The TEDxGeneva team, speakers, and volunteers at the TEDxGeneva Breathing edition.

For the third consecutive year, UN CC:Learn joined forces with TEDxGeneva to provide a platform for people with ground-breaking ideas on how to solve the current environmental and social problems of the world.

 

Read on to find out more.

The act of breathing is essential for the living things on Planet Earth. But to breathe is as much biological and mechanical as it is personal and emotional. Each breath tells a story, from joy to sadness, from hope to light. Every breath is a reminder of the life around us and that all life is part of a greater, interlinked system.

To explore the correlations between the different meanings of ‘’breathing” and the current environmental challenges societies are facing, UN CC:Learn partnered for the third time with TEDxGeneva to organize TEDxGeneva’s Breathing edition, a TEDx event that brought forward innovative ideas and put the environment and climate change action at the core of it. The event built on the collaboration UN CC:Learn has had with TEDxGeneva since 2021 and that has already resulted in two TEDxGeneva events: The Tide is Rising and Regeneration.

With the question “Who are the agents of change shaping a breathable future for all?’, the event set out to provide a platform for speakers with great ideas to solve some of the world’s most pressing issues, from water supply in drought-stricken areas to the deployment of new technology to foment conservation practices. In total, seven speakers from different parts of Europe took to the stage to deliver seven TEDx talks – 4 in French and 3 in English – to over 100 attendees at the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC), in Geneva, Switzerland, on 1st December 2023.

Ms. Astrid Humbert-Droz delivering her talk at the TEDxGeneva Breathing edition.

Ms. Astrid Humbert-Droz delivering her talk at the TEDxGeneva Breathing edition.

The event kicked off with Mr. Noam Yaron, a Swiss eco-adventurer and swimmer who takes part in extreme physical challenges, such as the crossing of Lac Léman (over 80km) to raise awareness of the importance of nature and biodiversity conservation. Mr. Yaron highlighted how he improved his performance, both mentally and physically, when he learned ancient breathing techniques.  He was followed by Ms. Fiona Beenkens an architect specialized in neuro-architecture, a new field that puts well-being at the core of architectural projects. She spoke about how neuro-architecture can contribute to tackling problems, such as anxiety, and help people feel safer in different environments.

After Ms. Beenkens, Mr. Paolo Mastrocola, an engineer specialized in water management, stepped on the stage to speak about the work he has been doing to improve the lives of the rural populations of Somalia’s drylands through the construction of natural dams. These natural dams have reshaped communities there, bringing potable water, employment, more biodiversity, and increased crop yields. Then Mr. Thierry Pick, a self-made businessman and creator of the “naturist business management” style, took over to speak about how he uses well-being as a criterion for his company’s growth and performance, and how this unique indicator can increase employees’ commitment, happiness and dedication.

Ms. Astrid Humbert-Droz, seamstress and student at the École Hôtelière de Genève, spoke about how Switzerland, the second largest fashion consumer in the world, could implement strategies, such as take-back programmes, to reduce the country’s staggering 100,000 tones of annual textile waste. She was followed by Mr. Thomas Elliott, founder of Restor, a spin-off start-up from ETH Zurich that uses technology to help make biodiversity protection and conservation economically viable for local people. Lastly, Ms. Giorda closed the evening by explaining how hypnosis can be used as a tool to shift people’s mindsets and encourage more sustainable lifestyles, with less consumption and more respect for nature and other human beings.

The TEDxGeneva team, speakers, and volunteers at the TEDxGeneva Breathing edition.

The TEDxGeneva team, speakers, and volunteers at the TEDxGeneva Breathing edition.

After the event, guests were invited to attend a post-event reception at IFRC itself, where they met and interacted with the speakers, and got an opportunity to network with the rest of the audience.

This TEDxGeneva event was supported by UN CC:Learn, the Government of France, Haute École de Gestion de Genève, École Hotelière de Genève, and the International Federation of the Red Cross.

In November 2023, UN CC:Learn organized two Dialogue Spaces that brought several partners together to discuss key topics within climate change education and explore synergies.

 

Read on to find out more.

November marked the last series of UN CC:Learn’s Dialogue Spaces of the year. The Dialogue Spaces are dedicated platforms for UN CC:Learn partner organizations and countries to discuss, co-create ideas, and share experiences to accelerate efforts on climate change education, training, and public awareness. This month, two Dialogue Spaces were held: Learning for Countries and Learning through Youth.

