COP28: Youth Arab initiatives enhance climate ambition

ABU DHABI, 24th October, 2023 (WAM) -- The 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to be held in Dubai in November and December 2023, will provide young Arabs with a platform to engage with environmental issues and develop innovative solutions to the challenges of climate change.

In this report, the Emirates News Agency (WAM) highlights some leading initiatives by the Arab Youth Centre to empower young Arabs to play a significant role in enhancing climate ambition and driving global climate action.

In August 2021, to coincide with the celebration of World Youth Day, the Arab Youth Centre announced the launch of the Arab Youth Council for Climate Change (AYCCC), which aims to create a regional platform to enhance the engagement of young Arabs with environmental issues, support Arab strategies on the environment and climate change, and contribute to the development of young leaders and innovators in the field of climate action.

The Council was launched in cooperation with the Arab League, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, the Office of the UAE Special Envoy for Climate Change, and several Arab private sector institutions committed to contributing to climate action events and efforts.

The Council aims to empower young Arabs with the skills needed to address climate challenges, represent their voices in local and international forums on the environment, support Arab countries in their climate action efforts, raise strategic recommendations for decision-makers in the Arab world, propose effective solutions in partnership with the public and private sectors, and encourage investment in start-ups and small businesses in the field of environmental protection, climate change mitigation, and sustainability.

AYCCC has launched a number of initiatives, including the "Financing a Sustainable Future" meetings, which consist of a series of periodic discussions on sustainable financing. It aims to empower young people and enhance their leadership role in adopting sustainable behaviours in future societies, build capacity among individuals and societies in the field of sustainable future planning, share best practices in financing a sustainable lifestyle, and provide a unique platform for presenting innovative ideas and exchanging knowledge, experiences, and stories related to green and sustainable future financing.

In May 2022, the "Youth Network for Climate Action" was launched to engage young Arabs from different disciplines in sustainability activities and programmes to address climate change.

The network, which initially included around 300 young men and women from different parts of the Arab world, has sought to connect young people with experts, specialists, and pioneers in environmental and climate work at the Arab level to enhance their passion for the environment, in addition to providing a reference database for young Arabs who are passionate about sustainability and climate change issues.

The network also allows its members from different Arab countries to volunteer for climate action and learn about the latest Arab initiatives in addressing the impacts of climate change.

In line with the launch of the Arab Youth Centre's Young Arab Diplomatic Leaders Programme in 2021, which aims to train a generation of young Arab diplomatic leaders who represent Arab issues in international forums, the Centre organised an intensive training camp in cooperation with the European Union Delegation to the UAE.

The camp was designed to empower young individuals by honing their professional negotiation skills, whether they are part of the diplomatic corps or not. This preparation equips them with the expertise and knowledge necessary to actively engage in international dialogues and negotiations. They can then effectively represent the Arab community in the realm of climate change within the context of COP28. The hosting of this camp played a crucial role in advancing the Year of Sustainability in the UAE, reaffirming the significance of Emirati youth in fulfilling its aspirations and goals.

At the "Road to COP28" event, hosted by the Presidency of the Conference of the Parties on 15th March 2023 and driven by the youth at Dubai Expo, the Arab Youth Centre conducted an intensive awareness course. In just one day, they successfully trained over 1,000 young men and women, in climate awareness principles. The goal was to acquaint young Arabs with various opportunities to actively engage in local, regional, and international climate action.

This training initiative came within the framework of the "Climate Change For All - Climate Literacy Course", which the Centre launched at the beginning of this year as part of the activities of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week and in conjunction with the announcement of 2023 as the Year of Sustainability in the UAE and the Year of Arab Youth by the Arab League.

As part of its efforts to enhance youth participation in the 18th UN Climate Change Conference of Youth (COY18) and the COP28,
The Arab Youth Council for Climate Change has released the Arab Youth Guide as a preparatory guide for conference participants.

The guide aims to assist young individuals in maximising their participation, increasing their understanding of the conference's intricacies, and directing them towards effective engagement that amplifies youth voices and connects them with decision-makers and global leaders at these events.

This guide, launched in collaboration with COP28, COY18, and YOUNGO, focuses on six different and interconnected areas simultaneously: water consumption, food consumption, shopping, housing, travel, and waste management. It also includes numerous practical recommendations and suggestions for individuals in the community to help them improve their consumption patterns in their daily lives, enabling them to initiate and develop small-scale projects in our Arab regions.

Muhammad Aamir