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OU hosts Mock COP for Highlands and Moray schools

Delegates and chairpersons at Mock COP27.

Seventy-five senior pupils from 11 secondary schools across the Scottish Highlands are taking part in a ‘Mock COP27’ to raise awareness and increase understanding of the landmark global political conference. The event will help the young people contribute to the climate change debate and show them that their voice matters.

Organised by The Open University (OU) in Scotland, in partnership with the Highland One World Global Learning Centre, Developing the Young Workforce Inverness & Central Highlands (DYWICH) and Highland Council, the event on 15 November will bring together fifth and sixth-year pupils to represent and negotiate on behalf of chosen countries while trying to make a difference in the battle against climate change.

Delegates in the Mock COP27 conference room. Launched as a virtual event to support COP26 in 2021 with four schools, the event has expanded to an in-person event taking place in the Highland Council Chambers in Inverness. Modelled on the UN Conference of the Parties (COP), which is taking place now in Egypt, the Mock COP27 will teach students to consider the outcomes for their country and the global impact of the decisions made. Each school will even have a student reporter, who will be supported by Highland News Media.

Gemma Burnside, Partnership Manager at the OU and lead organiser of the event, commented:

“The pupils will develop their confidence, communication skills, and negotiation, as well as gaining a better understanding of climate change and democracy.

Last year, we had students change their career plans following the event. It’s set to be an inspiring day – these students are our future.

“The OU and its partners are also planning to encourage other schools across Scotland to create their own Mock COP events.”

Chair of Highland Council Climate Change Committee, Councillor Karl Rosie, who attended Mock COP27, said:

"We are honoured to be hosting this year's Mock COP27 event here at Highland Council. This high-profile event represents another crucial opportunity to shine a light on the importance of action against climate change.

"It's fantastic to see how engaged and climate aware the young people taking part in today's event are.

"They epitomise the kind of determination we will all need if we are to effectively address the ecological and climate emergency we are facing."

Ahead of the Mock COP27, local primary schools also shared their vision for a fairer more sustainable future as part of Highland One World and the OU in Scotland's Art for Action project.

The project invited pupils to learn, think and get creative on climate issues that matter to them. They translated their learning into creative art projects to raise awareness and demand change, as well as creating videos to share their learning. The artwork will be displayed at Highland Council Chambers during COP27 and as part of the Mock COP.

Secondary schools that are taking part in Mock COP27, include: Ardnamurchan Secondary School, Charleston Academy, Culloden Academy, Dingwall Academy, Fortrose Academy, Gairloch High School, Glen Urquhart High School, Inverness High School, Inverness Royal Academy, Invergordon Academy and Speyside High School.

Primary schools that took part in Art for Action, included: Bun Sgoil Ghàidhlig Phort Rìgh, Crossroads Primary School, Crown Primary School, Eigg Primary School, Glenelg Primary School, Kirkhill Primary School, Loch Duich Primary School, Lochardil Primary, Lairg Primary School, Muirtown Primary, North Kessock Primary and Strathconon Primary.

15 November 2022

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