Uniting the world: UWC, together for our planet and for our future

May 10, 2021

As the world prepares for COP26 in Glasgow in November 2021, together with our seventeen sister UWC schools and colleges, UWC Maastricht recognizes its role in tackling the threat of global climate change and making specific contributions to a resilient, net zero economy that protects, values and rebuilds the natural world.

We acknowledge that countries of the Global South are most affected yet contribute the least to carbon emissions, and we recognise how diversity, equity and access agendas are inextricably linked to climate justice. Decolonisation and climate justice must be viewed together.

In recognition of this global responsibility, and allowing for our individual contexts, the 18 UWC schools and colleges commit this year to planning how we can ensure that we

  • Equip UWC students with concrete skills, experiences and pathways that will maximise their personal contribution towards the Paris Goals and UNSDGs
  • Work to further create and promote educational programmes that radically alter our view of the planet as a resource in the service of economic development
  • Develop climate action programming with a solutions focus rather than simply problem identification
  • Clearly signal the role climate justice has in addressing global disparities and inequities related to management of resources, land rights, consumerism, corporate responsibility and social justice generally
  • Report our own climate impact, as a basis to inform our solution-based efforts, and enable cooperation among the UWC schools and colleges in implementing individual climate strategies.

We acknowledge that how we reach “net zero” by mid-century will be most challenging, with each UWC school and college committing to develop its own local strategy with targets and programmes to reach that common goal. The implementation of any measure will itself enable further climate action in our education programming.

Recognising the varying financial, climatic and geographic conditions of our campuses, these local strategies will differ in terms of when and how targets can be achieved.

With these commitments, we will be within sight of the realisation of our core mission, of making education a force for peace and a sustainable future. And as the world “builds back better” from Covid-19, we appeal to all to “build back green” through sustainable practices and we commit to doing the same.

Signed by the Heads of all UWC schools and colleges:

  • Lodewijk van Oord, UWC Maastricht, Netherlands
  • Anna Marsden, UWC East Africa, Tanzania
  • Arnett Edwards, Li po Chun UWC, Hong Kong
  • Carma Elliot, UWC South East Asia, Singapore
  • Craig Davis, Pearson College UWC, Canada
  • Dzenan Hakalovic, UWC Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Gabriel Abad Fernandez, UWC Dilijan College, Armenia
  • Hege Myhre, UWC Red Cross Nordic, Norway
  • Jason McBride, UWC Thailand, Thailand
  • Laurence Nodder, UWC Robert Bosch College, Germany
  • Mauricio Viales, UWC Costa Rica, Costa Rica
  • Patricia Angoy, Waterford Kamhlaba UWCSA, eSwatini
  • Pelham Lindfield Roberts, UWC Changshu China, China
  • Peter Howe, UWC Atlantic, United Kingdom
  • Roderick Jemison, UWC ISAK Japan, Japan
  • Soraya Sayed Hassen, UWC Mahindra College, India
  • Victoria Mora, UWC-USA, USA
  • William Turner, UWC Adriatic, Italy