A Roundtable Conference is Hosted by HEC and British Council on Climate

  • By Laiba Tariq
  • 12 months ago
  • 6 min read
A Roundtable Conference is Hosted by HEC and British Council on Climate

Categories: Events, News, Science, Social

ISLAMABAD: The British Council and the Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan sponsored a roundtable conference on Wednesday entitled “Education for climate action: How universities can steer the climate crisis.” 

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Climate change is being understood by the world’s higher education sector. Yet, citizen action and policy need to catch up to the scientific evidence before climate change can be averted. Because Pakistan is the fifth most affected country by climate change, there is a need to identify opportunities, identify gaps, and provide development pathways and thought leadership to build a greener Pakistan.

As COP26 takes place in the UK this year, this roundtable will bring together stakeholders, academics, civil society, and development policy experts from Pakistan and the UK in order to analyze where we are, what can be done, and what we can learn from each other.

Amir Ramzan and Shafqat Mehmood spoke in the opening session. Annabel Gerry, the Director of Development at British High Commission Pakistan, and Shafqat Mehmood, the federal minister for education and professional training, also attended.

Others who spoke included policymakers, Government officials, higher education leaders from Pakistan and the UK, vice-chancellors, researchers, academics, international development organizations, research partnership grantees, UK alumni, and students. 

As part of the event, attendees participated both online and offline, Shafqat Mehmood said, “Climate situation calls for up-close attention and immediate action and I am glad that international organizations like the British Council are initiating and actively pursuing ways to engage the youth and policymakers on shared platforms to give the cause the push it rightfully deserves through Roundtables as such this in Pakistan.”

 Dr. Shaista Sohail, Executive Director stated, speaking on a panel about roles and responsibilities in building a bright future said, “Universities have to take the charge of informing policy and practice. 261 Pakistani scholars have been funded to pursue higher education in environmental themes. Universities can give focused, well-informed, and well-researched information on issues that are causing climate change such as manufacturing of bricks or burning of crops.” 

Amir Ramzan, Country Director British Pakistan said, “I am hopeful that the conversations taking place here will help us learn from each other, and together we can find a path to mainstream sustainable practices in Higher Education in Pakistan and further said that I am also positive that this seminar will contribute to the national environmental discourse in Higher Education and HEC’s strategy on taking charge of our sustainable future through academic leadership.” 

In order for Pakistan to achieve real results on climate action, it needs to learn from and strengthen ties with the UK sector. Britain is at the forefront of climate change research and development. It is also home to three of the top three universities for Environmental Science (University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, Imperial College London).

Through establishing opportunities for cultural exchange, dialogue, and action that address the common challenges of climate change, the British Council works with partners worldwide to preserve the success and legacy of COP26.

Among these efforts is the support of research links between Pakistan and the UK as part of the HEC-British Council-managed Pak-UK Education Gateway. Through these connections, researchers at Government College University in Faisalabad, like Sofia Akbar Tahir, are exploring ways to generate and distribute electricity in a clean and efficient manner, with support from Oxford research teams.

Laiba Tariq
Author: Laiba Tariq

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