Statement of Doina Munteanu, Deputy Resident Representative at the Conference on Raising the ecological culture of young people for the purposes of sustainable development: national and foreign experience

August 19, 2022
Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan

Assalomu alleykum hurmatli Anjuman Ishtirokchilari, honimlar va janoblar, 

(Dear Conference participants, Ladies and Gentlemen!)

Mr. Tojiev Odiljon, Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan

Mr. Kazbekov Jusipbek, Deputy Chairperson of the State Committee for Ecology and Environment Protection

I am pleased to join today the event to discuss the importance of engaging youth meaningfully to address challenges of climate change.

Compared to their grandparents, 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.

These are global data; these impacts are not felt equally. Young people in developing countries are more impacted; and as we know, Central Asia is facing increasing intensity in acceleration of climate change.

Uzbekistan faces multiple environmental issues such as Aral Sea environmental crisis, climate change, land degradation, inefficient land and water use, and biodiversity loss. The country being highly vulnerable to extreme climate events that occur with increased frequency.

Tackling climate crisis requires both ambition and inclusivity. Without it the world will face insurmountable barriers to overcoming the impacts and as a result achieving the SDGs.

National climate commitments under the Paris agreement, known as the Nationally Determined Contributions, provide an important opportunity for robust leadership to support climate action, that can both raise the climate ambition and ensure climate justice.

Youth are some of the most vulnerable to the lifelong effects caused by climate change.  People’s climate vote shows that around 2 in 3 people aged between 14-18, believe that climate change is now a global emergency.

Along with others ecological competence is vital for individuals, especially young girls and boys to thrive in a rapidly changing world and for societies to progress without leaving anyone behind.

Young people need not only the skills to be competitive and ready for a new world of work, but more importantly they also need to develop the capacity to analyze and understand global and local ecological issues.

Recognizing that empowering youth and working together with them presents a historic and transformational opportunity to lay the foundation for a peaceful and sustainable future.  UNDP, under the Climate Promise, supported 120 countries, including Uzbekistan to enhance their NDCs and engage youth proactively.

UNDP, as outlined in its Strategic plan for 2022-2025 is committed to promoting the rights of future generations and amplifying young people’s voices in decision on climate action and future of their communities through:

  • Capacity development
  • Youth participation
  • Support to young innovators

UNDP in Uzbekistan integrates into its programming various learning activities for youth on environmental sustainability to help them understand the situation and policies surrounding the demand for and use of natural resources.

Our joint projects with Gov-t give strong emphasis on learning to live together sustainably.  

I would indicate only few important relevant to the topic initiatives on increasing ecological culture of youth:

  • We’ve developed and launched online learning materials for youth on climate change – in 2021, 2022 placed on two platforms – Team UNIV and IDU;
  • Conducted an analysis on the knowledge and awareness of students on climate change issues;
  • Conducted simulation and role play on climate negotiations looking for youth active engagement in climate change at national and regional level;
  • Field visits for youth to study renewable energy sites;
  • AccLab Aral Sea afforestation initiative with youth practical engagement;
  • Snow leopard project’s activity on establishing Eco clubs in rural schools located around protected areas in SL landscapes to educate kids on biodiversity conservation;
  • Snow leopard project’s ongoing campaign on environmental awareness raising of rural communities with special focus on young people on conservation of unique mountain biodiversity of Uzbekistan. And many others.

But we need more.

Taking action for meaningful youth participation in climate action is key, to ensure young people are involved in decision making, are systemically empowered, and are able to influence institutional responses to climate change.

UNDP is working for a global programme on youth to ensure their meaningful engagement across all regions. We will advocate for Uzbekistan’s inclusion in this global initiative to support mobilization of youth energy for achievement of climate goals, to leverage young people knowledge and creativity to design climate solutions the world needs now. Together we can work toward a world that is clean, green, sustainable and healthy for future generations.

Taking this opportunity on behalf of UNDP, let me reiterate also our commitment to continue supporting Government in implementing more ambitious climate action to achieve its emission reduction targets, in addressing environmental issues, and enhancing management of natural resources.

Let me finish by congratulating you on the upcoming Mustaqillik Bayrami (Independence Day). Sog’ va salomat bo’ling.(Stay well and healthy).

Katta rahmat! (Many thanks).