June 11, 2021
We, as the U7+ Alliance of universities spanning six continents and representing all of the G7 nations as well as 10 other nations, are committed to working with the G7 to recognize the key role that universities play as primary global actors that can support the G7’s efforts to tackle climate change and preserve the planet’s biodiversity, lead the global recovery from the coronavirus while strengthening resilience against future pandemics, and champion shared values. The U7+ Alliance and its member universities are eager to work with the G7 leaders to prioritize the interests and rights of youth and future generations as they implement their commitments in Cornwall and in the lead up to the COP26 in Glasgow.
In particular, we are committed to working with the G7 and leaders across the public and private sectors to create new opportunities for mutual understanding and equitable resource sharing across generations. As an alliance of universities, we sit at the crossroads of generations—in a space where knowledge is generated and new, bolder visions for the future are imagined—and have committed to serving as platforms for open intergenerational dialogue.
The U7+ wishes to highlight priority areas in terms of opportunities to collaborate with G7 leaders to actively take responsibility for and foster intergenerational dialogue on issues of importance to this year’s multilateral agenda:
1. Leading the global recovery from the coronavirus while strengthening resilience against future pandemics: Resilience depends on the education of our citizens. As G7 leaders reflect on how to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthen resilience against future pandemics, the preparation of the next generation of leaders must be a paramount concern, and we recognize our universities have a distinctive responsibility to train and nurture responsible, active citizens who will contribute to society, at the local and global levels.
2. Tackling climate change and preserving the planet’s biodiversity:
We recognize that our universities have a major role to play in addressing environmental issues and challenges to sustainability and are committed to promoting access to courses related to climate, biodiversity and sustainability for all of our students. We have also begun facilitating and we encourage G7 leaders to join us in promoting intergenerational dialogue on climate change and environmental degradation.
Moreover, leaders from 21 U7+ Alliance universities have developed a framework for taking inventory of how higher education institutions are doing their part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We are actively working to reduce our own greenhouse gas emissions from 2018 levels by 2030–while leveraging technologies to provide solutions to complex issues.
3. Championing global shared values:
Universities have a distinctive and leading role to play in confronting differences and divisions in society, and in working for equality and inclusiveness. The U7+ Alliance will host an intergenerational roundtable discussion on the global gender gap and encourages G7 leaders to actively foster intergenerational dialogue on this and other issues of inclusiveness and equality. We are committed to working with the G7 to promote and facilitate routes to higher education for youth from underrepresented groups, support their success
and insist that freedom of speech, academic freedom and open and respectful dialogue are critical to a well-functioning democracy.