I read the report “MEANINGFUL INCLUSION OF YOUTH; A PROMISING FUTURE” by Youth Sounding Board facilitated by the European Commission in 2022.
Their line of thinking 100 % resonates with the MasterPeace way of doing: to “Engage, Connect and Empower” Civil society organisations and the millions of youngsters as our main target group;
As mentioned in my story https://masterpeace.org/cooleaders-for-a-peaceful-inclusive-sustainable-future/ MasterPeace is exited to mobilise thousands of “CooLeaders” all around the world:
I like to share 2 key themes with fuelling our energy to be a “CooLeader”
Climate justice and environmental action
In addressing youth concerns in the area of Climate Justice and Environmental Action, technical and financial support must be made available to the most vulnerable groups based on an interdisciplinary and intersectional matrix. This includes recognition of how populations, based on their gender and sexual orientation, race, age, geographic location, socio-economic background, and intellectual or physical abilities may be adversely affected by climate change. The agenda also has to consider how the health status and choices of transportation affect or is affected by the environment.
In addition, focus must be given to ensuring the personal security and safety of climate activists as well as bridging the knowledge gap on matters of environmental sustainability.
Three dimensions to consider:
1- CLIMATE CHANGE IS THE BIGGEST GLOBAL HEALTH THREAT OF THE 21ST CENTURY IMPACTING THE HEALTH OF CURRENT AND FUTURE GENERATIONS
The accelerating health consequences of climate change are impacting the liveability of many spaces, particularly in the Global South. The changing climate has ravaged the health and well-being of billions of people, directly through extreme weather events that cause severe injuries and heat-related deaths. Indirect impacts can also arise from air pollution leading to cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, as nine out of ten people breathe in polluted air worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.
Climate change is also shifting our ecosystem, compromising our global food systems and water supply, leading to malnutrition and exacerbating hunger and poverty in developing countries. Such ecological changes also drive the emergence of zoonotic diseases such as Ebola, Avian influenza and now the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Environmental degradation also increases forced migration and civil conflict between nations due to the increasing scarcity of key resources while at the same time impacting our economies, access to healthcare, social structure and mental health
2- LACK OF ACCESS TO FUNDING PREVENTS YOUNG CLIMATE ACTIVISTS FROM EFFECTIVELY PURSUING THEIR ADVOCACY
Young people are at the frontlines of the climate movement. Movements like Fridays for Future, World’s Youth for Climate Justice, Youth 4 Climate, and many others are able to lead larger movements in spite of larger financial barriers. Nevertheless, this is not the norm. Grassroots/local organizations often lack the capacity and institutional solvency to fund climate action initiatives. This makes it harder for communities to effectively adapt and mitigate the worst effects of climate change.
3- COVID-19 HAS DISRUPTED CLIMATE ACTION
Although COP26 served to create more momentum for climate action, there is still much more work to be done. Government funding is being invested into traditional polluting industries in order to “rescue” the economy. This modus operandi is short-sighted and destructive, as it does not actually deal with the larger challenges that the world is facing right now. Young people have disproportionately suffered from the consequences of COVID-19. Growing inequality, combined with uncertainty surrounding schooling and the end of the COVID-19 crisis have plugged young people into despair and disillusionment. The worst outcomes of climate change have started to unfold. Climate change is causing a tremendous skill and knowledge gap for youth who can no longer work in the traditional fields because of droughts, floods, stronger hurricanes, and the consequences thereof. The economic uncertainty increases the growing disparity
Peace, Security and Humanitarian ACTION
Peace, Security and Humanitarian Action are pillars of youth engagement all over the world. Both within the EU and globally, unprecedented numbers of youth organizations dedicate themselves to providing relief to and/or engaging young people in the creation of peaceful and just societies.
Youth are, however, facing a number of challenges when they engage in humanitarian assistance and in the promotion of peace and security. Not only are they underrepresented at the institutional level – in conflict-resolution, security dialogues and in high-level humanitarian decision-making, but they also face challenges at the local level, when providing aid to those in need, especially as regards security. Further challenges are posed by the existing lack of funding that youth organizations face. When coupled with the lack of recognition, these challenges can result in a deadlock, preventing forms of concrete action.
Three dimensions to consider:
1- THERE IS A LACK OF CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS (CSO) NETWORKS AND CROSS-SECTORAL COOPERATION AND COORDINATION A LACK OF CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS (CSO) NETWORKS AND CROSS-SECTOR
Youth organisations working in humanitarian aid and peacebuilding deal with the lack of cross-NGO support and peer-to-peer learning schemes to upscale their impact and to be integrated in the larger sector. This leads to the proliferation of small projects that could have otherwise been synergized with other projects to create an even bigger impact.
2- YOUTH LEADERS LACK INSTITUTIONAL SUPPORT AND RECOGNITION AND EXPERIENCE GATEKEEPING BY ADULTS
Young people interviewed expressed the feeling of exclusion from critical policy conversations. In contexts where security issues are volatile, like Nigeria, there are few elected youth representatives because it is costly to contest for elections due to high cost of nomination forms and campaign costs. Even when the government occasionally organizes youth consultations, elderly people or partisan youth tend to present themselves as youth leaders and thereby deny youth leaders space to express themselves.
Lack of young people’s inclusion in decision-making can also be expressed in the form of tokenism and exploitation of youth lived experiences by institutions and organizations.
3- CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENVIRONMENTAL DISRUPTION ARE PUSH FACTORS FOR MIGRATION
In addressing youth concerns in the area of Climate Justice and Environmental Action, technical and financial support must be made available to the most vulnerable groups based on an interdisciplinary and intersectional matrix. This includes recognition of how populations, based on their gender and sexual orientation, race, age, geographic location, socio-economic background, and intellectual or physical abilities may be adversely affected by climate change. The agenda also has to consider how the health status and choices of transportation affect or is affected by the environment. In addition, focus must be given to ensuring the personal security and safety of climate activists as well as bridging the knowledge gap on matters of environmental sustainability.
Almost all those consulted reported experiencing at least one extreme climate event in the past five (5) years. From the mentioned events, higher mean temperatures, decrease in rainfall and irregularities in seasons were the most popular. When asked if they would migrate if the extreme events increased in the next few years, 87.3% responded that they would not.
However, when given a scenario where their resident area became uninhabitable due to climate change and environmental degradation, 62.5% responded that they would definitely move out of the country, while 18,8% would only consider leaving the country. The two most popular indicators to pick a new country would be economic opportunities and capital available for the move. The political atmosphere and cultural similarities were also mentioned among important features of a possible host country. Finally, the main reason indicated for possible migration would be the physical dangers of staying in the regions with frequent and severe extreme events.
Among the indigenous groups consulted, there was a very strong preference to stay in their territory, because of heritage, cultural and spiritual connection with their land. However, if they were to migrate, it would be because their means to survive would be endangered (for example: agriculture, fishing, collecting and hunting). Most of them would try to stay near their current residences rather than migrating far away.