UNESCO’s Greening Education Partnership was the highlight of the Learning for Countries Dialogue Space. The Greening Education Partnership (GEP) is a global initiative that takes a whole-of-system approach to support countries in tackling the climate crisis by harnessing the critical role of education. UN CC:Learn, having begun to support partner countries over a decade ago through the development and implementation of National Climate Change Learning Strategies, is a partner to GEP. UN CC:Learn aims to leverage synergies with GEP to scale up climate education in countries around the world.

The Learning through Youth Dialogue Space showcased several UN CC:Learn initiatives that are specifically tailored to strengthening the knowledge and skills of youth to take action on climate change. During this Dialogue Space, the results of UN CCLearn’s Youth Survey were presented, in which – 91% of respondents (18- 35 years old) believe they have been affected by climate change. The results of the survey serve as a guiding document to which UN CC:Learn develops its youth programs, including the Youth climate Dialogues, TEDx talks, online resources on climate change, radio programs on climate change, and much more.

With immense interest from UN CC:Learn alumni, a dedicated package of resources will be developed focusing on the soft skills the alumni need to excel in their climate action endeavours. The skills identified have been leadership, project management, inclusivity, communication, and resource mobilization, and they will be part of the “How to Become a Climate Change Champion” e-course This course will be offered in addition to the technical knowledge from the other e-courses on the UN CC:e-learn platform to build skills of alumni interested in becoming agents of change in their respective fields.

Stay tuned to UN CC:Learn for more exciting news about these and other initiatives as we close yet another year of delivering climate knowledge to the people.

 Group picture of the Global YCD at Palais des Nations. Photo: Lorenzo Franchi / UN CC:Learn

On 4th October 2023, UN CC:Learn organised a Global Youth Climate Dialogue with six schools on the occasion of UNITAR’s 60th Anniversary celebrations.

 

Read on to find out more about the rich and engaging discussions about climate change that took place at Palais des Nations with students from six different countries.

Climate change is a global issue that requires targeted, adaptable, and tailored solutions. A solution that works well in one country, may not necessarily work as well in another country or region.  This was evident at the recent Youth Climate Dialogue which brought together high school students from six countries as part of UNITAR’s 60th Anniversary celebrations.

What would the ideal solutions be for France, Japan, Kenya, South Africa, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates? 

That’s what students from six different schools strived to answer during the Global Youth Climate Dialogue (YCD), organized in a hybrid setting at Palais des Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland, by the One UN Climate Change Learning Partnership (UN CC:Learn) on 4th October 2023.

For more than two hours, these six groups of students discussed the implications of climate change focusing mainly on innovative solutions in their respective communities and countries.  The schools – Brookhouse School (Nairobi, Kenya), Folweni High School (Durban, South Africa), GEMS Modern Academy (Dubain, United Arab Emirates), Gymnase Burier (La Tour-de-Peilz, Switzerland), Hiroshima Global Academy (Hiroshima, Japan) and Lycée International de Ferney Voltaire (Ferney Voltaire, France) – exchanged and challenged each other by focusing on the various solutions presented. Solutions discussed ranged from carbon capture and storage technologies in the UAE to the management of forest fires in France. 

Group picture of the Global YCD at Palais des Nations. Photo: Lorenzo Franchi / UN CC:Learn

Group picture of the Global YCD at Palais des Nations. Photo: Lorenzo Franchi / UN CC:Learn

The students provided thought-provoking and context-specific insights during the discussion. 

The Swiss students, for instance, spoke about the melting glaciers that are changing their country’s landscapes and having serious implications for people and ecosystems while Hiroshima students highlighted rising sea levels. Focusing on the solutions, students from France noted the use of satellite imagery could help their country to better map and manage forest fires and the usage of snow canons that could potentially mitigate the lack of snow and melting glaciers, a solution which raised a lot of questions from the other participants in terms of its sustainability, given the energy required and its impacts on underground water resources.

