Young People Demanded Their Effective Participation in Negotiation of Climate Conference
10 September 2021, ActionAid Bangladesh, Dhaka
Climate change is one of the greatest threats to human rights of our generation especially for youth and it has profound impacts on a wide variety of human rights. So, Participation of young people in the climate discussion with global efforts is mandatory because climate change negatively effects on the life, livelihood, health, and other socio economical aspect of young people.
Speakers and discussant in the consultation event stated these on a webinar titled `Climate Justice: Capturing Youth Voice from Global South in the Context of Pandemic’ organized by ActionAid Bangladesh on 09 September 2021 (Thursday). The consultation was participated by young people across Asia, Africa, Central Asia and Europe, along with the young people from Bangladesh.
Youth climate champions and activists from the various countries raised their voice, against the limited or no spaces to the various global decision-making spaces including in COP26. This year COVID 19 Pandemic making the situation worse because of vaccine inequity, particularly for the young people in global south.
Rebecca Sultana, founder of Youth Environment and Social Development Society (YESDS) and member of ActionAid International Bangladesh Society (AAIBS) General Assembly inaugurated the event as a chair.
Stating climate change as man-made and we are to be blamed for it, Nahim Razzaq, Member of Parliament, Bangladesh and the Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Climate change is evident and a great problem of today and requires changes to be made by all. He urged the governments to follow the Paris Agreement to ensure decent eco system for the betterment of the world. He also looks forward to seeing some change happened after the 5 years of Paris agreement.
Dr. Saleemul Huq, Director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) in Bangladesh emphasised on action rather than advocacy related to climate issues. “Advocacy is good, but it is not enough. Advocacy alone no longer can be sufficient. Action is more important along with advocacy and join the forces of doers. Pick a problem of the locality and start solving problem by building alliances of people. Action should be initiated locally first and then nationally to globally,” Saleemul Huq said.
Farah Kabir, Country Director of ActionAid Bangladesh said in a video message that young people around the globe want to take COP26 as an opportunity to raise their issues to bring to the global leadership. But young people are worried that the COP26 is not going to be participatory because of the issue of vaccination. She also expressed her concern that many countries of the world have not been able to vaccinate their population. The majority of the population who are not vaccinated are young people because of age bar and many other factors. She raised question that “is this restriction supportive of participation specially of the young people and is a COP meaningful where there are no participation of the future generation and present young people?” She urged for making agreement for collective action to convey this message to the COP presidency and global leadership.
Climate Activist Saila Sobnom Richi from `Youth Net for Climate Justice Bangladesh’ presented her experiences on the vulnerability of young people amid COVID-19 pandemic with respect to climate change. According to her presentation, challenges remain to use cyclone shelter after maintaining COVID-19 protocols which negatively impacts on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), health & nutrition of young women. She argued system change for achieving climate justice and intersectional Justice for humanity.
Among others, young climate Activists- Shreya K.C (Nepal), Disha Ravi (India), Eric Damien (Kenya), Neeshad Shafi (Qatar), Jon Bonifacio (Philippines), Manuel Vásquez (Guatemala), Maria Reyes (Mexico), Laksh Sharma (India), Khun Thet Paing (Myanmar), Joainta Babirye (Uganda) shared their thought and experiences for ensuring climate justice and meaningful climate actions.
They said ‘’This cop is very important, but it is very controversial this year. This cop has barriers that will discourage young people to join the program. Weather you go to the COP or not, it does not matter much. We need to make our leaders accountable after they come back home from COP. We need to play our part in this climate and pandemic issue. Let’s check and reduce our emissions, adapt to the new normal. Bring action along with advocacy. We must increase credibility with solution-oriented action.”
The consultation event had brought together a wide range of climate activists, youth activists from national and global level and climate experts from all the global platform under one platform to discuss the issues of young people in the context of COVID-19 Pandemic and linkages with the issue of climate change, addressing intersectionality between climate change, pandemic, and policy development in new normal reality. Ensuring the participation of young people from global south effectively in the global negotiation process, promoting youth led adaptation and mitigation process with the help of government and international agency was also highlighted in the event.