The impacts of climate change are being increasingly felt around the globe, often more intense than what was anticipated just a few years ago. There is a growing consensus that the next few years are the last window of opportunity to steer the world in a better and safer direction and avoid the worst consequences of climate change. The scale and ambition of the climate challenge require new ways of thinking and working – across sectors and thematic silos. Achieving sustainable development in countries across the globe will furthermore require innovative forms of social engagement, along with new and improved technologies and collaborative mechanisms. While scientifically informed climate change policy making process is garnering attention, people’s perspective, inspiration and pathways to climate action are scantily understood. The climate change policy making process is global by design but several implementation pathways are inherently local, and connecting local with the global is the need of the hour. At the same time, while multilateral policy making mechanisms are facing challenges to gain commitments, people are increasingly voicing their dissatisfaction with the failures of contemporary political processes in delivering compelling climate action.
In this context, science-based participatory approaches are much needed to provide hope and direction. The climate academy programme aspires to address these challenges through a series of dedicated events. The “People’s Pathways to Climate Action – Climate Academy” 2022 is being jointly organized by United Nations University’s Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) and Munich Re Foundation (MRF) in collaboration with the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat (UNFCCC). ICLEI World Secretariat (ICLEI) is a special partner for this year’s academy.
The 2022 Climate Academy will take place in two stages:
The stage II (in-person) event is scheduled to take place in Kigali, Rwanda depending upon the COVID-19 situation and prevailing regulations. In case an in-person event will not be possible, stage II will take place virtually as well. Additionally, to virtually engage with interested actors from across the globe and enhance our collective voice, some virtual key events of the academy will be open for a broader audience. The 2022 academy will have a special focus on digitalization and energy transition and their application in facilitating climate action. Young professionals, including academics, policy makers and practitioners are invited to apply between 27 April and 29 May 2022.
The so-called ‘fourth industrialization revolution’ has brought digital technologies to every aspect of our life across the globe. This has opened a strategic window of opportunity to keep the world below 2°C through transformative changes in our collective response to climate change. The application of digitalization in this regard seems particularly promising in reducing vulnerability and limiting exposure to risks and facilitating steep decarbonization. At the same time, the question of energy transition has become even more important to not only support the sustainable development of communities across the world which depends on equitable access to energy but also to mitigate and manage any rebound effect of digitalization as well as growing energy consumption. In particular, this theme will explore how digitalization interacts with energy consumption which is by far the biggest emitter of anthropogenic greenhouse gases, at more than 73%. The IPCC has identified energy consumption as one of the four megatrends that must change fundamentally to effectively address climate change. This debate is often addressed from either source (renewal versus fossil) or technical standpoints (efficiency, automation etc.), building on these the academy aspires to understand how digitalization and energy transition interact in specific contexts (such as in smart cities and in rural areas) and come up with key steps that can inform the policy makers and support our collective climate actions.
To further explore points of interest for the academy, applications are invited to address three different pillars of this year’s academy:
The climate academy programme has three objectives:
We are looking for researchers and practitioners with documented experience of working on at least one (preferably two) of the aforementioned pillars. Successful candidates are qualified persons with profiles such as doctoral researchers in the final stages of their research, post-doctoral fellows, lecturers, assistant professors, practitioners working in public bodies, implementing agencies, civil society advocates and any other organization related to the theme of the academy. Particular attention will be given to outstanding candidates from least developed countries. Successful candidates are expected to fully participate in stage I and II of the academy. Selected participants are expected to engage proactively before and during the academy and contribute to the envisaged outputs. These include but are not limited to research papers, policy briefs, participation in events, policy engagement, etc.
Advanced English language skills will be necessary.
The Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) is one of 15 worldwide operating research and training centers and programmes of the United Nations University (UNU). Its mission is to contribute to efforts to resolve the pressing global problems that are the concern of the United Nations and its member states. UNU’s current activities regarding research and training are mainly focused on the environment and sustainable development on the one hand and peace and governance on the other. UNU disseminates the knowledge gained in its activities to the United Nations and its agencies, to scholars and to the public, in order to increase dynamic interactions in the world-wide community of learning and research.
Munich Re Foundation (MRF) is a non-profit foundation established by the Münchener Rückversicherungsgesellschaft Aktiengesellschaft in Munich (“Munich Re”) on the occasion of its 125th anniversary in 2005. People are ultimately at the core of what MRF’s work is all about. MRF’s task is to minimize the risks to which they are exposed. It supports science and provides support, also in developing countries. MRF’s aim is to prepare people to cope with risk and to improve their living conditions in relation to water as a resource and risk factor, population development, poverty, disaster prevention, environmental and climate change.
The UNFCCC secretariat (UN Climate Change) was established in 1992 when countries adopted the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The secretariat to the Convention, located in Bonn, Germany, is the United Nations entity tasked with supporting the global response to the threat of climate change. The UNFCCC secretariat supports a complex architecture of bodies that serve to advance the implementation of the Convention, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. The secretariat provides technical expertise and assists in the analysis and review of climate change information reported by Parties and in the implementation of the Kyoto mechanisms. It also maintains the registry for Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) established under the Paris Agreement, a key aspect of implementation of the Paris Agreement.
ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability is a global network of more than 2500 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development. Active in 125+ countries, ICLEI influences sustainability policy and drives local action for low emission, nature-based, equitable, resilient and circular development. ICLEI makes sustainability an integral part of urban development and creates systemic change in urban areas through practical, integrated solutions. It helps cities, towns and regions anticipate and respond to complex challenges, from rapid urbanization and climate change to ecosystem degradation and growing inequality. ICLEI’s five pathways towards low emission, nature-based, equitable, resilient and circular development are designed to create systemic change. Across the world, ICLEI brings the latest global knowledge and solutions to the local context.
Important documents needed for application
In addition to the general information, the application portal asks for:
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The central element of this programme is a set of three sessions of the climate academies: the first one focusing on NbS and urban vulnerability took place virtually in 2021-2022, this call pertains to the second one focusing on digitalization and energy transition scheduled for September 2022 and the third one focusing on climate change induced mobility which will be held in 2023. Each academy is designed to convene 20-30 participants, experts and organizers. These shall include researchers (a mixture of PhD students, post-docs, junior professors, mid-career researchers), practitioners (e.g. from national/sub-national concerned ministries, civil society, local government personnel and managers) and selected policymakers.
In addition, the academies will feature 2-3 invited high-level speakers/mentors. Each academy is foreseen to lead to the coordinated production of a number of publications, ranging from academic papers to policy briefs. These contributions are meant to provide specific scientific inputs as well as support the climate change adaptation (and mitigation wherever applicable) related policy formulation and implementation mechanisms of relevant stakeholders.
The academy series is designed to directly inform the application of scientific knowledge and tools in policy and action. The targeted domains include the global institutions for risk reduction and adaptation (e.g. the management of the Adaptation Fund and the Green Climate Fund), national ministries behind adaptation policies and disaster risk reduction, or local decision makers (e.g. at city scale). Besides state organizations, transfer and application of methods and knowledge is also directed at other actors from the private sector (e.g. insurers) and civil society (e.g. non-profit associations or philanthropic foundations).
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