Shropshire Star

Shropshire university delegation heads to COP 28 UN Climate Change Conference

A delegation from Shropshire's agricultural university is to attend this year’s COP 28 UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai after the university was granted observer status at the annual event.

A delegation from Harper Adams is to attend this year’s COP 28 UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai

Harper Adams University chief global impact officer Ian Rowley and deputy vice-chancellor Professor Michael Lee will attend the conference, which runs from November 30 to December 12.

It seeks to bring the world’s governments together to agree on policies which will limit global temperature rises and allow communities around the globe to adapt to the impact of climate change.

As an Observer organisation, Harper Adams will be given access to the Blue Zone, at the heart of the decision-making processes during the conference.

The United Nations General Assembly has granted observer status to several international organisations, entities, and non-member states, to enable them to participate in the work of the United Nations General Assembly.

The zone not only hosts the formal negotiations which form the core of each conference but also a range of other events, including panel discussions and round-table sessions.

Ian Rowley said: “As an institution, our work is focussed on both food security and planetary sustainability – at a global scale.

“It is a testament to this role and to the knowledge exchange and leadership which we, as an institution, can provide to the food and farming sectors that we have been recognised by the UN and granted Observer status for this COP – and for future conferences too.

“Both Michael and I will be meeting with key international players who are at the forefront of their governments’ work tackling climate change, to talk, advise, and listen throughout this year’s conference.

“We can move our food and farming sectors towards Net Zero while also ensuring that we don’t lose sight of the vital importance of food security for communities across the globe.”

Professor Michael Lee – who also attended the COP Conference in 2021, when it was hosted in Glasgow – was at the forefront of Harper Adams University’s request for Observer status and intends to use that status to help feed into this year’s discussions.

He is also co-chair of the UK Universities Climate Network Universities Net Zero group which will also be presented at this year’s COP.

He added: “I am delighted that Harper Adams University has been acknowledged in this way by the UNFCCC as official observers. This will put the university, as leader in sustainable agriculture, at the very heart of the discussions in COP.

“There has never been a more important time for COP to deliver to the Paris Agreement - to hold the increase in global temperature to well below 2C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5C - at the same time as ensuring that this is achieved in a way which does not threaten food production.”