Empowering and Connecting Environmental Youth Activists in the ECIS Region
September 30, 2022
The Regional Office of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Istanbul held a Regional Workshop on Youth Environmental Activism on 21-23 September in Istanbul, Turkey. The forum brought together more than 40 young environmental activists from Europe and the CIS and provided a platform for the exchange of experience and knowledge in the field of environmental activism and the expansion of regional cooperation among young people to protect environment and combat climate change.
Ms. Leyli Yagshyyeva and Mr. Dovran Shammyev, young SDG Ambassadors of Turkmenistan represented Turkmenistan at the UNDP workshop. The meeting was held in an atmosphere of lively discussions among young people actively involved in climate and environment advocacy and programming.
The event was following a three-track approach: (1) Sessions for youth activists focusing on peer-to-peer exchanges and learning; (2) Joint sessions with youth activists and COs focal points on forward looking practices and the way forward; and (3) Sessions with UNDP CO staff on UNDP’s future engagement.
The event aimed at providing a space for environmental youth activists and youth-led NGOs, movements and networks from across the region to explore forward-looking solutions on youth engagement on climate, sharing experiences and best practices among youth practitioners, identify capacity needs, challenges, and gaps that the young activists face in moving the climate agenda forward at the local and regional level, finding solutions to challenges and agreed joint actions to support youth environmental activism, including the creation of a diverse regional youth network.
As a result of the meeting, a regional youth network was created with coordinators from each country and territory and sub-regional coordinator.
Young people are some of the most vulnerable to the lifelong environmental effects caused by climate change. According to the most recent UNDP study “Aiming higher: Elevating Meaningful Youth Engagement for Climate Action” it is projected that a child born in 2021 will live through seven times as many heatwaves, nearly three times as many droughts and twice as many wildfires. Various surveys have shown that young people around the globe are concerned about the impacts of climate change and are already feeling its negative effects. Very few are confident that the world will act quickly enough to avert or mitigate the impact of climate change, but a large majority of youth are convinced that young people can make a difference. [i]
In the ECIS region, youth movements and activism have played a prominent role in calling for action to address conflict prevention, climate change and sustaining peace. At the global level, the Global Conference of Youth (GCOY) is taking place organized by YOUNGO – the official children and youth constituency of UNFCCC, ahead of the yearly held Conference of the Parties (COP) in the framework of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Last year, in the lead up to the Conference of Youth (COY) and 26th session of the Conference of Parties (COP26) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the UN in Turkmenistan, jointly with the UK Embassy and the Government of Turkmenistan convened the first Youth Conference on Climate in Turkmenistan. The event provided a space for young people of Turkmenistan coming from different parts of the country to share experiences, knowledge, thoughts and ideas for enhanced global climate change action and empowering local youth to discuss key climate change issues impacting Turkmenistan and develop actions needed to address them. It also served as a capacity building activity to educate and enable Turkmen youth to act on climate change and sustainable development.[ii]
Within the efforts to promote youth environmental activism, in February this year, UNDP Turkmenistan held a meeting with young eco-activists to familiarize them with the activities of UNDP in Turkmenistan in the area of environment and climate change and engage youth in the initiatives to raise environmental awareness and promote environmentally friendly behavior to save people and the planet.
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