What are the key challenges that youth climate activists face?
How are youth championing SDG 13 on climate action?
What can the global community do to empower underrepresented voices?
There are some of the questions posed at the Joint SDG Fund’s networking session, hosted in collaboration with the International Union for Conservation of Nature “One Nature, One Future” Global Youth Summit held April 5-16, 2021. The IUCN Summit brought together over 7,000 young voices from 120 countries to talk about issues in climate change, technology innovation, and rights and governance.
In the SDG Networking Session, over 50 participants shared ideas on what frustrated them and what they hoped to achieve in their communities and beyond. A key theme was access to funding since financial limitations prevented ideas from being implemented. One activist from France asked the group about carbon neutrality and what it would really take to achieve that dream. In response, another participant from Pakistan shared his plans for a biofuel-based initiative as a sustainable energy source for the transport and environmental sustainability sectors.
The group discussed the joys and challenges of working with people on the local and global level and how to really catalyze funding when access to corporations or large government entities seemed difficult or non-existent. Mentorship and networking also came up in the context of encouraging youth to participate. The group did not have all the answers, but we relished in the opportunity to talk with people who also valued environmental activism and had similar struggles, whether they were a hundred or a thousand miles away.
The last question asked how individuals planned to contribute or pledge with respect to SDG 13 on Climate Action. A youth leader shared her plans to revitalize and beautify community parks in Delhi, India, by gathering community support and raising micro-funds. This local work, replicated in many other communities, represents the best of youth work. And by empowering our underrepresented voices in policy and action, the Joint SDG Fund is ready to work hand-in-hand with youth to create the sustainable future we hope to see.