Make it work: students committed to the climate

Meenakshi Raina, an Indian student at SciencesPo enrolled in the Master in International Energy, lived an unusual experience. Indeed, on May 31, 2015, more than 200 international students from the Make it Work programme came to an agreement to tackle global warming with innovative and ambitious proposals. Currently on an internship at AXA, at the Corporate Responsibility department, Meenakshi took the time to answer a few questions about this novel programme, a simulation of the COP21 climate negotiations. ALL NEWS  |  Climate
Dec 8, 2015

What role did you play during the negotiations? What do you think of the proposals you agreed on?

Convinced by the issues at stake, we decided to launch this new programme. On my side, I quickly joined the communications team and spent more than six months researching on all the topics related to climate change, in order to be ready for the start of the negotiations. I represented a delegation of Forests in the negotiations, working closely with state and non-state delegations as part of the energy contact group.

Make it Work gave a chance to non-state actors to participate in international negotiations, and that's a real innovation. Representatives of cities, vulnerable communities, forests and oceans were able to share their points of view, just as much as UNFCCC traditional representatives. I'm very happy that despite conflicting interests, we were able to make concrete propositions such as establishing a global carbon market by 2050, or recognizing ecocides as crimes against humanity.

What happened since May for Make it Work? What role does the program play during the actual COP21 negotiations?

Many student felt the need to bring back to their own country what they had learnt during the negotiations, by organizing debates and discussions. Students from all over the world really committed when they came back to their school, company or NGO, stimulating discussions in various places and institutions. During COP21, our conclusions were screened at Le Bourget on the 4th and the 7th of December, and at other places.

What about the role of the AXA Research Fund?

AXA Research Fund was a sponsor of the Make it work program. Thanks to the Fund we organized trainings with AXA Research Fund experts that came and taught us about risk modeling, climate change, city resilience, impact on natural disasters... AXA's training was a great way for us to learn about the risk perspective, about how to prevent these risks and gave us a solid understanding of the topic, which was very useful during the negotiations.

What do you get from your experience?

Make it Work has been a unique experience - and we are all convinced that we need to carry forward the message outside the program. All the students that took part in the project kept in touch and this community continues to live beyond the event. I won't be surprised to meet fellow Make it Workers as climate negotiators in years to come.

I'm also very proud to have been part of such an initiative. We won a prize for our work - the special jury prize of Grand Prix de Communications et Entreprise - which was a moment of celebration.

Tags: Climate