UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose


UCL convenes UK stakeholders to advance Action for Climate Empowerment

13 November 2023

The UCL Centre for Climate Change and Sustainability Education and IIPP convened stakeholders from SDSN UK member institutions, UK government and civil society in the lead-up to COP28 to discuss opportunities for advancing Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) in the UK.

UCL convenes UK stakeholders to advance Action for Climate Empowerment

The UCL Centre for Climate Change and Sustainability Education (CCCSE) and IIPP coordinated a workshop on 2nd November to support the UK’s response to the Glasgow work programme on Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) (18/CP.26) agreed at COP26, and the four-year ACE Action plan (24/CP.27) which was agreed at COP27. The workshop was supported by representatives from the UK Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, Plan International UK and SOS-UK, and it provided a timely opportunity for UK ACE stakeholders to build connections and explore possibilities for strengthening the ACE network in the UK.

ACE is a voluntary workstream of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which seeks to engage all citizens in climate action through six elements: education, training, public participation in decision-making, public access to education, public awareness, and international cooperation. Despite recent climate change education-focused policy activity in England and evidence of increasing commitment to enhancing young people’s engagement in climate change policy processes in many contexts, the UK could benefit from ACE having a more prominent public profile.

Dr Kate Greer, Senior Research Fellow at CCCSE and Dr Kate Roll, Associate Professor at IIPP and SDSN UK Chair, facilitated the workshop which brought together a diverse range of stakeholders who support and deliver ACE activities. Participants included member universities of SDSN UK, several UK government departments, and educators, advocates and funders from a wide range civil society organisations. Conrad Jefferies, the UK ACE focal point, provided an overview of the UK’s ACE approach, after which participants engaged in spirited discussions about how their own activities contribute to ACE implementation, as well as opportunities and challenges for advancing ACE in the UK. These discussions were also stimulated by presentations from Ana Romero, Senior advisor in climate matters related to ACE and Capacity Building and head of Sustainability at Wellington International, Phoebe Hansen, Youth climate advocate from SOS-UK and Mock COP, and Yoris and Adi, Indonesian climate and education activists from the Youth for Education in Emergencies Global Panel supported by Plan International UK and Education Cannot Wait.  

As COP28 approaches and the second year of implementation of the ACE Action Plan begins, this event gave those present the opportunity to highlight and reflect on the wide range of ACE activities underway across the UK, and some practical steps that could be taken to further strengthen the UK ACE community and empower all members of society to engage in climate action.  

Dr Greer said:

“The discussions highlighted the impressive breadth and depth of ACE activity being delivered by organisations across the UK, and the mighty appetite that exists to strengthen the ACE community so that UK citizens - no matter their circumstances - are able to respond to climate change.” 

Dr Roll said:

‘This was a fantastic event which enabled SDSN UK members to share their expertise and connect with the ACE community. It also highlighted that success in this space is reliant on collaborating effectively with a broad group of stakeholders.’