SAGE MethodSpace is a place where you can learn about trends in research, and ways research can contribute to a better world. Over the next couple of weeks, while the United Nations Bonn Climate Change Conference is underway, we will be sharing news about researchers who are contributing to this important event. Register on MethodSpace to receive new posts by email, or visit the environment tag to see the series.
Impact is surely the buzzword of the moment in research circles. We are increasingly concerned about how to ensure that scholarly work has relevance and value to the world at large. One way to create genuine impact is by offering empirical foundations that policymakers, educators, and practitioners can build on when making decisions or designing and implementing programs. The new Universities Network on Climate Capacity (UNCC) will serve this important purpose.
The UNCC will launch on May 9th during an official event at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meetings held from April 30- May 10, 2018 in Bonn, Germany. This new entity is suggesting membership criteria, formalizing objectives and planning initial activities during this 2018 launch. The UNCC is also being introduced later this year at conferences in Malawi and South Africa.
What is the Universities Network for Climate Capacity?
The UNCC is a global organization of higher education institutions committed to working on capacity building and climate change policy. The UNCC’s core mission is to employ university resources to build capacities to deal with climate-related challenges, particularly in developing countries. The UNCC’s core principles include diversity, inclusion, engagement, sharing, and problem-solving.
Why is the UNCC needed? While universities play active important roles in conducting research and proposing policies, they have been less involved in work that directly influences setting policies or engaging in mitigation and adaptation activities on the ground. Countries and organizations working to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) frequently do not have the capacity to conduct the necessary research to support their activities. The UNCC is designed to help fill these needs at a global policy level and at the country or organizational level to support that work.
UNCC members will offer help to countries, communities, NGOs, and universities while partnering with these people and institutions to expand their own climate change research capacity. The exchange will enable universities that need further capacity on a climate change topic obtain assistance from other network member universities; to support in-country and in-region universities to provide leadership for building in-country climate capacity. Given that the Sustainable Development Goals are at the heart of the Paris Agreement and cross all disciplines, contributions by a wide variety of science and social science researchers will be included.
Some of the UNCC’s tentative objectives include:
- Stimulating collaborative efforts between universities that are engaged in capacity building about climate change issues
- Enabling universities that need further capacity on climate change topics to obtain assistance from other network member universities
- Offering support to countries, communities, NGOs, and other organizations by providing research needed to support progress towards achieving the SDGs and related activities
- Engaging with and supporting UNFCCC committees and bodies
- Developing university capacity to design and implement culturally responsive teaching and training programs on climate change, especially community-based adaptation.
- Collaboratively contributing to climate response actions with and for the most vulnerable at all scales, including community-based adaptation methods and frameworks.
Who leads the UNCC?
A Steering Committee with members from four continents guides the UNCC. A shared Secretariat leads the Steering Committee with offices at Independent University Bangladesh and Oregon State University (USA).
Once the UNCC has launched, interested parties will be invited to share their ideas and contribute in ways that will enable this effort to positively impact decisions that affect everyone, but particularly those most vulnerable to climate and environmental change. Look for ways to participate in this important network to be announced during at the May 2018 meetings in Bonn, Germany.
Dr. Lynn Wilson, presenter for SAGE video Transformational Leadership in Sustainability: Challenges and Opportunities with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is a member of the UNCC launch and steering committees. As the founder and CEO for the NGO SeaTrust Institute, she will bring expertise with global research and the practical application of education to international environmental issues to this fledgling network. With her help, MethodSpace readers will learn about the development this exciting network and its implications for researchers who want to make a difference.
See posts here for this series about UNCC, related resources, next steps, and ways to get involved.