Putting human rights at the center of climate action by empowering youth on climate change

During the second week of the COP27 meeting in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, The Raoul Wallenberg Institute’s Asia Pacific team continued its activities in promoting the interlinkages between human rights, gender equality, climate change, business, and the environment. During the second week, RWI, represented by Windi Arini, the program officer for inclusive societies, organized a side event at the Youth and Children pavilion. The event joined youth groups from the Stockholm +50 task force, AYF, Youth Empowerment in Climate Action Platform, UN Development Programme (UNDP), and UN Environmental Programme. The discussion placed human rights at the heart of climate action through action through empowering youth on climate change.

The discussion featured a range of youth and expert speakers, namely Saher Baig of the Stockholm +50 Youth Task Force, Rosalind Ratana of the ASEAN Youth Forum, Cathy Li ofYouth Empowerment in Climate Action Platform (YECAP), Fairda Malem of the Thai Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) Focal Point, and Romchat Wachirarattanakornkul of OHCHR, and was moderated by John Leo C. Algo from YECAP..

Before the discussion started, RWI screened a short film on the topic of climate change, that was awarded as one of the top films of the RWI Asia Pacific Film Award 2022, The Partian (Indonesia) by Hadafi Raihan Karim.

During the panel discussion, Saher Baig of the Stockholm+50 Youth Task Force stressed that children and youth are at the heart of climate empowerment action.

Children and young people are the beating heart of Action for Climate Empowerment.” Said Saher at the Pavilion.

Rosalind Ratana from the ASEAN Youth Forum revealed that for climate action education to serve its purpose, it must be accessible to all members of society. That means going above and beyond the traditional systems. However, the reality is that all over the world, about a quarter of a billion youth and children are not even in school. Ratana therefore addressed a question to the Action for Climate Empowerment :

How can climate action education go hand in hand with fulfilling the right to education of all children and youth? ” Asked Ratana in the discussion via Zoom.

Another youth speaker, Cathy Li from YECAP, has pointed out that there has been much discussion on implementing the Nationally determined contributions (NCDs) and linking it with national adaptation planning. She said that it will be interesting to see how Action for Climate Empowerment and youth engagement can be further included as indicators and as part of national adaptation plans (NAP).

It would be interesting to see how ACE and youth engagement can be further included as indicators as part of NAP.” said Cathy.

Meanwhile, Farida Malem, the Thai ACE focal point, revealed that, from the government’s point of view, more collaboration is needed between ACE focal points and different stakeholder groups to enhance the effectiveness of ACE focal points’ work on education, public awareness, public participation, and public access to information.

More collaboration is needed between ACE focal points and different stakeholder groups to enhance the effectiveness of ACE focal points” She said.

Lastly, Romchat Wachirarattanakornkul from OHCHR said that human rights are part and parcel of the ACE`s mandate, covering the rights to information, meaningful participation, education, and transparency.

“ACE work plans and decisions should, therefore, incorporate human rights and intergenerational equity as articulated in the preamble of the Paris Agreement.” revealed Romchat.

You can watch the recorded session via link below:

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