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The planet is not ours; it is the treasure we hold in trust for future generations. KoďŹ Annan, President of the Global Humanitarian Forum, January 2009
KoďŹ Annan, President of the Global Humanitarian Forum at the Youth Forum 2009
The Youth Forum 2009 at a glance
An action-oriented international youth event entitled Young Adults 4 New Results focused on the human impact of climate change, with the goal of developing new ideas on youth action in regard to climate change
Held 17 – 19 June 2009 at the Centre de l’Esperance in Geneva, Switzerland
Over the three days, the programme of the Youth Forum 2009 included:
Executive Conference Summary:
10 remarkable and successful young adults from business, science, communications, media and other sectors visiting as guest speakers Four UNFCCC simulations facilitated by Geneva International Model United Nations (GIMUN) An interreligious plenary discussion on climate change – including representatives of Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism Five discussion groups on the human impact of climate change An Idea Fair with 12 international organizations, private companies and NGOs presenting their projects and efforts An interactive discussion with Koﬁ Annan, President of the Global Humanitarian Forum Several high-tech brainstorming sessions which were facilitated by Nextpractice, an innovative idea collection and mapping company
The Youth Part 1 Forum 2009
The Youth Forum 2009 was attended by 100 young adults from over 40 nationalities ranging from the age of 18 to 28
Through the numerous brainstorming sessions ﬁve initiatives have been developed. During the follow-up period of the Youth Forum 2009 it is up to the participants to further develop the ﬁve initiatives and eventually implement them. The Global Humanitarian Forum is willing to offer support and guidance to these initiatives while carefully monitoring them over the course of the coming year. The ﬁve initiatives developed during the event were: The Alternative Green Algae Based Energy Initiative The Radio Information for Women and Children Initiative The Seeds of Change Initiative The Raising Climate Change Awareness in Primary Schools Initiative The IDEAS Initiative
A Copenhagen Manifesto, which states the participants’ expectations and demands with regard to the United Nations Climate Conference (COP 15) to be held in Copenhagen in December 2009. COP 15 is the 15th annual Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) to which the better known Kyoto Protocol is an operational instrument. COP 15 marks the end of a two year negotiating progress begun at COP 13 in Bali, Indonesia, to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. The conference aims to establish a functional global climate change agreement, which includes mitigation, adaptation, financing and technology transfer.
Walter Fust, CEO/Director General of the Global Humanitarian Forum
Last autumn I got challenged by young adults asking why the Global Humanitarian Forum had no particular youth focus and why they were not invited to participate in the Global Humanitarian Forum’s Annual Forum. I had no other option but to confess: “yes we do not yet have a particular youth focus”. But I also declared it my task to propose to our Board a change to this situation. The Bureau of the Board followed my proposal and entrusted me to create a “Youth Focal Point”.
What should a Focal Point do? Make proposals to the CEO on how to best make the voice of young adults heard, and integrate and associate them with the other work of the Global Humanitarian Forum. When asking two interns “to reﬂect on the idea of holding a particular Youth Forum” before our Annual Forum, I got an enthusiastic echo and excellent ideas were brought forward. It quickly became obvious how important and at the same time useful such an event would be. The team of young people working within the Global Humanitarian Forum did a great job in developing, planning and making this Youth Forum a reality. I made it clear from the beginning that young adults should do the event on their own, receive guidance only when necessary or needed, that it should be gender balanced and that the results should be presented at our Annual Forum.
It is in my opinion very important to give a young voice to the representatives of the next generation. They will have to deal with so many issues present and previous generations did not deal with well, in particular related to climate change and its consequences. We are not going far in addressing climate change when we do not give pivotal importance to the social dimensions it implies. And those dimensions directly linked to maintaining the good livelihood of forth-coming generations makes it imperative to actively involve the youth from the start. Their own future and the perspectives for their children are at stake! No wonder these young people call for leadership and action to get a fair and binding agreement at Copenhagen, and that they call for solidarity and for burden sharing. Young people have ideas on complex challenges like climate change; they are creative and do not easily follow vested interests. They rally behind the cause and want to see change. As we the older generations have not done well enough, it is a matter of inter-generational responsibility and respect to give them an opportunity to do better. The potential of these young people is huge and should be adequately harnessed for the common challenge of climate change. The human dimension of climate change is about people, regardless of age, but the young people are the next leaders and they are eager to see changes for the better. I am certain this youth forum has been a positive step in that direction. Our Board was of a similar opinion, deciding on 22 June 2009 to foster the Youth Focal Point and to continue with youth-speciﬁc events and activities. Our President, Koﬁ Annan reported to the Board his particular experience at the
Youth Forum 2009 and wholeheartedly supports the further developments of youth activities in the Global Humanitarian Forum. I am proud to see what the team of young adults in the Global Humanitarian Forum has done in a short period of time and was indeed happy to experience a very convincing and engaged group of participating young adults from all over the world at the Youth Forum 2009. Thank you for responding so positively.
Walter Fust, (August 19, 2009)
Walter Fust, CEO/Director General of the Global Humanitarian Forum at the Youth Forum 2009
It takes a lot of determination, and believe me I have some down days where I think: did I make the right decision or should I have gone into a more conventional design job? It has to be your passion, your drive to push through and make things happen.
