There are over 1 billion youth in the world, but too many still face barriers and lack adequate resources. Youth from underrepresented, underserved, marginalized, and under-resourced communities lack robust and equitable access to finance, funding, and opportunities.
YOUNGO, a youth empowerment initiative entirely run by volunteers, unites youth climate advocates, with the goal of ensuring that the voices of future generations are accounted for in international decision-making processes.
One of YOUNGO’s key activities involves connecting climate advocates through local and regional conferences in the lead up to the United Nations Conference of Parties (COP), an annual global climate summit which brings together representatives from all UN member states. Ahead of COP, YOUNGO participants across all continents gather to discuss, reflect upon and define the key climate issues and recommendations to be presented to policymakers at COP. The latest Global Youth Statement submitted at COP26 in 2021 received input from over 50,000 international children and youth. Monthly climate finance webinars, along with opensource TED-talks and podcasts serve to further mobilize, connect, and inspire youth to be the transformational change in their communities which is urgently needed.
In response to YOUNGO’s Global Youth Statement and the accompanying youth advocacy efforts, articles on youth were included in the 2021 Glasgow Climate Pact, which is now a binding international treaty for all countries within the United Nations. Article 64 directly responds to the central policy demand, calling on all governments to “ensure meaningful youth participation and representation in multilateral, national and local decision-making processes” – an unprecedented call for mainstreaming the youth voice in climate change decision-making globally. Furthermore, YOUNGO representatives have successfully contributed ideas, policy recommendations and advocacy at many international conferences, including COPs, MENA Climate Weeks, Bonn Climate Change Conference, EarthX2022 Conference, and regional and global UN youth dialogues.
YOUNGO was a finalist in the Connect category of the 2022 UN SDG Action Awards, for its ability to flip apathy into Climate Action (Goal 13). As the climate crisis heightens and more communities are impacted by natural and anthropogenic hazards, YOUNGO’s work towards a sustainable and renewable future will continue to be critical.