Young people make their voices heard during MENA Climate Week

UN Climate Change News, 11 April 2022 – Young people and youth experts came together late last month for the first-ever Middle East and North Africa Climate Week, MENACW 2022in Dubai to discuss ways to enhance meaningful youth engagement and participation in climate policy making and action in the Middle East and North Africa region.

A clear message from the discussions at a special youth event is that the climate goals of the Paris Agreement will only be achieved with the meaningful participation of all sectors of society, especially young people. Connected to each other like never before, young people are leading climate action by implementing emissions reduction and adaptation projects, proposing innovative solutions and inspiring political change.

Ina Parvanova, Director, Communications and Engagement Division, UN Climate Change Secretariat, highlighted the importance of Glasgow work program on ACE that governments adopted at COP26 of the United Nations Climate Change Conference last year. It recognizes the importance of young people as agents of change and promotes youth participation in relevant climate processes at national and international levels.

“The Paris Agreement recognizes that climate change is a complex challenge that cannot be solved by governments alone. We need everyone equipped and empowered to get involved, drive change and support governments in climate action so they can deliver on their promises to achieve greater ambition.

Issues and priorities highlighted at the youth event included: the need for climate education as a fundamental tool; increased funding to provide young people with entrepreneurial innovations and solutions; Urgently turn COP26 promises into action; and promoting youth participation in national delegations to UN climate change meetings.

Youth are at the center of Action for Climate Empowerment (AS). ACE’s overarching goal is to empower all members of society to engage in climate action, through public education and awareness, training, public participation and access information, as well as international cooperation on these issues.

At an ACE workshop, ACE National Focal Points and a diverse group of stakeholders, including young people, had the opportunity to reflect on concrete opportunities to advance the implementation of the Glasgow Work Program on ACE at regional level.

Recommendations included the need for adequate capacity development, increased collaboration among various stakeholders, and a better understanding of ways to integrate ACE into national policies and plans.

UN Climate Change has an official group of children and young people known as YOUNGOwhich is a vibrant global network of child and youth activists and youth NGOs, helping to shape intergovernmental policies on climate change and working to empower young people to have their voices formally heard in United Nations climate change process.

In this regard, Selma Bichbich, contact point of the HR working group of YOUNGO (Algeria) stressed that: “Our actions will determine a future that we will be the leaders.”

Janet Rogan, COP26 Regional Ambassador for the MENA region, said: “I was delighted to be part of YOUNGO’s event during MENA Climate Week. We discussed the critical role of education, youth voice and public awareness in driving climate action and the need for governments to include young people in their national preparations for COP27 and in their official delegations as negotiators and full participants.

A clear message from the MENA Climate Week youth events is that efforts to empower young people to meaningfully participate in decision-making on climate change in the run-up to COP27 need to be strengthened.

Amr Essam, Senior Advisor, COP27 Presidency Team, said: “The COP27 Presidency approaches the issue of youth climate engagement and participation not just as a procedural obligation, but as an imperative. fundamental dictated by the need to maximize the benefits of the incredible breadth and diversity of expertise and knowledge available in younger circles.

Muna Alamoodi, Climate Change Advisor at the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, said: “We in the UAE strongly believe in the ability of the younger generation to play an active role in strengthening climate action. . Looking ahead to COP27, we are committed to working with our partners in Egypt to help them facilitate youth participation in the event. And as host of COP28 in 2023, the UAE sees strong youth engagement as one of its top priorities.

2022 is a critical year for ACE and young people. At the 56th session of the subsidiary bodies, Parties will undertake the development of an action plan focused on immediate action through short, clear and time-bound team activities to advance implementation priority areas identified in the Glasgow work programme. The development of the action plan will be guided by the results of the first in-session dialogue on ACE focusing on the engagement of children and young people in the implementation of the four priority areas of the Glasgow work programme.

the ACE Centera project funded by the federal state of North-Rhein Westfalen, will organize additional activities this year dedicated to supporting meaningful youth engagement in climate policy and action, including an annual Youth ACE Exchange in June and a Hackathon for develop new ideas and solutions to increase awareness, education and participation in climate action in September.

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