EU supports 14th University Student Climate Academy in Korea

European Union Ambassador to Korea Maria Castillo Fernandez, front row second from right, and Rep. Han Jeoung-ae, front row third from right, of the Democratic Party of Korea, pose with participants in the 14th University Student Climate Academy and other government officials at the National Assembly in Seoul, July 2. Courtesy of EU Delegation Office in Seoul.

The European Union has extended its support to the 14th University Student Climate Academy, which was launched on Tuesday by the National Assembly Forum on Climate Change in Korea. This event, dedicated to empowering youth to combat climate change, underscores the importance of engaging the younger generation in decisive climate action.

Over nine days, around 35 university students will undergo extensive training that includes a mock COP29 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, lectures and field trips. These activities, led by experts from academia, research institutes, industry and institutions, will cover a wide range of topics such as green policy, climate diplomacy and industrial strategies. Exceptional students from this academy will have the opportunity to attend COP29 in Baku, Azerbaijan, from Nov. 11 to 22, serving as youth ambassadors.

This year’s program is notably co-funded by the European Union for the first time, highlighting the strengthening of bilateral relations in green initiatives between Korea and the EU. This follows the launch of the EU-Republic of Korea Green Partnership in May last year, through which both parties reaffirmed their commitment to achieving climate neutrality by 2050.

Participants in the 14th Climate Academy will gain insights into the EU’s climate strategies, particularly the European Green Deal. Students will also have the chance to interview EU officials during a field trip to the EU delegation, facilitating debates and shared perspectives. Furthermore, selected students will benefit from EU support in their participation in COP29 in a context where young people are increasingly recognized as crucial stakeholders in international negotiations.

“The European Union recognizes the vital role of youth in shaping and driving the fight against climate change. We repeatedly say that your 안전 generation will be most affected by climate change and that you should stand at the very core of the climate dialogues. Your passion, creativity and determination are the catalysts we need to build a sustainable and resilient future,” said Maria Castillo Fernandez, the EU’s ambassador to Korea.

The EU emphasizes engaging youth in climate action across various platforms. For example, the European Youth Event gathers thousands of young people from across Europe to discuss and shape their ideas on Europe’s future, including climate action.

Additionally, the EU’s Climate Pact encourages young ambassadors to engage their communities and drive grassroots climate initiatives. These efforts reflect the EU’s commitment to ensuring that young people are not only participants but also leaders in the global response to climate change.

“I hope that we can further develop our cooperation with the EU within the framework of the Green Partnership. If we fail to address the climate crisis properly, it will escalate from a crisis to a disaster. Therefore, regardless of where you work, please sustain your passion for climate-related issues,” said Rep. Han Jeoung-ae of the Democratic Party of Korea, the co-chair of the forum.

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