Zero Carbon Conference for Students held for the first time -High school and university students learn and interact with each other across countries-

By Nagano Prefecture

Cooperation between Nagano Prefecture, Japan and Region of North Karelia, Finland

The Zero Carbon Conference for Students was held online for four days from February 22 to 25, 2022.

The conference was organized by the Nagano Prefectural Government, Karelia University of Applied Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, North Karelia Municipal Education and Training Consortium, Riveria and ENO Schoolnet Association as part of the 2020-2022 Forest Bioeconomy Collaboration Project Between North Karelia in Finland and Nagano Prefecture in Japan, and funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the Regional Council of North Karelia.

Nagano Prefecture is one of the most mountainous prefectures in Japan, blessed with a rich natural environment, including 3,000-meter-high mountains and large mountain rivers. Nagano has three Biosphere Reserves (eco parks) recognized by UNESCO, with the Shiga Highland Biosphere Reserve being one of the first approved in Japan in 1980.

North Karelia is home to magnificent landscapes such as Koli National Park in the North Karelian Biosphere Reserve, designated by UNESCO in 2005.

In 2019, Nagano Prefecture and North Karelia signed a memorandum of understanding with the aim of promoting and strengthening cooperative relationships in fields such as forestry and renewable energy. This international conference was realized as a result of this agreement.

 

Enthusiastic discussion between students and experts from all over the world

At the conference, high school and university students from around the globe gave presentations on four themes—climate change, circular economy, microplastics, and forest resources. In addition, keynote speeches were delivered by various experts including researchers, educators and environmental activists. Discussions were held between student presenters and guest speakers.

There were 16 groups of students from six countries. Student presenters from Japan, Finland, Peru, Lithuania, Kenya and Spain shared their regional issues and actions.

More than 1,200 people from 44 countries around the world attended.

The conference archive is available here.

Next step for the future

It is extremely important for younger generations who will be responsible for the future to be able to share issues and activities across countries, regions and generations, and learn from one another. Understanding and connecting with each other will create a greater impact than can be achieved by one person. For more information, or if your school or municipal office would like to attend or cooperate with this conference, please contact the Nagano Prefectural Government Environmental Policy Division (kankyo-kikaku@pref.nagano.lg.jp).