Published: 13:09, July 18, 2023 | Updated: 11:12, July 23, 2023
Two HK student ambassadors to attend COP28 in Dubai
By Jan Yumul in Hong Kong

UAE Consul General to Hong Kong Shaikh Saoud Almualla (left) presents an award to Chung Pak Lun from La Salle College and Yau Hoi Wing from Christian and Missionary Alliance Sun Kei Secondary School at a prize-giving ceremony on July 15, 2023. The two lucky students picked from the "COP28 Student Ambassador Training Programme" will have a chance to fly to Dubai in November for COP28. Also in the photo is Conservancy Association Chairperson Dr Shan-shan Chung. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

Two lucky Hong Kong students will be able to attend the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai in November, which is being hosted by the United Arab Emirates, in the capacity of non-governmental organization observers.

Chung Pak Lun from La Salle College and Yau Hoi Wing from the Christian and Missionary Alliance Sun Kei Secondary School were recognized and feted at a prize-giving ceremony at the Jockey Club -- The Conservancy Association Urban Forestry Green Hub as student ambassadors for the upcoming climate summit.

In his speech at the ceremony, UAE Consul General to Hong Kong Shaikh Saoud Almualla expressed his happiness in supporting the program, as it echoed the UAE’s focus on youth empowerment, which is “embedded in everything we do, including launching the International Youth Climate Delegate Programme by the COP28 UAE Presidency, to enable youth to effectively participate in the conference, especially those from developing countries and small island states”.

The duo were part of the “COP28 Student Ambassador Training Programme”, which ran from May to June this year, according to a press release from the Consulate General of the UAE in Hong Kong

He emphasized the need for collective action in tackling climate change and ensuring that the voice of youth is heard as they hold the key to the future.

Shan-shan Chung, chairperson of The Conservancy Association, urged students to participate in environmental action and to become part of the solution.

“"My last word to the young people here is that the future of our planet lies in your hands.  Take prompt action and do not follow the footsteps of your predecessors who wasted more than 30 years in fighting climate change,” Chung said at the July 15 event.

The duo were part of the “COP28 Student Ambassador Training Programme”, which ran from May to June this year, according to a press release from the Consulate General of the UAE in Hong Kong.

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The training program, as part of supporting the UAE’s “Year of Sustainability” this year, was organized by the UAE Consulate in partnership with The Conservation Association, the first non-governmental organization and charitable institution in Hong Kong to focus on environmental protection and the conservation of natural and cultural heritage.

A total of eight seminars have been held at different schools across Hong Kong where more than 500 students and teachers learned about the history of the Conference of the Parties, or COP, and its goals, from The Conservancy Association’s Education Manager Terence Tang, who also shared his first-hand experience of attending the COP27 summit in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, last year.

Meanwhile, a UAE Consulate team gave a presentation on the Arab nation’s record of climate action, drawing upon the legacy of its founding president, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

They also introduced students to the UAE’s focus at COP28 and the role of Shamma Al Mazrui, the first-ever Youth Climate Champion with a ministerial role to amplify the work of youth-led organizations within the COP process and provide capacity-building and funding opportunities for youth innovations, highlighting the UAE’s commitment to youth empowerment.

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The presentation also touched on the Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative, the first such national drive in the Middle East and North Africa, or MENA region, and the UAE’s global climate engagement, such as supporting renewable energy projects in developing nations and Pacific Island states.

Following the seminars, the students submitted proposals for environmental action in their school or community, and 11 of them were selected to attend an interview in which they were judged on the quality of their proposals in terms of creativity and feasibility as well as their presentation and communications skills, according to the UAE Consulate.

Ultimately, two most outstanding students were appointed as “COP28 Student Ambassadors” and given the rare opportunity to accompany The Conservancy Association team to attend COP28 at Expo City, Dubai.

After their return, the student ambassadors are expected to share their insights with the public and fellow students in Hong Kong, as well as to put their ideas into practice, including what they have learned at the summit.