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UN Secretary-General António Guterres announced on March 16 the seven young climate leaders who will form his next Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change and called on young people everywhere to ratchet up the pressure, acknowledging their vital role keeping the world’s climate goals alive.
The announcement comes as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change meets in Switzerland to finalize its landmark Synthesis Report, the first since the Paris Agreement was struck in 2015. The report is expected to confirm that the world is dramatically off-track in its climate efforts but can still keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius with deep and urgent emissions cuts in all sectors.
“Climate change is the fight of our lives – and young people have been on the frontlines leading the charge for climate justice. The unrelenting conviction of young people is central to keeping climate goals within reach, kicking the world’s addiction to fossil fuels, and delivering climate justice,” said the Secretary-General.
“Today, I am proud to announce the seven young leaders who will form my next Youth Advisory Group, working side-by-side with young climate activists and experts around the world. I thank my inaugural Youth Advisory Group for their tireless work throughout their two-year term to bring youth perspectives directly to me.”
“I urge young climate advocates everywhere to keep raising your voices. I am honoured to stand with young people around the world for bolder climate action.”
“The climate crisis is the culmination of centuries of exploitative and extractivist policy and attitudes. It is vital that we, as young people, are brought into the fray of decision-making on climate change so that we may continue to represent our generation in protecting our planet,” said Saoirse Exton.
“Young people, Indigenous peoples are hungry for social-ecological justice. I hope this opportunity to be here creates change for our communities on the frontline who are impacted the most by climate change and biodiversity loss, yet continually show us the path toward the transformation in governance and values that we urgently need,” said Josefa Tauli.
“We are facing a climate emergency that is affecting the most vulnerable people, particularly women and girls. With 7 years of climate experience, my goal is to champion climate adaptation and encourage world leaders to prioritize climate justice in their actions,” said Fatou Jeng. “Coming from a small island developing state, the climate crisis continues to be relentless in negatively impacting lives and livelihoods. Our survival is now dependent on a global community which is unified in urgently advancing the climate agenda, with the power of young people being a catalyst to drive this much needed accelerated action,” said Jevanic Henry.
“Rapid and ambitious decarbonization of the energy sector is the backbone of meeting the climate goals and I hope that as a member of the Youth Advisory Group I will be able to bring the attention of the Secretary-General and other global leaders to priorities that we have been emphasizing as young people in the energy transition movement, ranging from access to finance to capacity building, to creation of opportunities for young professionals,” said Beniamin Strzelecki.
“As an organizer and youth activist, I have been working towards pushing the intergovernmental space further on climate ambition. It is a great honor to continue doing this work as an advisor to the Secretary-General,” said Ayisha Siddiqa “I’m very thrilled to join the Secretary-General in his efforts to deliver climate justice through effective loss and damage schemes, supporting access to finance to youth, and fostering energy justice frameworks for the global energy transition. As a migrant youth, I understand climate change doesn’t have borders, and that we need to learn to act within the logic of nature,” said Joice Mendez.
The members of the Youth Advisory Group are drawn from all regions as well as small island states, and bring a wide diversity of experiences, backgrounds, and areas of climate expertise. They were short-listed and selected from a large pool of candidates nominated by respected youth and climate organizations from around the world, following the same process used for the selection of the inaugural Youth Advisory Group (2020 to 2022).
“The youth climate movement is not only demanding climate action, but they are also leading the charge towards a more sustainable future. Through their tireless activism, young climate leaders have successfully raised awareness about the urgent need to address the climate crisis while also calling on governments and corporations to take more ambitious action. The Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change offers one important channel here at the UN through which we can work closely with young people as part of our decision-making on climate action, channeling their passion, determination and willingness to speak truth to power to help get the world back on track to achieving the ambitions of the Paris Agreement and delivering on a better future that is equitable, just, and sustainable for all,” said Jayathma Wickramanayake, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth.
The members of the Youth Advisory Group will consult widely, and work collaboratively and inclusively with youth climate movements and leaders around the world, to bring youth perspectives and solutions directly to the Secretary-General, and to major climate moments and decision-making fora.
Today’s announcement is part of the UN’s actions to implement the recommendations in Our Common Agenda and take the UN’s youth engagement to the next level in terms of diversity, inclusiveness, empowerment, and impact.
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