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Collaboration with Durham County Council and OASES for ECO2 Schools Climate Conferences


logos of Durham County Council and CSDLP


Engagement in 2023

Durham University partnered with Durham County Council’s Low Carbon Economy Team and the local educational charity OASES (Outdoor and Sustainability Education Specialists) who organised an online climate change conference (ECO2 COP28 Schools Climate Conference) that coincided with the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP28) in Dubai in 2023.

Over 100 schools from 16 countries took part in three online conferences on the 6th and 7th December 2023, supported by a range of educational resources that were developed for children and young people aged 6-7, 9-11 and 11+, which were also translated into Arabic (by Durham University students) for schools in the host nation (United Arab Emirates) and other Arabic-speaking schools who attended (e.g. Egypt).

In advance of the conference, participants were encouraged to work through a suite of educational resources designed by OASES which focused on 'Climate Change and the History of Energy', 'Current Energy Solutions' and 'Future Energy Solutions'. During the three interactive, online conferences, pupils were then encouraged to share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences of climate change, and had the opportunity to ask questions about climate change and energy issues to a panel of experts from Durham University and Durham County Council.

In addition, the conferences included a live interview with Professor Chris Stokes, departmental lead for Physical Geography at the Centre for Sustainable Development Law and Policy. Being part of the COP Steering Group, he is one of the University delegates for UNFCCC COPs, and is also one of the co-investigators for our recently launched JusTN0W initiative. Professor Chris Stokes was able to speak to children and young people from all around the world directly from COP28 in Dubai, giving them a flavour of negotiations and decisions that were being made. Professor Chris Stokes is departmental lead for Physical Geography at centre for sustainable development law and policy; 

Mirroring the process at COP28, schools and pupils also made pledges of climate action for the year ahead, building on pledges made by attendees in our two previous ECO2 Smart Schools COP Conferences in 2021 and 2022. Indeed, this is the third year of this productive local collaboration between the University, Durham County Council and OASES, which has a global reach and clearly supports the University’s internationally-recognised sustainability agenda. We held a follow up session in February 2024 as part of Durham Global Week and are already discussing plans for COP29 in November 2024.

Engagement in 2022

  •  ECO2 COP27 Schools Climate Conference
    Over 3000 pupils from 100 schools in 8 countries took part in the ECO2 COP27 Schools Climate Conference.
  • Counting Down to 2030: Integrating Research and Climate Action Impact from Local to Global
    The conference brought leaders and experts from local government, public services, academia, and private sector partners together. The aim was to start a discussion around the key issues that arise in implementing the Paris Agreement’s temperature target in the run up to COP27, and to establish how we can work together to achieve net-zero in Durham County Council. Achieving this climate target will require strong cooperation between the public, the private, and the university sector. During COP26, the significance of this cooperation has become ever more prominent. 

Engagement in 2021

  • ECO2 COP26 Schools Climate Conference

In 2021, our colleagues worked with Durham County Council and the School Charity OASES in developing content for the ECO2 Smart Schools Climate Conference | ECO2 Smart Schools, convened ahead of COP26 in Glasgow. 4000 pupils from 130 schools in 13 countries took part in the conference.