Indian academia and students will aim to strengthen India’s net-zero commitment through PACT2030, an annual conclave, beginning this year to make a first-of-its-kind declaration on sustainable development and pledge to be change-makers.
QS I-GAUGE, the Indian agency of, London based QS which comes out with coveted world university rankings every year, will be the core behind the conclave every year which will be co-hosted by academic institutions.
The first conclave will take place in Goa from January 17-19, 2022 and is expected to witness over 100 acclaimed leaders of esteemed universities, schools, and other academic institutions converging to make a first-of-its-kind and historic declaration on sustainable development and pledge to be the change-makers.
The conclave is being co-hosted by the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies (UPES), Dehradun and Kalasalingam University, Tamil Nadu. The carbon footprint from this event will be offset by supporting climate protection projects such as a 20 MW Biomass Power Project in Chhattisgarh.
According to Ashwin Fernandes, Director for QS I-GAUGE, following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement at COP26 that India would adopt a net-zero emissions target – by 2070, an urgent need was felt within the Indian academic community to contribute and accelerate the contribution and leadership of educational institutes to this important goal.
“Educational institutions have a leading role in helping society to achieve the Global Sustainable Development Goals through leadership, research, teaching and learning, campus operations, and community service. As living laboratories of transformation and innovation, the academic engagement, leadership, commitment, partnerships, and exemplar models are crucial to empower the next generations, advance SDGs’ progress, and foster a resilient and equitable future,” he said.
“To amplify the efforts of India becoming net-zero, and to champion stronger adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), a social movement called PACT2030 was formed this month, culminating several discussions between QS I-GAUGE and several academic institutions,” he added.
Pledge, Act, Change, Transform (PACT) 2030, plans to empower educational institutions to think beyond their boundaries and care for the world, and to bring to life sustainable ideas by students.
PACT2030 has a long-term vision and is a scalable social model, representing local leadership on global platforms, and bringing together like-minded leaders, founders and heads, and chancellors of academic institutions, policymakers, and the government to engage all the intelligent forces for creating a better world.
“The conference will champion change, by ensuring that academic leaders commit to the long-term vision of change for a better world,” Fernandes said.
During the first summit of PACT 2030, the academic engagement and leadership would be fostered around SDGs 4 and 11 for the academia to actively initiative new commitments, multi-stakeholder partnerships and contribute to the goals of quality education and sustainable cities and communities through sustainable campuses and their outreach activities; and further, pave a way to the holistic engagement of academia in global sustainable development.
The conclave will also host the first of its kind national level school program called PACT-Star, an awards initiative inviting full time registered students from classes 9 to 12 at any school in India to present their ideas on any of the 17 SDGs.
Students can submit projects and ideas which are unique and have a direct impact on the community in which the student lives. Entries can be submitted completely free of charge, and 10 selected students and ideas will get a fully paid trip to PACT2030 in Goa where they will present their ideas to the academic leaders, and get an opportunity to win funding of up to Rs 1 Lakh per project.