On Friday 20 January 2023, just before Chinese Spring Festival ushering in the Year of the Rabbit, educational charity, Engage with China, will host its annual, international climate change Model United Nations conference for 15–18-year-old students. This conference sees a 25% growth in both the number of schools and students involved. Known as ‘Good Cop Bad Cop,’ the conference will facilitate debate across multiple time zones on four continents. As with all MUNs, students will represent an allocated country other than their own and will debate five resolutions including those made at COP27 in Sharm El-Sheik in November 2022.
Eight of the schools taking part are from the state sector and six of them run the Mandarin Excellence Programme (MEP), a unique intensive language programme in around 70 state schools in the UK that started in 2016. Taking part in Good Cop Bad Cop will increase their exposure to wider China understanding and develop their confidence, courage and collaborative skills. Some of the pupils are also expected to speak in mandarin and welcome the Chinese students. The MEP is funded by the Department for Education and delivered by the UCL Institute of Education in partnership with the British Council with teachers from China involved in much of the teaching.
Engage with China Director, Mrs H-J Colston-Inge, (Chinese name童海珍) said, “this is our second MUN and provides a unique and powerful platform for future leaders in different parts of the world and from different backgrounds to debate a reality that threatens humanity and biodiversity. Not only will this opportunity enrich students’ global understanding but it will also open their eyes to the complexities of international negotiation, the cause and effect of modernisation and economic growth on the environment and the critical importance of driving innovation to find technologies to combat climate change.” Students will represent twenty countries including Bangladesh, UAE, Pakistan, China, Ukraine and Nigeria. “Through their research and negotiations, they will soon understand that solving climate change is not about competition but collaboration.”
As well as expecting a very high level of debate, the young people will benefit from insights of thought leaders, diplomats, government officials and environmental entrepreneurs. One VIP speaker is Dame Caroline Wilson, British Ambassador to China who is expected to showcase areas where China and the UK are working in partnership, for example, on green finance, climate risk and renewable energy. Other speakers include Robin Walker, MP for Worcester and Peggy Liu, known as ‘China’s Green Goddess,’ who will speak about scientific innovation in the race to produce and store renewable energy sources into the future.
The event is sponsored by ESG Ai Tech (Shanghai) Limited 宜斯吉智能科技（上海）有限公司, a dedicated tech and consulting company which focuses on ESG Analysis, Rating, Risk Management, Reporting and Total Solutions based on data, Ai,and cross-industry proprietary models. Mr Fuwei Zhang of ESG said that the reason his company wanted to support Good Cop Bad Cop conference was because, “both EwC and ESG Ai Tech pay great attention to the humanity challenge of climate change. We also share the same mission, namely making efforts to promote friendly exchanges and cooperation between the people of the world, especially in China and the UK.”
Two of the participating schools are in Worcester in The Midlands, UK. Member of Parliament for the city, Robin Walker, said, “I am delighted to hear that two of my local schools are taking part in this Good Cop Bad Cop. As former minister of Education I was pleased to launch a sustainability and climate change strategy for the department of Education. ..there is no doubt that we need to see global action and understand the global dynamics and engage constructively on this huge 21st century challenge.”
Students from one of the participating schools in China, will take a responsible and vital role of chairing one of the resolution debates. They will conduct this role in English, utilising their excellent language skills. Teacher Qi Lina from Changchun Foreign Language School who is coordinating these students said,
“As the main recipients of the consequences of climate change and the future citizens of society, teenagers will become the main force in dealing with climate change. Therefore, young people should be educated to raise their awareness and ability to cope with climate change, which is particularly important. We are very appreciative of [Engage with China’s] GOOD COP BAD COP. It provides us with a good platform for students to arouse their in-depth attention to climate change and promote youth communication and cooperation. Hopefully, this activity can lay a foundation for these young people to become future policy leaders, business leaders, venture investors and scientific experts through more extensive international cooperation in the future.”
It is hoped that this debate will have the potential to advance global thinking and find collaborative solutions. “That would be an excellent start to the Year of the Rabbit,” adds H-J Colston-Inge, “ensuring that the rabbit zodiac characteristics of compassion and alertness take the lead to progress positive international negotiations.”