On October 26th, IPI in partnership with the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea to the UN and the Government of Finland, and in collaboration with the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, cohosted a policy forum entitled “Youth Leaders on Peace and Climate Action: Priorities for COP27.”
From the Fridays for Future movement to the Youth Climate Action Coalition, youth movements have played an increasingly prominent role in calling for action to address climate change. At the global level, however, there is a need for a stronger institutional link between youth’s participation in the climate movement and their role in decision-making processes. The establishment of the secretary-general’s Advisory Group on Climate Change in July 2020 is a positive effort to bridge this gap by connecting youth leaders with the highest office at the UN. Furthermore, last month’s General Assembly resolution establishing the UN Youth Office will provide an opportunity for young people to systematically engage on issues related to climate change, peace and security, sustainable development, and human rights.
In the lead-up to the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Sharm El Sheikh, this policy forum brought together youth leaders to discuss and amplify their recommendations for global climate action. Amid growing awareness that climate change is hindering sustainable development and undermining peace and security, the policy forum also focused attention on the efforts and mobilization of young people working at the nexus of sustaining peace and climate action. As such, the discussion focused on the intersection of climate action and UN Security Council Resolution 2250 on youth, peace, and security.
The panel discussion highlighted topics including the gendered impacts of climate change, the importance of accountability and action, and resourcing needs. Jayathma Wickramanayake, the UN Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth, called for increased political and financial commitments to support youth leadership on climate. “We can’t expect young people to solve this crisis without more resources and support.” As speakers shared their hopes and expectations for upcoming climate negotiations and the first-ever Children and Youth Pavilion, the policy forum magnified youth leadership and set the stage for COP27.
H.E. Jongin Bae, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the UN
H.E. Erik Lundberg, Deputy Director General for Political Affairs, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland
Jayathma Wickramanayake, UN Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth
Omnia El Omrani, Youth Envoy for COP27
Heeta Lakhani, Founder, Climate Youth Negotiators Programme (CYNP); former YOUNGO Global Focal Point (2020–2021)
Saad Uakkas, Regional Coordinator for North Africa, African Youth Initiative for Climate Change
Jimena Leiva Roesch, Director of Global Initiatives and Head of Peace, Climate, and Sustainable Development, International Peace Institute