Twelve students from the Fiji National University’s (FNU) College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences (CMNHS) were part of the Climate Change Simulation Conference in collaboration with the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU).
APRU is a non-profit network of about 60 universities in the Asia-Pacific, with the Secretariat based in Hong Kong. This activity is organised by the APRU Global Health Programme at the University of the Southern California (US) and the APRU Sustainable Cities and Landscapes Program at the University of Oregon (US). The APRU Student Global Climate Change Simulation is a role-playing exercise in which students will form multi-country, multidisciplinary teams to play the role of delegates to the UN Climate Change Negotiations.
CMNHS Acting Dean, Dr Donald Wilson, said the conference allowed the students to participate and learn with the students from different countries on Climate Change.
“The global engagement of our students links well with the strategic goal of the university for student experience and also creates an awareness for our students and staff of the international instruments that are critical to demonstrating the importance of staying connected to the global changes in climate,” Dr Wilson said.
“We look forward to more conferences where our students can be part of and contribute towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 13 to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.”
The aim of the conference was to describe what contributes to climate change, explain global climate change efforts, such as the Paris Agreement, the UNCCC and the COP, identify adaptation and mitigation strategies and which will have the most impact on global temperatures, explain how/why climate change affects the most vulnerable populations and why it is an issue of social justice. The conference also discussed the practice of global team-work and cross-cultural collaboration and communication skills, the complexity involved in countries’ decisions, including consideration of factors such as economic impact, negotiating power and the challenges of negotiations among countries on issues such as climate change and the importance of global collaboration.
The CMNHS Head of the School of Public Health and Primary Care (SPHPC), Dr Timaima Tuiketei said the University was grateful to be part of the conference.
“We are happy to be part of a global initiative to build the capacities of our students and future leaders in addressing Climate Change. At the same time, the SPHPC is committed to strengthening its Climate Change and Health Programme to the overall university contribution to the national and regional Climate Change Agenda,” she said.
Third year Public Health student, Margaret Biliki said she became more knowledgeable after attending the conference.
“I am privileged to be joining my fellow colleagues for the APRU Simulation on Climate Change this year as an FNU rep, as Climate change is a global issue affecting our environment and our health,” she said.
“I am enthusiastic to be learning from a group of diverse disciplines and experts from across the globe in an interactive and informative zoom sessions and discussions on causes, effects, and solutions to address climate change issues.
“The event will also help me to learn negotiation skills and to enhance my knowledge on climate change issues, a critically important issue for us, as Pacific Islanders. I am looking forward to learning and interacting with students from other university as well.”
The conference had Guest Speakers who spoke on coastal habitats, deforestation, clean energy, trading and offsets, and diplomacy and negotiation skills.