For COP26 to be a success, climate justice must be put first, and everyone should have a seat at the table to make sure this happens. However, many young climate activists have been frozen out of the talks about their future by the high cost of travel, attendance, and Covid-19 restrictions.
Theirs are the voices we urgently need to hear at this COP. They will be the ones inhabiting the world it creates, and they are the ones acting all over the world to build a safer, fairer, more sustainable future. That's why we are delighted to be supporting six climate activists with bursaries for their costs for attending COP, and sharing their message with the world.
Here they are in their own words.
We humans, believed to be the most advanced species on planet Earth, MUST prove this by protecting biodiversity and vulnerable communities from the climate change threat.
Rose Kobusinge is a Ugandan climate justice activist and advocate. She holds a master’s degree in environmental change and management from the University of Oxford, and she is a PhD candidate at Coventry University researching sustainable renewable energy futures in refugee camps in East Africa.
She is passionate about advancing climate and social justice, biodiversity conservation, social inclusion and empowerment of the most vulnerable children, women and youth and achieving sustainable development in Uganda and other least developed countries. Rose is also a leader in several youth movements including Youth Go Green Uganda, AfricanYouth4Climate and Cherish Aid Foundation.
COP26 is going to be the first COP I have attended. I am lucky enough to have attained a blue badge that will allow me to access the blue zone; many young people did not get this opportunity. Recognising this, I have been consulting with different African youth leaders and grassroots women to ensure I raise a voice that represents these critical voices at every opportunity I get.
I also hope to raise a voice on critical issues that have been left behind in global climate debates such as climate change and biodiversity loss, induced migration and inclusion of refugees and displacement. Regarding biodiversity loss, as humans, we need to remember that this planet Earth is not only for humans but other creatures too. We humans, believed to be the most advanced species on planet Earth, MUST prove this by protecting biodiversity and vulnerable communities from the climate change threat.
I hope to meet the global leaders in person and remind them that COP26 MUST be about saving people and planet from the existential threat of climate change by keeping global temperature rise below 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, increasing adaptation grants and financing loss and damage. These are not easy or cheap commitments but together with leaders and investors that care about people and planet, we can still achieve the Paris Agreement and climate justice.
I would like to see Parties commit to the Youth for Climate recommendations that call for governments and stakeholders to engage and support young people at the frontline in addressing climate change.
Kim Allen, a youth advocate from Papua New Guinea, has over ten years of youth volunteer work with four years of experience in development work. He is engaged in various youth projects, implementing clean water initiatives in his island community on Tubetube to address the impacts of water salinity caused by the climate crisis.
He is a member of the Pacific Island Forum Secretary General’s Young Climate Leaders Alliance and an active participant in various youth events at the community, national, regional and international level. He encourages young people to take bold actions to address the issues affecting them and their community, such as impacts of global heating.
I look forward to networking and working with fellow youths and stakeholders to raise climate change concerns and demand world leaders to take concrete climate actions. I would like to see Parties commit to the Youth for Climate recommendations that calls for governments and stakeholders to engage and support young people at the frontline in addressing climate change.
I hope to network and collaborate with other young people and initiatives across the world, that will strengthen the global network on climate solutions.
Joy Egbe is a social entrepreneur, inventor, vegetarian and environmental advocate. She is the Co-founder and Chief Impact Officer of Newdigit Technologies, a renewable energy start-up addressing energy poverty. Joy is a member of the UN Academic Impact fellows, among the first-ever UN Youth Climate Change Summit green ticket awardees, and a Young Champion Of the Earth Nominee and Nigerian Delegate for Pre-COP26.
Her fight against climate breakdown cuts across entrepreneurship, technological innovations and awareness raising. She is dedicated to addressing climate change and energy poverty in sub-Saharan Africa through renewable energies.
I hope to accomplish a clear dialogue with Nigerian leaders to implement policies that will enable renewable energy startups to thrive in the development of renewable energy solutions that will address climate change and energy poverty. I am also looking forward to networking and collaborating with other young people and initiatives across the world, that will strengthen the global network on climate solutions.
My goal at COP26 is to amplify unheard youth voices from the frontlines and hold leaders accountable for urgent climate action and ensure climate justice for the most affected peoples and areas.
Sohanur Rahman is the Chief Executive of the youth-led organization: Bangladesh Model Youth Parliament (Protiki Jubo Sangsad). He is an active young advocate on climate justice as well as sexual and reproductive health and rights. Sohanur coordinates the largest youth network YouthNet for Climate Justice, and is a founding member of the youth movement Fridays for Future Bangladesh chapter.
He is a Women Deliver Young Leader, former Country Change Maker, member of the Men & Climate Crisis working group of MenEngage Alliance, winner of the COP26 Youth Engagement challenge fund by the British Council and officially served at Climate Adaptation Summit 2021 as a youth reporter.
Sohanur has participated in international meetings, such as the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government forum in London; convened Bangladesh’s first-ever national youth climate conference in 2017, presented a youth declaration to the national parliament; and launched community outreach programs to share information on climate and disaster preparedness, safe water and sanitation, and other health issues.
My goal at COP26 is to amplify unheard youth voices from the frontlines and hold [leaders] accountable for urgent climate action and ensuring climate justice for the most affected peoples and areas.
I hope to highlight both small island developing states' vulnerabilities to climate change and our role in achieving the Paris Agreement commitments through nature-based solutions, with a special focus on the tourism industry.
Victoria Alis is a Seychellois passionate about preserving the natural environment who works as a consultant in sustainability development in Seychelles. With a degree in marine science, she has always followed a key interest in marine conservation and has recently ventured into sustainable tourism development.
I hope to push forward the demands of both the Statement of Youth and the Youth4Climate outcome document, with a focus on the needs of small island developing states (SIDS) to build stronger climate resilience, during my involvement in side events and opportunistic exchanges with media and other stakeholders present at the COP26.
I hope to also highlight both SIDS' vulnerabilities to climate change and our role in achieving the Paris Agreement commitments through nature-based solutions, with a special focus on the tourism industry.
I would also like to share my COP26 experience with other young people in Seychelles and highlight our potential in tackling climate action not only a national basis, but also on a regional and international level. I would like to take COP26 as a networking opportunity to learn from other young people and SIDS experiences in battling against climate change.
At COP26 I hope for more and meaningful youth inclusion in decision making – especially those from the Global South and Latin America.
Arturo Salazar is a young Peruvian climate advocate for children and youth rights. He is the co-founder of the Peruvian Youth Climate Front, a youth-led organisation that advocates for intergenerational justice through advocacy in the education and political sectors. He has been involved in the UNFCCC process since COP20 in Lima, where he became inspired to work for a climate-just world for everyone.
- More and meaningful youth inclusion in decision making (especially those from the Global South and Latin America);
- Capitalisation of investment in youth-led projects (focusing on adaptation for developing countries);
- Commit the Parties to include young delegates as part of negotiation teams.