Youth, Peace, and Climate Action

On October 22nd, IPI together with the governments of Sweden and Singapore, the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, the UN Office for Partnerships, the Office of the Assistant Secretary-General on Climate Action, the Global Challenges Foundation, the United Network of Young Peacebuilders and the UN75 Campaign cohosted a virtual policy forum on “Youth, Peace, and Climate Action.”

Since the adoption of the Paris Agreement, young people have emerged as a powerful force calling for transformative change on climate action. In response, the UN secretary-general’s Climate Action Summit in 2019 recognized the importance of youth involvement and leadership in supporting the global transition to zero emissions. Moreover, the UN’s Strategy on Youth, “Youth2030,” calls for expanded and systematic youth engagement in all arenas. Additionally, the Declaration for the Commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the UN recognizes that “youth is the missing piece between development and peace.”

Recent reports highlight a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the recovery from COVID-19 to support green investments. With the 26th Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP 26) postponed until 2021, it is urgent that world leaders from both the public and private sectors commit to a green recovery from COVID-19. It is also urgent that countries submit their enhanced country action plans (or nationally determined contributions) in 2020 and that developed countries meet the financing goals.

Inaction on climate change is leading to heightened peace and security risks. According to the UN secretary-general’s Report on Youth, Peace, and Security presented to the Security Council on April 23, 2020, “Young people face significant challenges stemming from globalization, violence, demographic shifts, inequalities, new technologies, forced displacement, shrinking civic space, changing labor markets, and climate change.” With the reality of young people in conflict being affected by climate risks, a new outlook is needed to actively involve youth in peace, security, and climate governance work and decisions.

Opening Remarks:
H.E. President Mary Robinson, Chair of The Elders, First woman President of Ireland, and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake, UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth
H.E. Ms. Geraldine Byrne Nason, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the UN
Ms. Joan Cedano, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Dominican Republic to the UN
Ms. Nisreen Elsaim, Chair of UN Secretary-General’s Youth Advisory Group and Chair of the Sudan Youth Organization on Climate Change
Mr. Pedro Cunha, Regional Facilitator at LACEMOS, member of UNOY Peacebuilders

Closing Remarks:
H.E. Mr. Magnus Lennartsson, Deputy Permanent Representative of Sweden to the UN

Ms. Jimena Leiva Roesch, IPI Senior Fellow and Head of Peace and Sustainable Development Program