uOttawa calls on G7 leaders to prioritize the interests of future generations and work to reduce the effects of climate change
Today marks the start of the 47th G7 Summit in Cornwall, in the United Kingdom. The summit agenda will be dominated by economic stimulus measures in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, access to vaccines for residents of less affluent countries and global sustainability issues.
The University of Ottawa joins U7+, the Alliance of World Universities, in calling on G7 leaders to consider the interests of future generations and prioritize actions to reduce the negative effects of global climate change.
The U7+ Alliance of World universities spans six continents and represents all G7 nations, as well as 10 other nations. Members of the Alliance are committed to working with the G7 to recognize the key role that universities play as primary global actors that can support the G7’s efforts to tackle climate change and preserve the planet’s biodiversity, lead the global recovery from the coronavirus while strengthening resilience against future pandemics, and champion shared values.
The U7+ Alliance is committed to working with the G7 and leaders across the public and private sectors to create new opportunities for mutual understanding and equitable resource sharing across generations. An active member of U7+, the University of Ottawa has been leading or participating in many of the U7+ Alliance's actions since its founding in 2019 in Paris. Several students, professors, researchers and administrators from the University share their knowledge and expertise and work towards the common goals of the alliance.
Priority areas in terms of collaboration with G7 leaders to actively take responsibility for and foster intergenerational dialogue on issues of importance include:
1. Leading the global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic while strengthening resilience against future pandemics: Resilience depends on the education of our citizens. As G7 leaders reflect on how to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthen resilience against future pandemics, the preparation of the next generation of leaders must be a paramount concern, and universities have a distinctive responsibility to train and nurture responsible, active citizens who will contribute to society, at the local and global levels.
2. Tackling climate change and preserving the planet’s biodiversity: Universities have a major role to play in addressing environmental issues and challenges to sustainability and are committed to promoting access to courses related to climate, biodiversity and sustainability for all of our students. The U7+ Alliance has also begun facilitating and encourage G7 leaders to join them in promoting intergenerational dialogue on climate change and environmental degradation. Moreover, leaders from 21 U7+ Alliance universities have developed a framework for taking inventory of how higher education institutions are doing their part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They are actively working to reduce our own greenhouse gas emissions from 2018 levels by 2030--while leveraging technologies to provide solutions to complex issues.
3. Championing global shared values: Universities have a distinctive and leading role to play in confronting differences and divisions in society, and in working for equality and inclusiveness. The U7+ Alliance will host an intergenerational roundtable discussion on the global gender gap and encourages G7 leaders to actively foster intergenerational dialogue on this and other issues of inclusiveness and equality. We are committed to working with the G7 to promote and facilitate routes to higher education for youth from underrepresented groups, support their success and insist that freedom of speech, academic freedom and open and respectful dialogue are critical to a well-functioning democracy.
As detailed in its Transformation 2030 strategy, the University of Ottawa has made sustainability one of its pillars and has committed to working harder to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to adopt sustainable development approaches in all areas of its operations. The University of Ottawa has also made it a priority to develop the global and intercultural competencies of its students in order to foster their leadership in the interconnected global society of today and tomorrow. The University will have an active presence at the U7+ Alliance Presidents' Summit in the United Kingdom in November 2021.
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