Updated: Nov 1
By Prachi Thukral, Movers Facilitator and Youth Delegate from India
A conference of youth, for youth, and by youth
Over 130 young people from a variety of rural, urban, indigenous, and underrepresented areas of India participated in the Local Conferences of Youth (LCOY) India 2023. The conference was held at the Kerala Institute of Local Administration (KILA), Thrissur, offering a forum for elevating youth voices in the discussion of international climate policy.
LCOY India, as part of YOUNGO, the official youth constituency of UN Climate Change, aimed to address local issues from a broader national perspective. It actively encouraged young individuals to participate in climate action and decision-making processes. Hosted at the Kerala Institute of Local Administration (KILA), LCOY India 2023 exceeded all expectations. The theme 'Empowering Youth for a Climate-Resilient Future: Turning Passion into Progress' brought together young minds from across the nation, all driven by a shared commitment to combat climate change.
Reflecting on LCOY India this year, I am struck by its significant impact on both youth engagement and climate advocacy in our nation. From 15-17 September, the picturesque city of Thrissur in Kerala served as the host for this impressive event, revolving around the theme 'Empowering Youth for a Climate-Resilient Future: Turning Passion into Progress.' Thrissur, with its rich cultural heritage and natural splendor, provided an ideal setting for a gathering focused on climate action.
LCOY India 2023 gave me a great chance to network with like-minded people who are determined to have a positive impact on our planet. I had the opportunity to participate in insightful discussions, learn from experts in the field, and exchange ideas with passionate people committed to addressing climate challenges throughout the conference. The wide variety of viewpoints and solutions offered to address climate change was the high point in my opinion. It was amazing to see the group effort to address this global crisis and make the voices of youth heard on important topics ranging from renewable energy inventions to nature-based solutions.
Platform for Spirited Discussions and Enlightening Presentations
On the first day, experts from diverse fields shared their insights, sparking inspiration among attendees. From panel discussions to ice-breaking sessions, the dynamic sessions covered meaningful youth engagement as a catalyst for climate action, youth-led social movement towards building community-based climate resilience, and climate solutions to intersectionality and policy action in India.
Global Policy to Local Action: Field Visits
The second day was all set for the field visits. Our visit to Kaipamangalam village in Thrissur provided valuable insights into the benefits of Miyazaki forests on the seashores and allowed us to interact with the local fishing community.
One of the two field trips to the waste treatment facility run by the Wadakkanchery Municipality was nothing short of illuminating. The delegates were in awe of every stage of the waste management process, from the interesting composting unit for bio waste to the cutting-edge material collecting facility (MCF) and resource recovery facility (RRF) for non-bio waste.
This hands-on experience underscored the significance of local climate initiatives. Conversations on business potential in the waste management industry were incredibly motivating. The meaningful youth engagement in climate action offered learning opportunities that expanded and advanced the endeavor. Moreover, inspiring stories of youth activism from many regions of the nation were shared and exchanged.
Collaborative Effort to Draft the National Youth Declaration for COP28
The final and third day was an outstanding milestone given the drafting process of the National Youth Declaration for the upcoming 2023 UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) in UAE. The focus was on practical solutions such as in sustainable agriculture, energy systems, use of land, water and food, rural livelihoods, and climate finance.
Throughout the three-day conference, youth gained a comprehensive understanding of various UNFCCC workstreams, including Action for Climate Empowerment, Adaptation and Mitigation, the Global Stocktake, and their relevance at the local level. The primary aim of the activities was to equip youth delegates with a deep understanding of UNFCCC workstreams where they prioritized recommendations for COP28 and the Climate Change and Youth Engagement Strategy for Mission LiFE.
In retrospect, LCOY India 2023 was more than a conference. It was an empowering journey, accentuated by the natural splendor of Thrissur. As we depart, the spirit of collaboration forged during the event will continue to resonate within us, propelling us on our shared path towards a sustainable future for future generations.
Climate action is not an individual pursuit; it is a collective commitment. LCOY India 2023 was a great example of young people's dedication to a common cause. Let's honor our planet, raise awareness, and take action for a greener, healthier, and more sustainable world. In the words of Margaret Mead, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
For more youth-led news and updates in the lead-up to COP28, please visit www.yecap-ap.org