Students from South Africa touched on increasing recycling and reusing to reduce the problem of littering which many community members, who are not aware of the consequences on global warming, tend to burn.  They also discussed public mobility and how they believe that public incentives can help increase the uptake of public transportation and consequently reduce emissions from private vehicles. The UAE presented technological solutions such as carbon capture and storage as well as development of sustainable low carbon cities. The students in Japan, as part of their solutions, discussed issues related to energy transition and alternative methods of rice production.  Finally, Kenya spoke about the effects of climate change on pastoralists and how this is leading to forced migration. 

Students connected both in-person and online in Global YCD at Palais des Nations. Photo: Lorenzo Franchi / UN CC:Learn

Students connected both in-person and online in Global YCD at Palais des Nations. Photo: Lorenzo Franchi / UN CC:Learn

As a celebratory event part of the UNITAR’s 60th anniversary, UN CC:Learn invited four schools from countries that were part of UNITAR’s original Board of Trustees back in 1965 – France, Japan, Kenya and South Africa. Switzerland was invited as the main UN CC:Learn donor and co-creator of the YCD initiative, and the United Arab Emirates, a long-standing YCD partner over the years, came on board to bring its experience from previous dialogues. The French and Swiss schools attended the event in-person at Palais des Nations and the other four connected online, allowing for an interactive and global exchange between the six different school, which otherwise would not have had the opportunity to learn from each other.

The Global Youth Climate Dialogue brought together six schools to discuss different solutions to climate change. Photos: Lorenzo Franchi / UN CC:Learn

The Global Youth Climate Dialogue brought together six schools to discuss different solutions to climate change. Photos: Lorenzo Franchi / UN CC:Learn

The Global Youth Climate Dialogue brought together six schools to discuss different solutions to climate change. Photos: Lorenzo Franchi / UN CC:Learn

Ms. Josefina Ashipala, Training Specialist at UN CC:Learn and moderator of the Dialogue, with a student. Photos: Lorenzo Franchi / UN CC:Learn

High-level guest kicked off the Global Youth Climate Dialogue.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Nikhil Seth, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and UNITAR’s Executive Director, reminded us that: 

‘the UN Secretary General no longer refers to global warming but rather global boiling. Try not to see this as a problem owned by others, like businesses or governments. We all need to own the problem in order to solve it.  – Mr. Nikhil Seth, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and UNITAR’s Executive Director.

The event was also attended by H.E. Ambassador Kozo HONSEI, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of Japan of Japan to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva, and Mr. Angus Mackay, Head of the UN CC:Learn Secretariat and Director, Division for Planet at UNITAR. 

Mr. Nikhil Seth and H.E. Mr. Kozo Honsei at the Global Youth Climate Dialogue at the Palais des Nations. Photos: Lorenzo Franchi / UN CC:Learn

Mr. Nikhil Seth and H.E. Mr. Kozo Honsei at the Global Youth Climate Dialogue at the Palais des Nations. Photos: Lorenzo Franchi / UN CC:Learn

H.E. Mr. Kozo Honsei stressed the importance of youth in driving positive change.

‘Young people have the power to change the world. Your ideas and perspectives from diverse backgrounds will help to lead the world in a better direction’. – H.E. Ambassador Kozo Honsei, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of Japan of Japan to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva.

In his closing remarks, Mr. Angus Mackay said: 

’You are the climate generation, and this is a fact, through no fault of your own. But this does not mean that you are powerless. As a species humans are often at their best when under pressure’. – Mr. Angus Mackay, Head of the UN CC:Learn Secretariat and Director, Division for Planet, UNITAR

Mr. Angus Mackay at the Global Youth Climate Dialogue at the Palais des Nations. Photos: Lorenzo Franchi / UN CC:Learn

Mr. Angus Mackay at the Global Youth Climate Dialogue at the Palais des Nations. Photos: Lorenzo Franchi / UN CC:Learn

The Youth Climate Dialogues are a UN CC:Learn initiative that provides a platform for youth to meet other young people to discuss climate change, its impacts, and the different solutions for it. It is a live debate usually held between two schools and carried out in three phases: preparation, during which individuals prepare presentations on climate change from their perspective and think about questions they want ask to the other school; the debate itself; a period of personal reflection and learning triggered by the process (this latter part is often based on post surveys of participants and may influence their attitudes and behaviors in the long term).  

