Youth as a Key Stakeholder in Climate Action

Bindu

The year 2015 was remarkable for many good reasons and a few worst alarming situations as well. On the brighter side, adoption of seventeen global goals in September, officially known as ‘Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ and adoption of Paris Agreement (PA) by 195 countries on 12th December to limit the rise of global temperature to well below 2 degree Celsius. While as on the darker side, November Paris attack left behind everyone mourning and on a different note, 2015 broke out the record for being the hottest year since modern record keeping in 1880, mainly attributable to the consequences of anthropogenic climate change.
To this day, it is no more debatable or let’s say less debatable (exception is a universality) that climate change is happening and of course due to human interference to the level beyond carrying capacity of the mother Earth.We are the first generation to feel the effect of climate change and the last generation who can do something about it, as quoted by former US President Obama. As such, climate change has been the burning topic of discussion for this decade and predictably for the whole century. No doubt, with the PA in 2015 a momentum is generated and sparked the hopes for a sustainable, inclusive and equitable future while making efforts to restoring the present. But with the current trend of emissions trajectory in Business as Usual (BUA) Model we are far beyond in compliance with our ultimate goal of limiting to 2 degree Celsius. Independent research suggest that even with the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in action (without post pledges progress), the temperature projection would be around 2.5 to 3.5 degree Celsius.
Beyond all the even odds, where do youth stand amidst these interventions, prediction and field of diplomacy?
The modern era is YOUNGO, adding the fact that there are 1.8 billion youths aged 18- 24 years, largest ever in the history. Their energy, innovation and creativity is unbeatable. It is crystal clear, youth are the key stakeholders in achieving the global goals, they are the present, not merely future. No more, they should be excluded from so called high level discussions and imposed upon the outdated decisions. Because they own the right to shape the future they want and build the present they are living in with due consideration to the intergenerational equity. Especially the youth from least developed and developing countries in Global South have no reliable access to the financial, technical and political resources. Often it is felt that youth are making noises, raising their voices from grass root to global scale and generating the momentum but the question is how well are they heard or even if they are heard how well are those youth voices taken into consideration?
Youth are the most potential stakeholder in bridging the gap between negotiations, research, policy and commons. They are the most active social media users thus, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) they use can be mobilized in delivering message to the community who are yet unaware about their vulnerability to changing climate. They are the accelerator for transmission of any information and can integrate indigenous technological knowledge with modern applied science in strengthening adaptation and resilience efforts to climate change.Their quest of learning, exploring and taking up the challenge adds to their aspiring leadership skills.
Thus, it is of utmost importance that youth need to be included in all levels of decision making. Their contribution, creativity and capacity should be recognized and addressed as a key driver to change. Let us explore their crazily amazing energy and expertiseto identify, prioritize and implement strategies for a YOUNGO and Livable Earth.

Ms. Bhandari is a youth campaigner from Nepal. Currently, she is serving asAsia Regional Officer for Cop In My City project of CliMates (youth association on climate change). Besides she has been working as a Regional Ambassador of Tunza Eco- Generation since February 2015. Youth empowerment and climate action are her key interests; as such she has been actively engaged in campaigning since last three years. She can be reached at bindu.bhandari@climates.fr

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One Comment

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