Youth is contributing significantly to shaping the global agenda on climate action. The 1.8 billion young people worldwide between the ages of 10 and 24 are increasingly eager to contribute to addressing the adverse impacts of climate change. Building their capacity and creating awareness to support informed decision making is critical. As per India's Census 2011, Youth (15-24 years) in India constitutes one-fifth (19.1%) of India's total population. Around half of India’s population is under 25 and therefore the role of youth in climate action needs to be supported and strengthened for their sustainable climate resilient future.
The Delegation of European Union (EU) to India today launched the “Youth Climate Conclave” with a series of events, a photography contest and a blog competition. This will feed into a final event in the form of a Youth Climate Conclave to be held as part of the World Sustainable Development Summit (WSDS) 2020 from 29th to 31st January, 2020. The project is organised by the EU, together with GIZ, TERI, and CEEW. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India (GoI), is the nodal ministry for this.
The launch included the announcement of two contests – photography and blogging – which are open for entries from 4th October to 15th November, 2019. Entries can be submitted in the following age categories: 13-18 years and 19-25 years for both contests.
For the blogging contest, entries can be on any one of the following themes: Sustainable Lifestyles: A Need of the Hour/ Local Actions for Global Impact/ Role of Youth for Climate Action. The word limit is 800- 900 words per entry. Winners will receive a blogger certificate and selected blogs will be converted into a monograph.
For the photography contest, the theme is: Climate Action: A World of Possibilities. Only one entry per student will be accepted. The 12 best photos will be converted into the 2020 Calendar and will also be promoted through social networking platforms and organizers’ website.
Winners for both the contests will receive certificates along with other exciting prizes and a chance to attend the Youth Climate Conclave 2020 during WSDS 2020. For participation and details of both competitions, please follow the link http://wsds.teriin.org/youth-climate-conclave.php. You can also send your entries or queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The launch event of the conclave on Friday included an address by H.E. Mr Ugo Astuto, Ambassador of the European Union to India. The event also included an address by Dr Ajay Mathur, Director General, TERI, with Mr Edwin Koekkoek, Counsellor - Energy and Climate Action, Delegation of the European Union to India, talking about the way forward. Dr J R Bhatt, Advisor (Climate Change), MoEFCC, GoI, also shared his view with the students present at the programme. The event also witnessed the launch of the Photography Contest and Blogging Contest followed by a panel discussion with Dr Kavya Michael, Associate Fellow, TERI; Mr Rajendra Singh, Chairman, Tarun Bharat Sangh; Mr Raka Agitok, Board Member, Indian Youth Climate Network; and Ms Shikha Bhasin, Programme Lead, Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW). The panel discussion was moderated by Dr Ashish Chaturvedi, Director - Climate Change, GIZ-India. The closing remarks were delivered by Ms Henriette Faergemann, First Counsellor, Delegation of the European Union to India.
“Climate change is a common challenge and a central priority for action for both the EU and India. I am convinced that the youth will be the key player in bringing forward the climate agenda, ensuring that the world takes notice and changes for the better. We already have a number of youth icons amidst us who have taken upon themselves to act now, urging us to listen to science, to listen to the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The Youth Climate Conclave will offer a platform to some of the future young Indian climate leaders, who will be at the forefront of this global effort,” H.E. Mr Astuto said at the event.
Addressing the students present in large numbers in the audience, Dr Mathur said, “We want an India where each one of us has a better life than in the past… we need to ensure a better life but in a less polluting material. We need you to force us to answer questions like ‘is what you are doing resource efficient?’, ‘is what you are doing going to generate waste?’ We look forward to you asking these questions in the Youth Conclave.”
Dr Bhat added, “It is delightful to see so many young minds filled with hope and energy. This is a very timely effort especially when you students and youth across the world are doing more to take timely action (towards climate change).”
“Greenhouse gases emitted during developmental activities has led to this stage. This problem can’t be solved individually by nations. It has to be done globally,” he added.
Along with other students and youth, the winners from photography and blogging contests will be invited for a two-day Youth Climate Conclave event at the WSDS 2020 with the first day focusing on mentoring and capacity building and the second day involving a Youth Conference of Parties (COP) leading to a “Indian Youth Declaration on Climate Change”.
The Youth Climate Conclave is described in more detail below:
Day 1: Mentoring and Capacity Building Day:
The programme will involve informing youth about the key issues related to climate change mitigation and adaptation. The building blocks of the Paris Agreement, including mitigation, adaptation, finance, loss and damage, Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV), market and non-market mechanisms etc. will be explained. The mentors will describe the process of COP and UNFCCC negotiations, objectives of the different countries and interest groups etc. They will be invited from relevant ministries of the Government of India including the MoEFCC, key NGOs, national and international experts etc.
Day 2: Youth Climate Conclave:
The programme simulates UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP) on Climate Change with youth taking up the roles of negotiators and leaders from major countries, state groups and non-state actors to negotiate policies on limiting global temperature rise to below 2/1.5 degrees Celsius.
The Delegation of the European Union to India looks forward to a high level of participation from youth in the competitions as well as the events.
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The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) is an independent, multi-dimensional organisation, with capabilities in research, policy, consultancy and implementation. It has pioneered conversations and action in the energy, environment, climate change, and sustainability space for over four decades.
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