TEXT: Sibel BÜLAY
ICLEI has been working with youth from around the world in the belief that, as inheritors of the climate crisis, they must be involved in the climate debate at all levels. An outcome of the collaboration between ICLEI and the Youth Group is the report Vision on Youth Engagement in Global Climate Action, which was launched at the Multilevel Action Paviliıon.
According to the report youth need to be involved in the fight against climate change because this is a direct threat to their future. And there are more than a 1.3 billion people aged 15 to 24 on earth.
And the fact is that they are actively involved. YOUNGO, the official children and youth constituency of the UNFCCC, takes part in the development of intergovernmental climate change policies. Youth is actively engaged in climate action, the climate debate. They have held events spanning the globe, to call attention to the climate emergency.
The 2021 Glasgow Climate Pact recognizes “the important role of… youth and children, in addressing and responding to climate change… and urges parties and stakeholders to ensure meaningful youth participation and representation in multilateral, national and local decision-making processes.” The Glasgow work programme reaffirms « the critical role of youth as agents of change, calling for further enhancement of youth participation in climate change processes.”
ICLEI recognized the importance of including the voice of youth in the climate dialog, and they have made room for them at ICLEI events, such as Daring Cities and the Malmö Summit and at the LGMA Pavilion.
But young people today are angry. They see a lack of ambition among the “adults.” Greta Thunberg refused to attend COP 27, criticizing the event as a forum for “greenwashing” and the “extremely limited” space for civil society at the forum. They complain of “youthwashing” and are frustrated by the consultative role they are expected to play. Youth want to be part of the decision-making group.
Youth bring energy, ambition, creativity and ICLEI is committed to including youth in all five of its pathways: Low emission, nature-based, equitable, resilient and circular development. And they envision youth processes feeding into various processes such as local decision-making.
“ICLEI aims to enhance the participation of youth through their proactive involvement in the activities of local governments through three pillars: (i) Advocacy, (ii) Knowledge Sharing and Capacity Development; and (iii) Governance.’’