British Council launches The Climate Connection global campaign to address climate emergency ahead of COP26

June 4, 2021 at 4:57 PM

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The British Council has today announced the launch of a new global campaign to address the climate emergency in the lead up to the COP26 summit in November.

The Climate Connection campaign will 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.

The Climate Connection, which launches in the week leading to World Environment Day on 5 June and runs until the COP26 summit in November, includes the following initiatives:

  • 17 Creative Commissions bringing together people from the UK and 28 countries to explore climate change through art, science and digital technology. These creative projects address issues such as climate migration, plastic pollution, costal erosion, deforestation, biodiversity, landscape, air pollution, wildfire and melting glaciers.
  • Green Careers, supporting young people to build successful careers that help the planet, through advice on education opportunities and routes into green jobs.
  • On 3 June the British Council hosted The Climate Connection: Conversation for Change, a free online event exploring the climate emergency. Speakers include COP26 president, Alok Sharma, and author and activist, Neil Gaiman.

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.”

British Council Sri Lanka has a number of projects planned as part of the Climate Connection Campaign:

Social Action Projects
Over the years, through the British Council’s youth empowerment programs many activists, influencers, and leaders continue to identify social and environmental issues in their communities and have mobilised community members to provide solutions through Social Action Projects to benefit nearly 200,000 community members. The British Council’s social enterprise programme has contributed to create greater awareness about socio-environmentally friendly business models in Sri Lanka and to develop an enabling eco-system in the country.

Evidence based climate action plan
The British Council believes in the enormous potential of youth to contribute to the creation of societies that are resilient to climate change. However, there is a lack of data and evidence to understand youth perceptions, attitudes, challenges, and readiness to combat climate change. Therefore, the British Council has undertaken a South Asia region wide research to understand youth perspectives. The findings will contribute to climate change related programming around youth and climate action.

Education Series
The British Council will host panel discussions on climate change by experts from the arts, culture, and education sectors. Further, career and skills webinars to raise awareness amongst secondary school students, university students and graduates of the importance of green jobs and connected career routes.

British Council Sri Lanka Country Director Maarya Rehman said: “We are extremely excited to champion a diverse array of climate action initiatives in Sri Lanka through our extensive youth network, partnerships with national and provincial institutions, non-government organisations, and sector experts. Through The Climate Connection campaign, we are bringing together young people to address climate change and discover how we can tackle climate change together. Change can only happen when more young people are actively involved to collaborate and innovate across borders and generations. The British Council builds bridges, connects communities to combat climate change together, contributing to the COP 26’s race to zero, and ensuring it is the most inclusive ever through our work in art, culture, English and education”

The British Council is the UK’s cultural relations organisation, creating opportunities for people globally to connect and engage with each other through the arts, education and the English language.