RIYADH, 13th October, 2023 (WAM) — The COP28 Changemakers Majlis hosted by the Youth Climate Champion highlighted the importance of involving young people in developing and delivering climate action and ensuring their voices are heard in decision-making processes.
Held during MENA Climate Week in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, this initiative offered youth a platform to express their ideas, aspirations and concerns to leaders, and to ensure that climate outcomes are aligned with the priorities of young people.
The event was a collaborative effort involving the COP28 Youth Climate Champion (YCC), and attended by Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, President and CEO of UAE Independent Climate Change Accelerators (UICCA), and Sheikh Nahyan bin Saif Al Nahyan, UAE Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. During the discussions, participants developed ways to incorporate youth voices at every stage of the COP28 process and beyond. Topics included strengthening regional cooperation, exploring the potential launch of a MENA youth climate network, and finding ways to involve youth in decision-making at various government levels. Other attendees included Professor Franceso Corvaro, Italy’s Special Envoy on Climate Change. Inclusivity is one of the key pillars of the COP28 Presidency’s Action Agenda, with young voices playing an integral role in achieving ambitious outcomes at COP28.
The majlis – or ‘sitting place’ – brings people together from all ages and backgrounds to discuss shared interests in the community. The majlis serves an important role both in the home and for business meetings in the UAE and the Arab world. This approach is rooted in Arab heritage, customs, and hospitality and brings together problem solvers to develop shared solutions and directly connect the community with leaders to effect change.
Sheikha Shamma emphasised the significance of youth involvement in all dialogue and policy design stages, particularly in the MENA region, where nearly half the population are considered young (aged under 30).
“The MENA region presents numerous opportunities for sustainable growth, including advancements in renewable energy, food and water security, innovation, localisation, climate-resilient cities, and upskilling for sustainable economic growth. And the Arab youth, with 40 percent of them considering climate change the most pressing issue of their generation, play a pivotal role in this transition,” Sheikha Shamma said.
Rooted in Emirati traditions, the COP28 Changemakers Majlis is part of a series of gatherings leading up to and taking place during COP28. It aims to leverage the values of the majlis to gather a curated diverse group of Climate Actionists in an open and solutions-oriented dialogue to achieve transformative change while also building relationships that will carry forward this legacy of environmental stewardship beyond COP28.
The YCC’s main objective is to ensure the meaningful participation and representation of youth in international climate decision-making and mobilise substantive youth input and outcomes from the COP and UNFCCC processes.
This mission is reflected onto YCC’s ongoing initiatives, including the International and UAE Youth Climate Delegates’ programs which are designed to equip a selection of young people with the resources, capacity-building and access needed to meaningfully participate in climate dialogues. A notable highlight of this commitment was the participation of several delegates in the Changemakers Majlis.
The COP28 Presidency is working to find real-world solutions that close the gaps to 2030 and respond to the first Global Stocktake.
To achieve this, the Presidency’s Action Agenda focuses on an ambitious mitigation work program, finalising the global goal on adaptation, establishing a fund for loss and damage, and reaching an equitable approach to means of implementation.
The four key pillars of the Presidency’s Action Agenda are: fast-tracking a just, orderly, and well-managed energy transition, fixing climate finance, focusing on people, lives and livelihoods and underpinning everything with full inclusivity.
The COP28 Presidency is running a series of Changemakers Majlises to galvanise diverse international and local experts towards taking action across the Presidency’s Action Agenda to find new solutions to pressing global climate challenges.