Young students from 43 countries "gather in the cloud" to explore issues on sustainable development

June 08, 2022

June 5, 2022 is the United Nations 50th World Environment Day (WED). This year's theme of WED is "there is only one earth". As part of the global celebration of WED, the 11th International Student Conference on Environment for Sustainable Development (ISCES), sponsored by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Tongji University, was held online. Young students from 43 countries around the world "gathered in the cloud" to discuss their missions, responsibilities and innovative practice of sustainable development. The conference received strong support from Xinhua news agency, Beijing Green Future Environment Foundation and Agricultural Bank of China.

Representative of the UNEP in China TU Ruihe, President of the Shanghai Branch of the Xinhua News Agency JIANG Wei, vice president of the Shanghai Branch of the Agricultural Bank of China ZHANG Guoxing, and President of Tongji University CHEN Jie attended the opening ceremony and delivered speeches. Executive vice president of Tongji University LV Peiming delivered a closing speech. The conference was presided over by WU Jiang, former executive vice president of Tongji University and President of the UNEP- Tongji Institute of Environment for Sustainable Development.

TU Ruihe remarked that WED which falls on June 5 every year, is a flagship festival of the United Nations which aims at raising global environmental awareness and promoting environmental protection actions. It is also the world's largest public platform for environmental protection. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of UNEP and the 20th-year cooperation with Tongji University. UNEP has always attached importance to the power of youth in the transformation of sustainable development. It is encouraging to see that the ISCES has become an important platform for the youth around the globe to communicate together.

TU Ruihe delivering a speech

JIANG Wei said that Xinhua News Agency is willing to provide more information and media support beneficial to the development of human society for the global audience, including young friends from the United Nations and other international agencies and university research institutions to make more contributions to the realization of the 2030 global sustainable development goals.

JIANG Wei delivering a speech

ZHANG Guoxing remarked that the Agricultural Bank of China is willing to work with its partners to give full play to the role of green finance, participate in the governance of environment and sustainable development, and contribute to global green and low-carbon development.

ZHANG Guoxing delivering a speech

According to CHEN Jie, 20 years ago, Tongji University signed an agreement with UNEP to build UNEP- Tongji Institute of Environment for Sustainable Development, marking a milestone for a Chinese university and a United Nations agency in establishing an international institute jointly. In order to respond to the requirements of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development and promote higher education for sustainable development, ISCES was initiated jointly in 2011 and was held every year since then. The annual conference has greatly inspired global young students' sense of mission and enthusiasm for innovation to participate in the cause of sustainable development. Tongji University is willing to continue to develop an interdisciplinary, interdisciplinary and cross-border cooperation and exchange platform for global students, hoping that each of them can become a participant, contributor and leader in global environmental protection and sustainable development.

President CHEN Jie delivering a speech

Director of the UNEP Global Environmental Assessment Office Pierre Bouvallo, member of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States Arun Agrovo, LU Weiguo, vice president of the sustainable development and public affairs department in the Asia Pacific Region of Cisco, and an expert in green finance business of the Agricultural Bank of China LI Changbo made keynote speeches on human health and earth health, sustainable development governance, circular economy and green finance. They shared innovative global environmental governance concepts, cutting-edge industrial technologies and solutions to help with to climate change response, biodiversity protection and environmental pollution prevention and control.

Participants at the conference

As an important part of the 11th ISCES, the 2022 Global Environmental Challenge competition, focusing on the four topics of "human health", "circular economy", "climate change" and "smart environment", solicited solutions worldwide and invited global students to participate in the competition in teams. A total of 160 student teams from 171 universities in 43 countries participated in the competition. In the end, 25 teams around the world, including a team of Tongji University, won 28 Awards (3 of them won 2 Awards). Meanwhile, the "Green Seedling Plan" Social Practice Project Scholarships 2022 were awarded to 15 teams from domestic universities.

LV Peiming started his closing remarks by congratulating all the winners of the Scholarships. He said that the annual International Student Environment for Sustainable Development event witnessed the exploration and efforts made by young students around the world for the cause of sustainable development. He believed that the conference would play an increasingly important role in promoting sustainable development goals in the future.

ISCES has been successfully held for 11 years since 2011. More than 3000 Chinese and international students from over 50 countries gathered in Tongji on the occasion of WED to share their ideas and research achievements through posters, papers, speeches and seminars on key issues related to WED and deliver youth declarations and initiatives to the world. The conference provides a platform for global young students to exchange and discuss major environmental issues. It also provides students interested in environmental protection with cross-disciplinary, cross-field and cross-border learning opportunities. The conference has become one of the most influential youth conferences on sustainable development with the largest number of participating countries.

Participants at ISCES co-organized by UNEP and Tongji University