THIRD year girls from secondary schools in Glasgow are celebrating, as their “Girls@COP26” event took home a prestigious international award for innovation and youth education.

The Sister Cities International award was awarded to the Sister Cities Association, based in the US city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The association worked in coalition with Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Caledonian University’s Mary Robinson Centre for Climate Justice and the Women of the World (WOW) Foundation to “give girls a voice” during the United Nations COP26 summit held in Glasgow last year.

“Girls@COP26 – The Solutions are Feminist”, was a two-week conference held at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) in November last year. Its title was inspired by Mary Robinson’s book: “Climate Justice: A Man Made Problem With a Feminist Solution”.

Over 2500 S3 pupils participated as schools joined forces to discuss global issues around environment and gender – with themes ranging from what the green economy means for women and girls, to the gender specific impacts of climate displacement and food insecurity. 

It aimed to “highlight each generation’s responsibility to ensure the protection of rights for the next”, encouraging emerging female leaders in this field. 

At the time of the event, Drumchapel High student Caitlin Rosie said: "The world is deteriorating and it's going to affect my generation and future generations in a negative way in the future unless something happens now.

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"Events like this bring more attention and awareness to the climate change problem so that things can happen quicker."

Speakers at the event included former Irish President Dr Mary Robinson, and a panel of experts. 

Bailie Annette Christie, Convener for Culture, Sport and International Relations, said: "The Solutions are Feminist conference, in partnership with GCU and Women of the World (WOW), was the ideal platform for Glasgow's female voices to be heard, influence change and make an impact - pupil voice is very strong in Glasgow's schools and COP26 provided the perfect platform for the girls' opinions to be shared.

“This is a great honour and recognises not only the success of the event but also our partnership with Pittsburgh, a fairly recent connection and one that we hope to strengthen in the future.”

Professor Tahseen Jafry, Director of the Mary Robinson Centre for Climate Justice, said: "The success of Girls@CoP26 is testimony to the pupils who took part and engaged so enthusiastically in the event.

“I am so proud of what they have achieved together with all the partners involved in delivering such an ambitious two-week programme. I am delighted that our work has been recognised and I look forward to our continuing collaboration.”

Kathy Risko, Executive Director, Sister Cities Association of Pittsburgh, said: ”Sister Cities Pittsburgh was very proud to partner with Girls@COP26 to engage Glasgow youth in important climate conversations. We are energised by our sister relationship with Glasgow and look forward to future collaborations and exchanges between our two cities”. 

The pupils involved plan to meet together again on International Day of the Girl Child on October 11 2022, to share progress on the collective action from COP26 and launch a new “Girls manifesto” in advance of COP27.