On Friday 28 May, the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission and Chevening co-hosted a workshop focusing on climate change, sustainable development, and climate mitigation delivered by climate and international development specialist and Managing Director of AccessEd, Katie Booth. The workshop, ‘Approaching COP26: Climate change and sustainable development in a warming world’, was part of an ongoing programme of events and activities on climate action organised across HMG Scholarships in the lead up to the COP26 Summit in November 2021.

We were pleased to welcome 35 Commonwealth and Chevening Scholars to reflect on the impact of climate change in their regions and the challenges of implementing mitigation and adaptation strategies.

Envisioning the future: climate scenarios and mitigation measures

The workshop built on Scholars’ current knowledge and research on climate change and the discussions explored the scope of sustainable development in the context of their home countries. The key findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the COP26 Goals formed a major part of the discussions during the session.

Video conference screen with presentation slides and participants.

Scholars participating in groups discussions during the workshop

The workshop opened with small group discussions in breakout rooms where Scholars considered future climate scenarios and discussed possibilities for preventative action within their own country context.

Following on from this, Scholars engaged in a series of larger group discussions on the two-way links between climate change and sustainable development, and mitigation and adaptation measures in the context of their own research. The breakout room and group discussions allowed for reflective and critical conversations between Scholars on the cross-over between mitigation and adaption in their research. This opportunity for knowledge sharing helped Scholars to generate a better understanding of the benefits of mitigation measures and highlighted the potentially detrimental climate impacts of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth.

Looking to solutions: a climate call to action

Video conference screen showing keynote speaker Simeon Abel and presentation slides.

Simeon Abel of the World Bank Group and PollPool delivering the keynote address

The final section of the event featured a keynote address by Simeon Abel, Consultant at the World Bank Group and Co-founder of the online survey sharing platform PollPool, on disaster risk finance and the implications for climate change. The keynote address focused particularly on climate finance efforts by the World Bank Group and the forward-looking initiatives to support climate-resilient development through targeted interventions and advice.

This was followed by a climate call to action led by CSC Communications Manager Hannah Openshaw, inviting Scholars to get involved in the ongoing programme of activities taking place ahead of COP26:

  • Make a pledge for the #OurClimatePledge social media campaign.
  • Nominate a friend to pledge action as part of our ‘Pass the baton’ social media activity coming soon.
  • Set up a virtual working group to organise actions on climate change, share knowledge and research, and create an ideas network to support solutions across countries and regions.
  • Look out for the next edition of the CSC’s Common Knowledge magazine on the theme of climate change landing in June 2021.
  • Send in your climate change research/extracurricular work profiles to us! We want to share the great work Scholars have doing to support climate action and will feature the best submissions on our website and in future publications.

The workshop closed with final words from Katie Booth, who urged Scholars to continue the insightful conversations begun during the workshop and take personal pledges, research, and collaborative discussions to help tackle climate change.

Our thanks go to Katie Booth and our training providers at AccessEd for delivering this workshop. AccessEd is a non- profit organisation committed to supporting postgraduate researchers in their professional development and university access programmes to increase social impact globally.

If you have been involved in climate change action or research that you would like to share, please contact us at engage@cscuk.org.uk to find out how we can help promote your work.