The United Kingdom’s High-Level Climate Action Champion, Mr Nigel Topping, was hosted at The University of the South Pacific Laucala Campus by the USP Students Association (USPSA) for a Regional Student and Youth dialogue on Climate Action on Thursday 14th April 2022.
This was the first visit by Envoy Topping to the University campus who was in the country for two days.
Envoy Topping aims to drive action from businesses, investors, organisations, cities, and regions on climate change and coordinates this work with governments and parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
While welcoming Envoy Topping to the University, Deputy Secretary-General, Mr Aneet Kumar said the visit from Envoy Topping was an essential reminder that students and youths in the region needed to be continuously engaged via inter-generational dialogues no matter the topic.
“USP plays an instrumental role in the Pacific not just as an institution of education, research and policy, but also as an institution for regional integration and cooperation, driving climate action-related activities for building a resilient and sustainable Blue Pacific,” he added.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Regional Campuses and Global Engagement) Dr Giulio Masasso Tu’ikolongahau Pāunga also welcomed Envoy Topping on behalf of the USP Vice-Chancellor & President and the Senior Management Team.
“I am excited to be part of this dialogue today, and I am glad to see our USP students and youth in this room who are so passionate about finding creative and innovative solutions towards addressing climate change,” he said.
“USP has led many impactful projects and programmes over the last few decades and continues to do so across many areas, including Climate Change,” Dr Pāunga added.
“I am very pleased to be hosted here at an institution owned and governed by 12 Pacific Island Countries, a unique setting in the region,” said Envoy Topping.
“Since my appointment by the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, alongside the COP25 High-Level Champion Gonzalo Muñoz, we have established the Race to Zero – a global campaign to commit all actors to be net-zero by 2050, the Race to Resilience – a worldwide campaign to secure the resilience of four billion people by 2030, and the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ)- a coalition of existing and new net-zero finance initiatives.
“I am very keen to listen to your work and ideas related to climate change in the Pacific region. I believe in our ability to innovate and collaborate to tackle climate change,” Envoy Topping added.
Students who were part of the dialogue shared their research work with the Envoy and discussed climate action and building resilient societies. Envoy Topping also discussed USP’s role in the Race to Zero and Race to Resilience global campaigns, stating that USP would play a key role in its nature and set in the region and other actors.
USP’s Research student, Salote Nasalo, who is also the student president for the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development, told Envoy Topping that leaders needed to invest in students from the region, their education and research.
“Only then we will be able to unlock our potential fully. It is not us that you will be investing in, you are investing in the future that needs to be resilient and sustainable for our people and the planet,” she added.