USP students call for climate change action

Pacific Island students had a chance to engage in dialogue with United Kingdom’s High-Level Climate Action Champion, Nigel Topping in Suva on Thursday.

He was hosted at The University of the South Pacific Laucala Campus by the USP Students Association for a regional student and youth dialogue on climate action.

“I am very pleased to be hosted here at an institution owned and governed by 12 Pacific Island Countries, a unique setting in the region,” said Mr Topping.

“Since my appointment by the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, alongside the COP25 High-Level Champion Gonzalo Muñoz, we have established the Race to Zero – a global campaign to commit all actors to be net-zero by 2050, the Race to Resilience – a worldwide campaign to secure the resilience of four billion people by 2030, and the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ)- a coalition of existing and new net-zero finance initiatives.”

“I am very keen to listen to your work and ideas related to climate change in the Pacific region. I believe in our ability to innovate and collaborate to tackle climate change.”

Mr Topping talked of the role of the university in the Race to Zero and Race to Resilience global campaigns.

USP research student, Salote Nasalo, and the student president for the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development said leaders needed to invest in students from the region.

usp south pacific
Pacific Island students had a chance to engage in dialogue with United Kingdom’s High-Level Climate Action Champion, Nigel Topping in Suva. Picture: The University of the South Pacific

“Only then we will be able to unlock our potential fully. It is not us that you will be investing in, you are investing in the future that needs to be resilient and sustainable for our people and the planet,” she added.

This was the first visit by Nigel Topping to the university campus. He was in the country for two days.

High-level climate action champions

At the COP21 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, governments agreed that mobilising stronger and more ambitious climate action is urgently required to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.

To connect the work of governments with the many voluntary and collaborative actions taken by cities, regions, businesses and investors, nations decided to appoint High-Level Champions.

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Over the past two years, the High-Level Champions for COP25 and COP26 — Gonzalo Muñoz and Nigel Topping — established the Climate Champions Team to help deliver on their mandate to enhance ambition and strengthen the engagement of non-state actors in supporting parties, working with the Marrakech Partnership, to deliver the goals of the Paris Agreement.

In February, the Climate Champions welcomed Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin as the UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for Egypt.

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