One overall conclusion of this Global Youth Climate Dialogue is that while the effects of climate change are always very local in nature and differ from one place to another, so are the solutions; often driven by the interests and perspectives of specific cultures within which they are derived. More exchanges and sharing of ideas on solutions would be beneficial for increased and concerted climate action. 

Youth Engagement Forum Flyer with Title and Illustrated People

In July 2023, UN CC:Learn invited two of its Champions to tell their stories and speak about the role of youth in climate action in teach-in sessions at the NDC Partnership Youth Engagement Forum.

 

Read on to find out more!

 

 

In July 2023, UN CC:Learn was invited by the NDC Partnership to organize two teach-in sessions at the NDC Partnership Youth Engagement Forum (YEF). The YEF is used to inform the NDC Partnership’s Youth Engagement Plan and this year’s theme was “Shaping our Future”, which aimed to empower young people to engage in long-term climate action by building their capacity and by promoting dialogue on youth-focused NDC planning and finance needs.

This was the second consecutive year that UN CC:Learn took part in the event and, this time, the programme delivered two one-hour Fireside Chats in Spanish and French. 

The sessions featured UN CC:Learn Champions and focused on the role of youth in contributing to broader societal changes. They provided participants with the opportunity to learn from and exchange with other young change makers who have been awarded the title of UN CC:Learn Champions for their outstanding work in the field of climate change awareness and action.

The Fireside Chat in French featured Ms. Axelle Vera, 2022 UN CC:Learn Champion from Cameroon, who spoke about how the completion of a UN CC:Learn course helped her secure a spot in the US-funded Central African Women Initiative in Climate Action (WICA), and how this led her to become an Assistant Carbon Project Manager in her country. 

The Fireside Chat in Spanish featured Ms. Karel Miranda, 2020 UN CC:Learn Champion from Panamá, who spoke about how the “Introductory e-Course on Climate Change” inspired her to get into youth activism and how the organization she founded as result – Young People Facing Climate Change Organization – supported Panamá’s Ministry of Environment to craft the country’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).

Both Ms. Miranda and Ms. Vera answered questions about their work, professional backgrounds and about the role of youth and climate action. In the second part of each session, participants were invited to ask questions directly to the speakers.

Moving forward, UN CC:Learn will keep engaging with partners, such as the NDC Partnership, to promote dialogue and youth engagement as solutions to the climate crisis.

Youth from different backgrounds and ethnicities.

The first results of the Youth and Climate Change Global Survey are out and have painted an insightful picture of UN CC:Learn’s youth audience.

 

Read on to find out more!

Since 2009, UN CC:Learn has trained and engaged with thousands of young people from all over the world. People up to 35 years old make up the bulk of users registered on UN CC:e-Learn and, over the years, thousands of youth have participated in UN CC:Learn events, from the Youth Climate Dialogues and Climate Classrooms to TEDx events.

In 2021, UN CC:Learn launched its 5th implementation phase (2021 – 2025) which has a strategic approach to youth. Over this period, the programme aims to help young people, especially from developing countries, to learn about climate change and to apply their knowledge in ways that encourage climate mitigation and adaptation. Moreover, the programme wishes to leverage youth innovation and motivation to challenge the status quo and ramp up climate action globally.

To reach these ambitious goals, UN CC:Learn set out to learn more about this age group.

Against this background, the programme launched the Youth and Climate Change Survey in September 2022 to get insights into youth’s preferences and habits to help inform, shape and tailor UN CC:Learn’s youth initiatives and content to youth’s expectations and needs. The 25-question survey is still open and available in 7 languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish).

Its first set of analyzed data was collected from September 2022 and March 2023 and, during this period, 6,458 young people from 178 countries answered it. The responses received shed light on youth’s perception of climate change, what they are doing to deal with it and how they would like to learn more about. In addition, the answers made clear youth’s preferences in terms of content consumption and learning preferences.

Here are a few key findings:

1- Youth feel they are being affected by climate change.

91% of the respondents said they are being affected by climate change.

When asked how climate change is affecting them, 77% pointed out that climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events such as droughts or storms, 45% said there is a disruption in the availability of resources and 35% are suffering eco-anxiety.

2- Youth want to learn more about climate change.

98% of the respondents said that climate change should be taught during primary, secondary, and higher education.

