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Queen’s partners with British Council on COP28 simulated negotiation

The event comes as University recently launched its Net Zero Plan to tackle the climate crisis, committing to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.

Dr Peter Doran, Lord Mayor of Belfast Councillor Ryan Murphy, Dr Amanda Slevin, and Jonathan Stewart with students at the Belfast City Hall event (Pacemaker Press International)

With COP28 starting today in the UAE, Queen’s University Belfast has partnered with British Council Northern Ireland to deliver a simulated climate negotiation with 100 sixth-form pupils from 30 schools across Northern Ireland.

Debating the global challenge of the climate crisis at City Hall in Belfast, the event saw the pupils play the part of world leaders, lobbying groups or media, in a bid to discover what it’s like to negotiate a real climate deal. 

The negotiations were led by Dr Peter Doran, Senior Lecturer in Law, from Queen’s University Belfast, who has over 25 years of experience in UN negotiations on sustainable development, and Dr Amanda Slevin, Director of the Centre for Sustainability, Equality and Climate Action at Queen’s University Belfast. Pupils also zoomed in to the event live from Egypt.

The event comes as Queen’s has recently launched its Net Zero Plan to tackle the climate crisis, committing to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. This ambitious target builds on the significant contribution the University makes through delivering world-leading research and education provision on sustainability, as well as its role as a social and civic leader in the transition to net zero in Northern Ireland and, more widely, on the island of Ireland.

Speaking at the event, Dr Amanda Slevin said:

Today at the City Hall, we’ve seen young people grapple with the challenges around global climate negotiations and work hard to reach a consensus. The experience has given them a great opportunity to learn more about the science behind the climate crisis and, through mock negotiations and discussions, discover more about what takes place at the COPs.

“Having worked with the young people today, it’s clear that they already have a fantastic grasp of the global issues we all face with climate change, and I hope today has inspired them to take these skills forward and keep pushing for action on climate change."

 Dr Peter Doran added:

"This event shows that while the global conversation on the climate crisis still falters, young people have the energy, drive, and ambition to focus and ask the hard questions. Today at the City Hall, we have had the privilege of working with future policy makers and global citizens, a generation who already know that activism for the planet is crucial”.



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