Caravan “Youth For Climate”, a national initiative putting young people at the forefront of climate action

Cairo – September 5, 2022: At a launch event today, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Ministry of Environment and with the support of UNICEF and the United Nations in Egypt, a new initiative was announced focused on youth engagement in climate action.

The inaugural event was attended by HE Dr Ashraf Sobhy, Minister of Youth and Sports, Dr Ali Abu Sena, Head of the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA), Ms Elana Panova, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Egypt, Mr. Jeremy Hopkins, UNICEF Representative in Egypt, and actor Ahmed Helmy, UNICEF Regional Goodwill Ambassador.

The “Youth For Climate” Caravan, an equipped gas-powered mobile van, will be driven by a team of young people traveling through all Egyptian governorates from 5 September.

The Caravan will organize various activities during its journey which includes capacity building sessions, youth dialogue, competitions, festivals, theater performances, bootcamps; as well as awareness campaigns.

Essentially, the caravan touring the country would encourage young people to fully engage in the climate discussion and pave the way for COP27 scheduled for November in Sharm El Sheikh.

Egypt is keen to empower adolescents and young people to play an effective role in international efforts to combat climate change.

Globally, all children face challenges related to climate change and the degradation of the natural environment. Some children; however, are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change than others – largely dependent on the availability, quality, equity and sustainability of key and essential services for children, such as water and sanitation, health care, nutrition and education.

“The Ministry’s approach is to educate children and youth about climate change, and the importance of preserving the environment through a package of various projects and programs in cooperation with institutions concerned with climate change and going green, as well as international development partners in light of the directives of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi”, asserted Dr. Ashraf Sobhi, Minister of Youth and Sports. 
The Minister indicated that the “Youth For Climate” Caravan will be hosted in climate and environment clubs in youth centers located in various governorates. In his remarks the Minister referred that the Ministry of Youth and Sports’ will organize the “Children of the World Meet” festival next October, as part of the youth preparatory program agenda for the Climate Summit (COP 27), and the Ministry is also working in liaison with the Youth Department of the Secretariat of the United Nations Convention, and in coordination with a number of local organizations, to implement the Climate Youth Conference (COY 17), the Ministry is also working on organizing a special day for youth concerned about climate and to recognize volunteer’s efforts which would be held during the COP 27 summit. 
Dr. Yasmine Fouad, Minister of Environment, said, “I appreciate the tireless efforts of the Ministry of Youth and Sports to promote the involvement of conscious and educated youth not only from Egypt, but also from around the world in international climate action. I also emphasize on the outstanding cooperation of all development partners; especially, all the bodies, organizations, and programs of the United Nations, which seek to develop and advance environmental and climate work and achieve sustainable development goals at all economic, social, and environmental levels. 
The Minister stressed that "Egypt seeks, through the COP27 Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Conference, to address a range of topics in its presidential program, such as food and water security, biodiversity, waste management, as well as equal transition of energy. The slogan of the COP27 Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Conference is “Execution Conference” as we aim during the conference to raise ambitions through viable youth ideas.”

Ms. Elena Panova, United Nations Resident Coordinator, said, “The Climate Change Caravan is a youth-led, forward-looking and inclusive climate action initiative. It brings local climate-related solutions from across the country and provides a space for consultations by and for young people in Egypt. She added, “Youth engagement is at the heart of the UN’s work in Egypt. We pledge to stand with them as they aspire to a more prosperous and resilient Egypt.

Mr. Jeremy Hopkins, UNICEF Representative in Egypt, said: “The climate crisis has put children on every continent at heightened risk of more destructive climate hazards, from heat waves and droughts to cyclones and to flooding, as well as increasing levels of water and air pollution, which makes us all extremely concerned. We are proud to be part of the Youth 4 Climate caravan which will travel through Egypt with stops along the way to listen to children and young people express their concerns, ideas and recommendations on what we can do for ourselves. adapt, mitigate and slow down climate change. Furthermore, I am happy that the youth are participating in interactive activities with all the youth through the Caravan journey to ensure that the voices of young people in Egypt are heard at the Climate Change Summit. I would like to express my gratitude to the GoE for their tireless efforts, and also thank USAID and the Swiss Development Cooperation for their substantial support”.

A recent World Bank study found that up to 132 million people worldwide could be pushed into extreme poverty by 2030 due to climate change – 44 million due to its impact on health, 33 .5 million due to the impact on food prices and 18.2 million due to the impact of disasters.

Ahmed Helmy, Actor and UNICEF Regional GWA said, “climate change is becoming an important challenge just like other challenges that we face nowadays. It is necessary to consider its impact and strive to overcome the dangers of climate change, not only for our sake, but for the sake of our children and for all living organisms that have the right to live and breathe. In a healthy climate created by God for us, it’s our duty to preserve it. To realize the extent of the crisis, we must first be informed about it so that we can seek in quick steps means to solve it and avoid its occurrence or, more precisely, its aggravation. This will only happen through education and awareness starting from an early age. These are integral elements of the global and local response, as raising awareness along with education play an important role in developing the mind and knowledge for the renaissance of societies, namely the youth and adolescents. It's time to understand our environment, take care of it and protect it against the harmful effects of climate change. All this for us to live a healthy and green life that can adapt to climate change and mitigating its effects. This youth-led initiative is a huge and comprehensive collective effort to advance environmental education and climate action for future generations.”

This national initiative launched today provides adolescents and young people with the knowledge, skills and opportunities to understand, care for and protect their environment as active agents against the adverse effects of climate change.

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