COP Student Observers Funding Pilot Program
The COP Student Observers Funding Pilot Program, supported by the Salata Institute for Climate and Sustainability, the Harvard University Center for the Environment, and the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, provides travel funding and related programming to Harvard University students who attend the annual Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), including the Paris Agreement. The COP offers students a unique experiential learning opportunity as they observe international climate negotiations and engage with an international cohort of stakeholders working on climate change. The Program provides a single application process for funding from the three organizations above.
*Harvard students who attend the COP, but who are not awarded funding through this program, are strongly encouraged to participate in the program’s other pre- and post-event activities.
- Reimbursement-based funding for travel expenses. Typically, up to $2,000 per student.
- A required 60-minute pre-travel orientation for awarded or participating students.
- A post-COP student briefing for awarded and any other participating students.
- Student reflections on the COP to be published on the Salata Institute’s website.
- Applicants must be registered Harvard University students in good academic standing and intend to be registered students in fall 2023, as well.
- Applicants must have secured the necessary credentials to attend the COP.
- Applicants must have a valid U.S. passport or non-U.S. passport and visa, if required, for the dates of international travel and have secured all necessary documents for re-entry to the United States.
- Applicants must be able to arrange their own travel and lodging accommodation and cover any associated up-front costs. Program funding is awarded on a reimbursement basis.
- Applicants must be able to confirm their commitment and ability to attend the conference if awarded funding.
- Funding will be allocated to students with a demonstrated interest in and engagement with climate change and/or related environmental, social, or economic issues – and who can effectively make an argument that attending the COP will support their academic and professional goals.
- Applicants should have strong academic or professional qualifications.
- Preference will be given to students who have not previously attended the COP and who are graduating at the end of the 2023-2024 academic year.
- Completion of all pre-travel requirements.
- Participation in pre-departure orientation.
- Participation in a post-trip observer debrief event.
- Completion of a written 700-word (minimum) reflection on your experience and takeaways from the COP.
Please complete the application by the deadline of Monday, September 11th, 2023.
The Application is comprised of the following sections:
- Applicant Information: Identifying questions about the applicant.
- Participating in COP28: Information about the applicants’ travel, credentials, and past COP participation.
- Intention Statement: A 500-word summary of your goals, interests, and intentions for attending the COP (Upload as PDF). Please follow the Intention Statement Guidelines.
- CV or Resume: (Upload as PDF)
- Program Requirements Agreement
Applications are closed.
Award Decisions: An administrative panel will review funding applications and make award decisions by Friday, September 29th, 2023. For any applicants whose COP credentials are still pending at this time, further funding considerations will be made after confirmation of their badge is received.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Please note that, to receive funding, all students traveling internationally must be registered prior to traveling with International SOS, the University’s 24/7 global emergency response provider. For more information on Harvard University’s travel services and international travel policies, please review Harvard’s International Travel & Reimbursement Guidance and visit the Harvard Travel Services website.
Students who attend the COP, but who are not awarded funding through this program, are strongly encouraged to participate in the program’s other pre- and post-event activities.
The Conference of the Parties (COP) is the formal annual meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Parties. The annual international summit is attended by the countries that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – a treaty that came into force in 1994 – and related treaties, including the Paris Agreement. Each year the COP convenes world leaders and heads of state to assess international progress in dealing with climate change. Now in its 28th year, the COP (COP28), will be hosted in Dubai, United Arab Emirates from November 30th– December 12th, 2023.
Many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are admitted as observers and are allowed to send delegates to the COP. Applicants should reach out to admitted NGOs to inquire about obtaining a badge. A list of admitted NGOs can be found here. The deadline for nomination is typically late July or early August. It is best to reach out as soon as possible.
There are advantages and disadvantages to each week. The higher-level negotiations, as well as the final decisions, are made in Week 2. There are also more observers attending, allowing, perhaps, for more interaction. However, there are many stakeholder interventions and meetings during Week 1, and Week 1 may be somewhat less crowded. It is sometimes the case that observers have less access to the negotiations in Week 2 than in Week 1.
Students who are awaiting confirmation of their COP credentials should still complete the application before the September 11th deadline. The application form will ask whether an applicant’s credentials have been confirmed or are pending. Applicants whose credentials are not confirmed before the deadline will still be considered in funding decisions. However, funding will not be formally awarded until credentials have been obtained.