Respondents also want to learn about climate change in different settings. Regarding the type of learning event, they would be interested in attending to learn about climate change, 64% prefer to attend workshops, 55% would like to take part in a training, 51% would take e-courses or attend an experience-sharing with other youth groups.

3- Youth are taking climate action.

72% of respondents between 18 to 35 years old are taking climate action in their countries.

Here below are a few testimonials submitted by respondents:

“I developed a social project to combat fast-fashion and I participate in a student group where we clean public areas.” (Boy from Mexico)

 

“Help planning the local conference of youth, an event in the town I live, where young people create ideas they want to get discussed at the COP. Started to study Environmental- and Bioresource management.” (Woman from Austria)

 

“I created an Association of Environmental Sustainability in rural area and through it, I have been educating my community through the introduction of sustainability concepts, and awareness to not cut down the forest (they use trees to make fire to cook, sell, produce charcoal, etc). To not flame the field during the preparation of rice plantation, maize, and use biofertilizer. I trained young people about the meaning of sustainability and how we can reduce gas pollution emissions.” (Man from Mozambique) 

 

“I am a med student and at my university, I created an activity called Recycling Life where we collect bottle caps to sell and buy treatment for kids who suffer from Epidermolysis Bullosa.” (Woman from Peru)

4- Youth prefer informative videos to other types of content.

Youth respondents are interested in consuming videos and tailored content on social media.

More than half of respondents would prefer to receive content on social media in video format (69%), image (62%), and/or through articles (52%). They are less interested in podcasts (27%), live sessions (20%), and games (14%). In terms of communication and language style, 77% of youth are interested in receiving informative content on social media and less interested in consuming informal content (32%).

Moving forward, UN CC:Learn will build on the findings of this survey to devise projects, initiatives, and content to achieve its Youth goals. The programme has come up with five key recommendations to help strengthen its Youth initiatives and, ultimately, support youth climate action.

To get the full picture of the respondents’ profiles, survey methodology, key findings and recommendations, access the Survey report here.

Young african man recording a podcast inside studio

Over the next couple of months, UN CC:Learn and MIET Africa will be producing radio programmes on youth and climate change in Lesotho, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

 

Read on to find out more!

Radio sparks people’s imagination like no other medium. From music to podcasts, it immerses the audience and easily conveys information and emotions, especially in Africa. According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), radio remains the main mass communication medium in Africa. Across the continent, millions of people tune in to it every day to get informed and entertained.

What if radio could be used to raise awareness of climate change and ramp up climate action among youth in the continent?

UN CC:Learn and MIET Africa have partnered up to make it happen.

Bearing in mind the key role radio plays in the media landscape in Africa, the two organizations have set out to leverage radio and, over the next months, produce a total of 96 radio broadcasts on youth and climate change in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, and Malawi. Each country will have a 16-episode radio programme in English broadcast on a national radio station, with Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe also having episodes in local languages – Shona and Ndebele in Zimbabwe, Bemba and Nyanja in Zambia, and Chichewa in Malawi.

Overall, the radio programmes will:

  • Provide a platform for youth across borders to engage around the challenges of and responses to climate change.
  • Raise awareness of and improve knowledge related to climate change to promote youth-led climate action.
  • Build the capacity of youth, schools, and communities for climate action.

This initiative builds on a successful first experience in 2021, when UN CC:Learn and MIET Africa collaborated to deliver 108 episodes in total that reached millions of listeners from all ages across the three Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Moreover, the collaboration also produced two TV programmes, and one of them recently wonthe Best Conservational/Wildlife Documentary Short at the prestigious 10th Annual Simon ‘Mabhunu’ Sabela KZN Film & Television Awards.

Keep an eye out on UN CC:Learn’s social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn) as we unveil more information about the programmes.

Follow the episodes on the national broadcasters:

The 2023 Fundamental Training of the Climate Youth Negotiators Programme has started.

 

Over six months, 100 youth negotiators from all over the world will be trained on key topics and skills to better negotiate on behalf of their countries at COP28.

 

Read on to find out more.

It’s no secret that a key characteristic of the climate crisis is that it bears inter-generational consequences. Truly just and sustainable climate action actively involves all age groups. This is part of the drive behind this year’s Climate Youth Negotiator Programme Fundamental Training that kicked off last week on 4th and 5th July 2023.

