2021 - World Forum speakers

Major names in climate change sign up for World Forum

Wed, 30 Jun 2021 08:29:00 BST

Some of the biggest players on the world stage of climate change will be speaking at the second World Forum on Climate Justice, to be held at Glasgow Caledonian University in September.

Princess Esméralda of Belgium, human rights’ campaigner and environmental activist; Kumi Naidoo, former executive director of Greenpeace International and Secretary General of Amnesty International; and Nigel Topping, UK Government Champion for UN climate talks, are just three of the major names attending to discuss climate recovery in the wake of COVID-19 and the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26).

The event, organised by the University’s Centre for Climate Justice, will take place as the planet is still grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic and just two months before global leaders meet in Glasgow during COP26. The Forum’s themes will reflect both of these topics, recognising the need to incorporate climate justice into global climate governance and the post-COVID-19 recovery.

The event will be led by a keynote address from former Republic of Ireland President Dr Mary Robinson and other high-profile names including Mithika Mwenda, executive director for Pan African Climate Justice Alliance; Claudia S. de Windt, Founder and CEO of the Inter-Amercian Institute on Justice; Ashley Komangaapik Rose Cummings, Indigenous rights activist for Inuit communities in Canada and Member of Canadian Prime Minister’s Youth Council; and Runa Khan, founder and executive director Friendship NGO Bangladesh. They will be joined by global thought leaders, indigenous activists, representatives from academia, government and industry.

GCU held the inaugural World Forum, in partnership with Elsevier, back in 2019. With hundred's attending and a strong line-up of speakers, including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP, Dr Mary Robinson and Dr Kerry Kennedy, the event made a landmark contribution to the important discussion around the inequality of climate change and its impact.

Professor Tahseen Jafry, who is Conference Chair and Director of the Centre for Climate Justice, said: “As the world’s climate warms at an unprecedented rate, the resultant impacts will be felt most by those who have contributed the least to global carbon emissions.

“On top of this, we find that it is the same communities that are facing the worst experiences in coping with the COVID-19 pandemic.  Ahead of the COP 26 Summit being held in Glasgow in November, this forum will provide an opportunity to examine, discuss and debate how to ensure equity and justice are enshrined as core values on the road by developing climate just and sustainable solutions for the benefit of all of humanity not just the privileged few.

“We hope to inspire and motivate by bringing together some of the strongest minds from across the regions of the world to help guide the road map to recovery, building resilience and preventing catastrophic devastation to the lives and livelihoods of many thousands of people.”

The event will take place between September 21-23 and host around 100 short talks, covering the diverse challenges posed by climate change, from its impact on fair access to food and water to the spread of diseases such as malaria, the growing vulnerability of communities to extreme weather events, and the resulting challenges on migration and population displacement. 

You can sign up for the event here.