"The clock is ticking, and the countdown to 2030 is not stopping because of the pandemic: we have less than 10 years left to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals”.

Jayathma Wickramanayake

United Nations Envoy on Youth

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Pexels: Trace Hudson

More than 700 young changemakers from 50 countries joined the inaugural Youth-Led Solutions Summit, on Climate Action, in October 2020. The Summit addressed UN Sustainable Development Goal 13.


Young leaders participated in sessions and workshops to discuss practical ideas and solutions to address the climate crisis. After the Summit, teams worked with mentors to design more than sixty innovative projects to address climate challenges in their communities.

 

Thirty-five of the solutions proposed by teams from Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe, have so far been awarded funding out of sixty that were submitted and are being activated at the grassroots level in 2021.

PARTNERS

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Winner of the International Children’s Peace Prize, L'Oreal Paris Women of Worth Honouree and Canada's Top25 Women of Influence Awardee, 19-year old youth icon Kehkashan Basu, has been impacting the global fraternity with her work on children’s rights, promoting gender equality, mitigating climate change and social upliftment. A United Nations Human Rights Champion and a National Geographic Explorer, Kehkashan is the Founder President of social innovation enterprise, Green Hope Foundation which has 2,038 youth ambassadors working in 15 countries.

Kehkashan Basu

One Young World Ambassador

Kehkashan has spoken at over 125 United Nations and other global forums including the World Bank, St Louis Climate Summit, Parliament of World's Religions, One Young World, Globe Forum and has been awarded the 2019 Innovator of the Year award for her path-breaking work on engaging marginalised children in the implementation of the SDGs. In 2013 at the age of 12, she was elected for a two-year term to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as the Global Coordinator for Children & Youth and a member of its Major Groups Facilitating Committee making her the youngest person and first minor, ever, to be elected into this position in the history of UNEP. A passionate advocate of children’s rights, Kehkashan is a One Young World Ambassador, Climate Reality Leader, the Youth Ambassador of World Future Council & Honorary Advisor for the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development – New York.

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Image by Lukasz Szmigiel

Jayathma Wickramanayake

UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth

Appointed as the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth in June 2017 at the age of 26. Originally from Sri Lanka, Jayathma has worked extensively on youth development and participation. 

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Carlos Madjri Sanvee

Secretary General, World YMCA

Carlos first joined World YMCA in January 1999 as Executive for Finance & Administration, a position he held until 2007. He then worked as General Secretary of the Africa Alliance of YMCAs from 2007 until 2018. From 2011 to 2018, he was also acting as a part-time Special Advisor to the Secretary General of the World YMCAs.

During the 19th YMCA World Council in Chiang Mai, Thailand in July 2018, Carlos became the first African to be elected Secretary General of World YMCA.

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Stefanie Tornow

Political Science Student, Climate Activist

Currently studying a Masters in Political Science, Stefanie, 24-years-old from Germany, has been an instrumental protagonist in YMCA’s Resource Group on Environment since 2015 and its UN Advocacy Group. She has attended United Nations ECOSOC Forums in New York, and COP events as part of YMCA’s delegation.

Dahni-El Giles

Founder, Uprhizer

Presenting ‘The Optimist’s Guide To The Climate Crisis: How To Do More Than Hope’ Dahni-El conveys what you need to know, what makes a difference, and what you can do. Co-founder of the Global Regeneration CoLab, and DonorsChoose.org, a crowdfunding platform that has directed over $875 million to US public school classrooms.

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Hemant Ya-u-thai

Volunteer, Teacher, Chiang Mai YMCA

With a PhD in Educational Administration from the North Chiang Mai University, he has been taking action on climate through YMCA Asia Pacific Alliance's Green Ambassadors programme. He has helped to build dams, encourage the use of biofuels on campuses, and helped to save mangroves through the Sao Hin YMCA.

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Oliviah Tawarar

Head of Communications, Africa Youth for Nature Network

A communication specialist passionate about environmental conservation and empowering the youth to take action. She worked at WWF Africa for a period of eight months and during her stay at WWF she was part of a team able to organise a successful youth conference which gave birth to Africa Youth for Nature Network. ​

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Marco Lambertini

Director General, WWF International

Having first worked with WWF as a youth volunteer in his native Italy. As the head of the largest and most respected nature conservation organization, he works with world leaders, corporate executives and civil society to forge a future in which people and nature thrive.