The training programme is a collaboration between the Future Leaders Network and UN CC:Learn that aims to equip youth negotiators with the knowledge and skills to navigate the often-complex multilateral climate negotiations. The introductory session featured around 100 youth negotiators from all over the world getting to know their counterparts in the programme and sharing their expectations in a dynamic 3-hour session. 

The highlight of the session were powerful keynote speeches from seasoned experts including Prof. Marie-Claire Cordonier Segger, world-leading scholar and jurist in the field of sustainable development law and governance, among others. The common theme – that the structural barriers that prevent youth from engaging in this space need to be removed and harnessing and fine-tuning soft skills like active listening, building connections with fellow negotiators among others are building blocks of a successful negotiator. 

This year’s Cohort also got the opportunity to listen to youth negotiators from the 2022 pilot phase. It was an engaging session where practical tips on ‘how to survive in the day of a negotiator’, challenges and lessons learned were shared. A truly uplifting session that inspired the negotiators starting off their journey in the programme. 

The programme now commences on a six-month long journey, culminating at COP28 in December, with the end-game in mind of empowering young people as agents of positive change and driving transformation in the climate negotiations for our collective futures.  

Two youth fist bumping.

The UN CC:Learn Dialogue Space on Learning through Youth brought key stakeholders to discuss ways of engaging youth in climate change action.

 

Read on to find out what went on.

How can UN CC:Learn and partners better encourage youth to get involved in climate action?

On 24 May 2023, UN CC:Learn and partners got together at the Dialogue Space on Learning through Youth to answer this and other questions related to the role of youth in climate action.

This Dialogue Space was set up as part of UN CC:Learn’s fifth implementation phase with the purpose of providing UN CC:Learn partners with a platform to discuss, share experiences, and collaborate on ways of strengthening youth capacity for climate change action and learning. This Space recognizes the role of youth as key leaders in climate action and strives to create and leverage synergies among UN CC:Learn partners to support youth in their climate endeavors.

The event was led by the newly appointed chair of the Learning through Youth Dialogue Space, Dr. Amanda Katili Niode, Director of the Climate Reality Project Indonesia, whose one-year term commenced in March 2023. Dr. Niode highlighted that there are 1.8 billion young people aged 18-24 globally today, which represents the largest youth generation in history. She also stressed that youth are already taking actions in favor of the climate around the world but that they require support, such as coaching, to unleash their full potential and harness their best ideas and solutions.

Dr. Niode and her team introduced the Climate Reality Project Indonesia, which is the Indonesia branch of the Climate Reality Project, a not-for-profit organization founded in the United States in 2006 with a mission to increase global public awareness of the climate crisis at a grass roots level. Dr. Niode and team highlighted three key projects being carried out by Climate Reality Project Indonesia: the Climate Hero project, the Youth Leadership Camp and the ClimArt project.

After the presentation, partners were invited to showcase their youth initiatives and answer three questions: 

  • What are some effective strategies for communicating the urgency of climate change to other young people and to older generations?
  • How can we encourage more young people to get involved in climate activism, advocacy, and action?
  • How would you like to engage in climate action?

The one-hour discussion engaged participants, who provided their inputs throughout. A few takeaways from the discussions were: for the first question, partners agreed that the creation of an open space for people of all ages to share their perspectives and experiences can be enrich the climate change discourse. For the second one, capacity building arose as one of the key elements to encourage more youth to act on climate change. And for the final question, the World Scouts movement was brought up as a good way to get a large number of young people engaged in climate action.

To wrap up the event, Mr. Angus Mackay, Head of the UN CC:Learn Secretariat, delivered final remarks that touched on the importance of having both quantity and quality in youth climate action, since all degrees of involvement are needed given the urgency of the climate crisis. He also emphasized the role of international cooperation in collaborative and impactful action.

Neeshad Shafi took the Intro Course on Climate Change and founded the first and only not-for-profit environmental organization registered in the State of Qatar. His NGO strives to protect the environment while giving equal opportunities to women and the youth. Read his full story below!

When one thinks about climate change action, Qatar is not really the first place that comes to mind. But Neeshad Shafi, founder of the Arab Youth Climate Movement Qatar, is changing that. As a student, Neeshad wanted to better understand climate science and advocacy, which led him to discover UN CC:Learn and its platform with free e-courses. He set out to complete the “Introductory e-Course on Climate Change” and successfully completed the course in 2015. The knowledge acquired in the course laid out the groundwork for his future endeavor: founding the Arab Youth Climate Movement Qatar (AYCMQ), the single not-for-profit environmental organization registered in the State of Qatar. 

