Updated: May 6, 2022
Co-organized by UNDP, UNICEF, UNFCCC, UNEP, OHCHR, UNV, UNESCO, The British Council, YOUNGO, Movers Programme and 2030 Youth Force
To raise awareness, create a call-to-action and prepare young climate advocates across Asia and the Pacific for larger, global dialogues in the lead up to Stockholm+50 conference in June, UNDP, UNICEF, UNFCCC, UNEP, OHCHR, UNV, UNESCO, The British Council, YOUNGO, Movers Programme and 2030 Youth Force co-organized the virtual regional summit, Road to Stockholm+50: Regional Dialogue on Youth Empowerment in Climate Action on 6-7 April 2022.
The two-day event brought together young environmental human rights activists and professionals from various backgrounds covering research, NGO, science-policy interface, policy, youth networks working on issues related to climate change and more to leverage regional knowledge and secure commitments from participants. Thousands of delegates joined from across the region to hear from over 30 speakers and panelists including young changemakers.
Opening remarks were given by Kanni Wignaraja, UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, followed by Debora Comini, Regional Director, UNICEF East Asia and Pacific, Ina Parvanova, Director, Communications and Engagement of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), AnnaMaria Oltorp, Head of Development Section at the Swedish embassy in Bangkok, and Elizabeth Gulugulu, Global Focal Point to the UNFCCC constituency of Youth Non-Governmental Organizations (YOUNGO).
On the first day, speakers led panel discussions on how to bring voices of youth where it matters most, fireside chats under the topics of climate and energy, biodiversity and sustainable lifestyles; and the day wrapped up with youth keynote sessions on how young teachers can empower their students to support climate action, and climate behaviors and emotions that power climate action.
The second day began with a launch of knowledge products, a plenary session on climate justice for children, youth and future generations, opportunities for youth, a hotseat discussion on empowering young people as solution makers for enabling climate resilient development, and ended with the way forward to Stockholm+50.
Throughout the Regional Dialogue, local and regional youth-led climate adaptation and mitigation initiatives were highlighted, green jobs and green businesses available in the Asia-Pacific region were promoted, and key Youth Empowerment in Climate Action Platform (YECAP) programmes such as Fellowship Cohort #3, climate negotiator programme, and indigenous youth support programme were announced.
Participants were encouraged to engage in a meaningful and diverse way to address the underlying opportunities, obligations, and delivery of unfulfilled pledges. They were also invited to answer the call for greater collaboration among youth, development organizations, policy makers and other stakeholders by convening under the multi-sectoral partnerships on the regional platform to explore the urgent need for a healthy planet and prosperity for all, a sustainable and inclusive recovery from COVID-19, and implementation of the environmental dimension of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Abdulla Al-Abdulla, Acting Executive Director of ROTA at Education Above All Foundation noted that when young people are equipped with the understanding, skills and values to become active and engaged global citizens, and they are given opportunities to engage with leaders as well as platforms to have their voices heard, then they become not just an important part of the solutions to the climate crisis, but an essential one.
In his closing remarks, Jaco Cilliers, Manager, UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub reiterated the focus on action, inclusion, youth engagement, and long-term sustainable partnerships. He emphasized on the diversity of those who have answered the call-to-action for climate change, and that their roles in this movement are equally important for meaningful climate action.
Moving forward, greater collaboration is necessary to expedite regional youth climate action and transformative solutions. Public-private-youth partnerships across the region need to be fostered. Targeted policies are to be developed to address the needs of vulnerable young people.
The Road to Stockholm+50: Regional Dialogue on Youth Empowerment in Climate Action provided a platform for young environmental human rights activists at national and regional levels to discuss experience of climate change and environmental advocacy strategies. It is an initial step towards engaging stakeholders, individuals, communities, organizations and governments across Asia and the Pacific to step up the collective efforts to support young environmental human rights activists and their transformative solutions to lead the way in the journey beyond recovery, towards 2030.
To learn more about YECAP, please visit https://linktr.ee/yecap.ap