Experience, Participation & Action: UN Youth Summit 2019

The recently concluded UN Climate Action Summit 2019 and UN Youth Climate Summit in New York were proof that youth are increasingly becoming a catalyst to progressing climate change action. The Youth Summit which was the first ever of its kind provided an opportunity for young leaders who are spearheading climate action in their respective countries to showcase creative solutions contributing towards climate action at the United Nations. I was privileged to participate at the UN Youth Summit as part of the UNESCO Man and Biosphere (MAB) Youth Delegation, representing the youth, my initiative TLC4Environment, my country Kenya, the MAB programme and other institutions that have propelled me towards this commitment such as the Centre for International Postgraduate Studies of Environmental Management (CIPSEM) and the Youth Encounter on Sustainability (YES).

Alongside the MAB delegates, youth from various parts of the globe thronged the streets of New York and other towns in several countries on 20th September 2019 for the #GlobalClimateStrike in support of the urgent climate action call to world leaders. In New York the strike was led by Greta Thunberg; who also went ahead to address the youth and the Secretary-General of the United Nations during the opening of the Youth Summit the following day, including giving a worldwide impactful but emotional speech condemning world leaders for failing to address climate change and for stealing the youth’s dreams and childhood.

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Attending the Summit positioned me on the global stage for a historic moment which allowed me to give my voice and discuss efforts in addressing climate change including an opportunity to actively engage and contribute to further climate action. The Summit also fostered youth ownership of the dire need to #ActNow in order to secure their future as cities all over the world realize they are facing increased impacts from climate-related disasters. Notably, as a MAB delegate, it is important to highlight the importance of nature-based solutions in addressing the climate crises. Nature Based Solutions jointly address not only climate change but also biodiversity loss impacts and therefore their implementation both within and outside of protected areas is crucial as a holistic transformational action. In our participation, we ensured to give our voices rooted in the reality of the role of biosphere reserves in climate change adaptation, mitigation and resilience, such as implementing widespread ecosystem restoration and enhancing resilience of nature’s benefits to people. Also, we actively participated in the session on the role of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) towards combating climate change and the importance of education as an effective tool in addressing climate change. Overall, I enjoyed the Summit and found it of value especially in current and future plans in addressing climate change.

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Ms. Louisa Chinyavu Mwenda, Kenya, SC68 CIPSEM Alumna

Pioneering step forward for access rights

On March 4th this year, in Costa Rica, 24 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean gather to adopt “The Escazu Agrement”. Our region, during the last years, has being characterized by the increasing numbers of people (especially activists) that have been killed for taking action or denouncing the destruction of nature and their habitat, this Agreement is an important step to guarantee people without any kind of discrimination their access rights; the right to information, public participation and justice on environmental matters. Access to information is very important for people in our region in order to understand, evaluate and recognize the important problems that are taking place in their different context, there are many cases that we can sadly remark of people that are trying to fight for justice but have been discredited because the information that’s been published in some cases is not correct and some others the information is not accessible to the public.

Last week “Reaccion Climatica” (Climate Reaction), a collective of volunteers that has being actively participating in the drafting of the Agreement and on its adoption in Costa Rica as representatives of the public, along with the collation TAI-Bolivia (The Access Initiative) and CEDIB (Center of Documentation and information Bolivia) among other organizations, made the Presentation of this Agreement in the University of San Francisco de Asís in the city of La Paz in Bolivia, in an open call to all members of civil society. The presentation did not only had the participation of NGO’s that work in environmental matters but also had the participation of young people and especially of  people from indigenous communities who were able to show their concern and fights for nature conservation and show how this Agreement could help them raise awareness of the destruction of not only their homes, but also one the most important protected areas in Bolivia: Madidi National Park that currently is being treat by the constructions of two hydroelectric dams that according to last studies are not economically, socially or sustainably viable. During my participation at CIPSEM in the 73rd International Short Course on Resource Efficiency – Cleaner Production and Waste Management (SC73) my fellow colleagues always asked about the dangers and importance of being an activist in my country, I always answered that it is hard work to make people understand the importance of environment in our country, to show people that protecting our natural parks are not only important for the indigenous people that live there but also for everybody as our natural heritage and also that prevention and mitigation of pollution as well as sustainability policies are key and must be addressed in all projects in order to achieve the sustainable development we are trying to reach.

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We are aware that there’s a long road ahead for the implementation and accomplishment of the main goal of this Agreement l that is:

 “guarantee the full and effective implementation in Latin America and the Caribbean of the rights of access to environmental information, public participation in environmental decision-making processes and access to justice in environmental matters, as well as the creation and strengthening of capacities and cooperation, contributing to the protection of the right of each person, of present and future generations, to live in a healthy environment and to sustainable development”

Nevertheless, we believe this is a big step to protect the protectors of nature and hopefully it will reduce drastically the killing of nature defenders while achieving environmental justice.

by Ms. Analia Mayte Ricaldez Hurtado

Analia

Analia Mayte Ricaldez Hurtado is working as a Project Engineer developing Energy Efficiency programs, Environmental Impact Assessments, Environmental Sheets and Environmental Monitoring and inspections in TECAP Global Solutions S.R.L in La Paz Bolivia. She is also involved in occupational health and safety for the company’s laboratory and designing the process and procedures to prevent its environmental impact. Analia assists and analyzes services of environmental risk and other services which could give easy solutions to their clients in the private and public sector and in all production activities (mining, oil and gas, industrial, etc.). She also completed a training of sustainability in the supply chain in Brazil in 2013 and received a Diploma in Energy Efficiency in Pontifical Catholic University of Chile in Santiago. She applied for UNEP/UNESCO/BMU course program to add and change her perspective in sustainability and resource efficiency and to be able to develop and apply this important topic in her country. Analia participated in volunteering as a teacher for children in small schools in environmental education with The Coca Cola Company and currently in a volunteering collective “Reaccion Climatica” for the diffusion and promoting participation of the population in climate change problems in Bolivia.