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Ana-Luísa Beserra

Founder & CEO, Safe Drinking Water For All

Young scientist and social entrepreneur that developed Aqualuz, the technology to treat rainwater from harvesting systems using sunlight in the world, the youngest Brazilian graduate in Leadership for New Enterprises from MIT. She won the UN Young Champions of the Earth award and is listed as one of “20 inspiring young people in her 20s" in Brazil by McKinsey & Company (2019).

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Patricia Pelton

President, World YMCA

World YMCA's first women President, Patricia, of Canada, will bring to the forefront the importance of Youth-led Solutions and look to the future, of a more just and equitable planet for all.

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Simangele Msweli

Co-Founder, South African Youth Biodiversity Network

A conservationist with experience in scientific research, policy and community engagement with a Master of Science in Biological Sciences, currently serves in the steering committee of the Global Youth Biodiversity Network (a youth constituency in the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity).

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Bertine Lakjohn

Environmental Studies student, Marshall Islands

To the Marshall Islands and Kosrae the climate emergency poses severe threats to its security, human rights and way of life. Something Bertine is acutely aware of, having taken part in and led youth leadership camps and dialogues on the subject, which inspired her into taking Environmental Studies at college.

Mathilde Emilie Thue

COO, Norwegian-African Business Association

Serving as World YMCA's Strategy Committee Chair, Mathilde also led the creation of its first global environment initiative. She has taken part in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and to the UNFCCC representing Norwegian Children and Youth Council (LNU) in the Official Norwegian Delegation to the climate negotiations.

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Brónach Reilly

Student, Scotland

From Edinburgh, in Scotland, Brónach attends the George Watson’s College in Edinburgh where she is currently studying for her school exams. As well as being involved in YMCA, Brónach is a girl guide, having taken part in the International Poacher camp as well as spending summer 2019 in Switzerland with the Guides. With COP26 taking place in Glasgow, Brónach understands the importance of Scotlands role as host.

OPENING

HIGHLIGHTS

Welcome

From World YMCA Secretary General, Carlos Madjri Sanvee, as he takes a look at how we got here, and why now is the time for the Youth-Led Solutions initiative. 

Indigenous Voices

People and planet have a unique connection, and our indigenous communities share culutral background that provokes reflection.

WWF: New Deal for Nature  & People

We hear about from Marco  Lambertini, WWF International Director General and inspirng young leader Oliviah Tawarar, Head of Communication at the Africa Youth for Nature Network about the importance of youth leadership now and ongoing from the largest nature NGO on the planet.

In conversation: Youth Leadership - why this is important now? 

To the Marshall Islands and Kosrae the climate emergency poses severe threats to its security, human rights and way of life. Something our speaker, Bertine Lakjohn, is acutely aware of, having taken part in and led youth leadership camps and dialogues on the subject, she's now reading Environmental Studies.

The Optimist’s Guide To The Climate Crisis: How To Do More Than Hope

Dahni-El conveys what you need to know, what makes a difference, and what you can do in this interactive session.

Keynote: Safe Drinking Water for All

From Anna Luísa Santos, young scientist and social entrepreneur that developed Aqualuz, the first technology to treat rainwater from harvesting systems using sunlight in the world, the youngest Brazilian graduate in Leadership for New Enterprises from MIT. She won the UN Young Champions of the Earth award, and is listed as one of “20 inspiring young people in her 20" in Brazil by McKinsey & Company (2019).

CLOSING HIGHLIGHTS

Welcome

From World YMCA President, Patricia Pelton, as she looks ahead at a different future, and a world filled with youth-driven ideas and solutions.

Keynote: UN Youth Envoy

The United Nations Envoy on Youth gave her inaugural YMCA keynote at YMCA175 in London 2019, Jayathma has gone on to visit a number of YMCA initiatives around the world.

Panel: Youth Leadership

and Climate Action

Our flagship panel will bring together bright young minds from Norway, Marshall Islands, South Africa, Chiang Mai and Brazil. All our speakers are at different stages of their leadership journey, but have taken the first steps to take action in creating a more just and equitable world for all. 

Following the panel discussion, questions are invited from the audience.

Behind the scenes

For two weeks to this point, hundreds of young leaders have been meeting in-person or virtually around the world, discussing problems, creating solutions, participating in workshops and online forums to cultivate ideas to address critical issues in their community. We take a look into some of the beind the scenes conbersations that have been taking place. 

In conversation: Meet the Solution Teams

Meet two participants from Solution Teams around the world, and hear about the work they have been progressing.