In the run up to COP26, young people gathered at Youth4Climate in Milan to feed into pressing climate change discussions. Raleigh Nicaragua young person Jezabel attended Youth4Climate and co-facilitated a discussion on climate adaption and resilience. Here she explains more about the summit, what she learnt and what she thinks drives young people.
The Youth4Climate in Milan, Italy, gathered approximately 400 delegates from 190 countries for a three-day event to put forward ideas and concrete proposals on some of the most pressing issues on the climate agenda. Four themes were discussed; Youth driving ambition, sustainable recovery, non-state actors, and climate conscious society.
I facilitated a climate discussion.
I travelled from Nicaragua to Milan to attend Youth4Climate as a Youth Delegate. Here I had the chance to co-facilitate a discussion on climate adaption and resilience, a topic I am passionate about.
After the IPCC report was released, we now know that climate change is already affecting every region on Earth in multiple ways, and even if we cut greenhouse gas emissions now it would still take years for the earth to stop warming. Adaptation and resilience measures hold the key to ensure the survival of the environment, people, and other systems around the world.
In Nicaragua, rising temperatures, extended drought, and intense storms have proven that we are unprepared to effectively respond to climate-related disasters. That is why, wanting to learn more about adaptation and resilience, I decided to take the challenge to co-facilitate discussion for the adaption and resilience sub-theme at Youth4Climate.
I have never co-facilitated a high-level conversation before, and I’m no expert on the topic, so I was equally excited and scared. However, I felt this role would allow me to ask questions, gain knowledge, and get valuable insights from my peers. And that is exactly what happened! The rich exchange we had about climate adaption and resilience led us to a five-page clear proposal on how countries can integrate cross-cutting elements into international, national, and local climate adaptation and resilience framework. We now hope our proposal will be delivered at the COP26 and further analyzed by policy and decision-makers.
Youth voices at #Youth4Climate.
For me the the value of the discussions held at Youth4Climate lay in the variety of voices represented there. It captured the views and stances from young, concerned and experienced advocates who are deeply aware of the environmental crisis threatening their communities, but who also know how to solve it. It brought together young people who lived in climate change affected regions, reinforcing the urgency for climate action, while also providing opportunities to better understand what must be done to address climate change collectively and what we need to accomplish as countries.
Through the conference it became clear young people have an undoubted consensus on the following courses of action:
- Polluters must pay. This includes corporations and governments.
- Engagement from young people, vulnerable groups (especially indigenous communities) and women must be included in all decision-making processes, policy and project design, and implementation.
- We want to see the urgent dismantlement of systems that perpetuate environmental degradation and social inequalities, starting now.
- Robust measures – such as fair grants, capacity building, knowledge and technology transfer for climate change response – must be made available immediately, especially for Small Islands Developing States (SIDS), Least Developed Countries (LDCs), and Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs).
It’s time to act.
Looking back at the event, the people I met, and my experience, I wondered what drives youth ambition. I believe it is empathy, solidarity, and courage. So, world leaders, decision makers, all of us as society, let’s start caring about people affected by climate change effects and inequalities, and let us be courageous enough to transform their reality. It is time for action, not excuses.