AYCMQ is a youth-led NGO building a movement that fosters understanding of the natural ecosystems and empowers the community to act. It does that by raising environmental awareness at grassroots level and by targeting youth and adults with tailored activities, helping to promote active participation in dialogue and in finding solutions. 

AYCMQ’s values are also rooted in gender equality. For instance, more than half of its team members are women and so are most of the participants who take part in the organization’s activities, which is something remarkable everywhere but especially in a Gulf country. 

At AYCM Qatar we are founded on the presciple of gender equality. More then 50% of our team comprises of women members and we have always given up most space for women and youth girls in various programs of ours.” – Neeshad Shafi, 2022 UN CC:Learn Champion 

The UN CC:Learn Dialogue Space on Learning for Countries brought key stakeholders to discuss “young people capacity building gaps and needs to access climate finance”.

 

Read on to find out what went on.

 

Photo Credit: UN Photo/Amanda Voisard.

How can UN CC:Learn and its partners better promote capacity building to enable youth to access climate finance?

That’s what the Dialogue Space on Learning for Countries held on May 16 2023 set out to answer. This space was set up as part of UN CC:Learn’s fifth implementation phase with the goal of bringing key stakeholders together to discuss, share experiences and collaborate on key topics at the forefront of the Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) agenda. This would help build knowledge and skills in countries to support the implementation of their Nationally Determined Contributions and National Adaptation Plans.

The event was led by the newly appointed Chair of the Learning for Countries Dialogue Space – Dr. Roberta Ianna, a Senior Expert at the Ministry of Environment and Energy Security in Italy and focal point on ACE for Italy – whose one-year term commenced in March 2023. She kicked off the discussion by highlighting the increasingly important role that youth are having in climate action, stressing how access to climate finance can help unlock several opportunities for youth and asking the audience how organizations working with and for the youth, like the UN and other NGOs, can empower young people to access climate finance.

Dr. Ianna’s introduction was followed by a series of presentations and an exchange session. To kick off the presentations, Ms. Emanuela Vignola and Dr. Ianna presented about the Youth4Climate and Youth4Capacityinitiatives respectively. Both initiatives are supported by the Government of Italy. Then, Mr. Demetrio Innocenti, from the Green Climate Fund (GCF), spoke about GCF’s role in supporting youth access to climate finance. The last presentation was by Mr. Ricardo Toxiri, from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), who explained how IRENA supports young innovators in the energy transition process by empowering youth-led businesses and projects.

The moderated discussion had participants answering two questions: “How can young people be empowered to access climate finance?” and “What other initiatives or good practices are there?”. Some key takeaways from it were that young people should have more access to a series of capacity-building opportunities in which they could learn key soft and technical skills and have direct access to experts in their areas of interests. Also, hands-on, decision-making power to enable youth to fully implement their climate action initiatives arose as something that would empower them to better unlock climate finance. Moreover, as part of the exchange, the Government of Ghana shared its experience in developing a National Climate Change Learning Strategy with a strong youth component, and the Government of Senegal laid out a series of activities carried out in the country to strengthen ACE.

To wrap-up the session, Mr. Angus Mackay, Director of the Division for Planet at UNITAR, invited participants to reflect that:

  • There is still a big gap between what youth need and what organizations are delivering. Moving this needle requires real support through practical initiatives such as the ones presented by the guest speakers.
  • Vulnerable countries and groups are still not being fully engaged.
  • Technical understanding of the topic supports the skills that one gains while learning on the job. There is still heavy lifting to be done to build soft skills together with solid understanding of climate change within education systems.

This Dialogue Space was attended by several UN CC:Learn Partners, including the United Nations Development ProgrammeUnited Nations Economic Commission for Europe, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the British Council, the Green Climate Fund, the Future Leaders Network, the Global Center on Adaptation, MIET Africa, the NDC PartnershipSoka Gakkai Italy, YOUNGO, and the International Renewable Energy Agency, and the Governments of Senegal, Kenya, Liberia and Zimbabwe.