official joint statement issued by GAUC is below.
Joint Statement on the Co-Founding of Global Alliance of Universities on Climate
Global climate change endangers lives and livelihoods across the world and the ecological security of the earth’s species, including humans. Cooperation in tackling climate change has fostered broad-ranging agreements, including at the UNFCCC COP21 in Paris in 2015, and concerted grassroots action around the world. Universities shoulder an increasingly important role. Underpinning the critical nature of this role is the capacity of universities to generate actionable scientific and technological research, inform policy development and implementation, disseminate knowledge and culture, cultivate leaders of the future and build understanding among people from all walks of life. Strong action is urgently needed; it must be international, well-founded analytically and evidence-based.
These universities, meeting at Davos, January 2019, are working on plans for a Global Alliance of Universities on Climate (GAUC) as a mechanism for exchange and cooperation, specifically to lead efforts from global higher education to examine the technical, social, psychological, institutional and economic issues of climate change and how practical action can be implemented.
As universities of global impact, GAUC members are committed to the initiation and support of actions which are required to respond to this global challenge. Joint actions could include but are not limited to:
1. Encourage universities around the world to address climate change as a core part of their mission;
2. Advance global understanding and commitments on climate action through greater engagement with climate stakeholders;
3. Strengthen cooperative links that promote research, policy development and implementation, technological innovation and public awareness on climate issues;
4. Strengthen cooperation on climate change in the creation of relevant knowledge and skills, including the development of related training and education programs;
5. Advocate and support low net-GHG emissions campus practices, and promote the adoption of world-leading environment practices by universities around the world consistent with the Sustainable Development Goals;
6. Develop fora designed to share knowledge and promote key GAUC objectives.
The progress of the plans for the co-founding of the GAUC reflects the shared understanding achieved between the co-founding university leaders, professors and key faculty members from climate-related disciplines. The co-founding members have jointly issued this statement on 23 January 2019, and express their shared commitment to address one of the greatest challenges facing humankind.
Australian National University
University of California, Berkeley
University of Cambridge
Imperial College London
London School of Economics and Political Science
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
University of Tokyo