Learning from the youth

by: Amanda Katili Niode*

Young people are increasingly aware of the challenges and risks posed by the climate crisis and the opportunities to achieve sustainable development through climate change solutions.

“I have been more times a keynote speaker than a listener. That is one of the problems of world leaders: they talk too much and they listen too little.”

This statement was made by the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), António Guterres, when he hosted the Youth Climate Summit four years ago. The Youth Climate Summit, held at the UN Headquarters in New York City, is a platform for young people to present solutions to the climate crisis and deliver messages for world leaders to act faster in reducing greenhouse gas emissions that cause the climate crisis.

The world is now home to 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 10 and 24, the largest generation of young people in history. They are increasingly aware of the challenges and risks posed by the climate crisis and the opportunities to achieve sustainable development through climate change solutions.

The mobilisation of young people now in response to the climate crisis demonstrates their immense power with a clear message: older generations have failed, and the younger generation will pay the full price – with their own future.

At the opening of the Youth Climate Summit, António Guterres, who is usually the keynote speaker, chose to be the keynote listener, listening to the opinions of representatives of young climate fighters. Afterwards, he formed a seven-person Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change.

They represent a wide range of countries including small island states, and have diverse experiences, backgrounds and areas of climate expertise. In advising Guterres, the group works alongside young climate activists and experts around the world.

Another youth-related activity, under the auspices of UN CC: LEARN, The Dialogue Space on Learning Through Youth. The Dialogue Space on Learning through Youth focuses on discussing interventions to strengthen the capacity of youth and youth networks to participate and take action to address the climate crisis in an active and meaningful way.

UN CC:Learn, is a collaborative initiative of 36 multilateral organisations working together to help countries build the knowledge and skills they need to take action on climate change. Through its engagement at national and global levels, UN CC:Learn contributes to the implementation of the Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) part of the international agreement on climate change.

ACE strengthens the ability of community members to engage in climate action through its six elements of education, training, public awareness, public participation in decision-making, public access to information and international cooperation.

An Indonesia-led dialogue titled Engaging Youth Through Climate Action took place just a few days ago. The dialogue brought together UN CC:Learn partners and other relevant stakeholders who discussed and shared experiences working with youth for climate action.

To spark the dialogue, the event began with a presentation of The Climate Reality Project Indonesia’s experiences working with youth in Indonesia and abroad. This included Climate Hero, a programme that equips smart scouts with knowledge and ignites their passion to become champions of change in their respective communities.

Another activity, the Youth Leadership Camp for Climate Crisis is a transformative camp that brings together groups of youth from various regions in Indonesia, focusing on the climate crisis and solutions in their respective communities. ClimArt is a dynamic programme for young individuals who are passionate about integrating climate crisis issues through art.

Youth representatives from various countries, UN agencies and development organisations shared information about successful activities and related networks during the dialogue. This was a space of inspiration for fellow participants to strengthen the six elements of ACE in their respective countries, especially on international cooperation.

Most importantly, as UN Secretary-General António Guterres said: “And, listening – in listening we learn.”

* The writer is the Director of Climate Reality Indonesia
The Indonesian version of this article was first published on GBN.top

Banner photo: Agung Pandit Wiguna/pexels.com

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