Daniel Sheridan United Kingdom
The Guest Speakers
Age : 23 Title : Founder and Managing Director, Playmade Energy Ltd ; Student at Coventry University
Daniel Sheridan is a young, ambitious 23 year old British student at Coventry University and the founder of Playmade Energy. Daniel elaborated on the connection of business and development and how Playmade Energy is based on renewable energy and sustainable design. After spending time in Tanzania and Kenya, and as part of his master’s degree project in Consumer Product Design, this inspiring entrepreneur came up with the idea of a see-saw which generates electricity within rural areas. Daniel realized that there were no electricity, lighting or communication tools in these poorer areas which greatly hindered development. Linking this issue to the lack of playground equipment in schools led him to establish Playmade Energy in 2008, a company which aims to provide electricity to developing country schools through play. Daniel stated that the philosophy behind the design of his energy see-saw was to make it as “ecofriendly as possible”, manufacturing most of the product with re-used and local items. For his next energy saw installation in Malawi, Daniel aims to train the local builders on how to install the energy saw kits, making it viable to be taken to other parts of the world. Daniel believes that young, innovative thinking, coupled with the existing knowledge and expertise on climate change, can lead to new global business opportunities. All one needs is a good idea and the drive to want to make things happen. This could potentially lead to a positive business opportunity and the needed support will follow. Emphasizing perseverance and determination, Daniel encouraged participants to never give up on their ideas and follow their passion. He also promoted the fact that one should also expand on their “entrepreneurial ﬂair” and reach for other goals, using the example of how he has begun giving sustainability workshops to primary school pupils in the UK. Daniel ended his presentation by emphasizing that children and youth are not constrained by parameters such as politics and funding, which leads to a creative pool of innovative thinking and excellent business opportunities.
The Competition For its inaugural Youth Forum the Global Humanitarian Forum decided to unite 100 young adults from all around the world in Geneva for three days. From the beginning, the idea was to put together a heterogeneous group of young people for the event; participants of the Youth Forum 2009 should differ from each other in geographical, social as well as educational backgrounds. However, they should all have a common goal: the desire to develop new action-oriented solutions to address the human impact of climate change.
who have innovative ideas to offer in regard to climate change and young people already active in addressing the human impact of climate change. To reach the highest number of young people interested in the inaugural Youth Forum, new communication tools, such as facebook and twitter, were used to spread the competition globally. Additionally, the competition was spread through numerous networks concerning climate issues and young people, such as the scouts, WWF and several universities.
In order to select the participants for the inaugural Youth Forum, in March 2009 a competition was launched that was open to young adults from 18 to 28 years of age from all over the world. Candidates were asked to submit a 300-word statement answering one of the following three questions:
Upon submission of the statements, each one was carefully considered and discussed. Eventually, participants were selected on the basis of the feasibility, originality and creativity of their statements. A few extracts of the submitted statements illustrate the breadth of experience and the range of ideas presented:
1. How have you personally witnessed the human impact of climate change?
“As a rural development actor, I noticed this year several changes impacting the behaviour of the rural population in Morocco.
2. What innovative idea(s) do you have to counter the effects of climate change?
As a matter of fact, the snow and rain level increased considerably and abnormally in several areas. As a consequence, a lot of people, especially those living in the Atlas Mountains, suffered from the cold weather, for example their houses collapsed because of the ﬂooding rivers and under the weight of the snow (a considerable number of children died). Furthermore, there was no way to supply them with food and ﬁrewood until helicopters managed to do the job.
3. How can young adults address the human impact of climate change? The questions reﬂected the three different types of participants who could potentially contribute to a successful outcome of the Youth Forum 2009: Young people who have been personally affected by climate change, young people
I discussed the matter with some old people who told me that they experienced similar events in the past. In the past they used to store all the needed
Nat Powell, moderator of the Youth Forum 2009 getting prepared
supplies before the onset of winter, which allowed them to resist the cold until the spring. However, the fact that Morocco suffered drought during the last years explains why those people gave up their ancestral habits.”
information much more effective. Far away from mere slogans, such a demand could modify companies’ attitudes towards ecological responsibility and governments could easily provide the necessary incentives for this process to start. Consumers might very well, at last, impose it more widely.” Julia Dao (22, Germany) in response to question 2
Fouad Bergigui (25, Morocco) in response to question 1 “Nowadays, widespread public awareness of climate change exists. Unfortunately, mass media information tends to focus on its consequences – in a way which mainly fosters anxiety, but seldom understanding – whereas people need comprehensible tools to put in practice their ecological concerns. It does not need much for people to understand how their personal behaviour affects the climate, and how their consumer choices can make a difference. Practical information does not need to provoke a sense of guilt, it can also lead to empowerment. An example of what could be done along these lines is to push for the adoption of a standardized set of indices evaluating the ecological balance sheet of a company and its products. Related to climate change in particular, one indication could be the cost of transportation of a given product, another indication could be the « pollutivity » of its packing, a third one the water or energy ratio needed to produce it.
Caterina Luciani, Project Ofﬁcer Youth Forum in the back ofﬁce of the Centre de l’Esperance
Such an instrument, already used to categorize cars and washing machines, could apply to every consumer good, encompassing ecological and social indices that could be summarized by a grade. This grade could in turn refer to different colour categories, making the transmission of basic but crucial
“In order to strengthen the voice of young adults on the human impact of climate change we have to engage more young people from various ﬁelds other than the environment sector, such as the development sector and the health sector, because we still have not grasped the clear image of the impact of climate change on our society. The impact of climate change on human society has become obvious. The rise of temperature changes precipitation all over the world, increases the number of natural disasters and spreads water and mosquito-related diseases. These inﬂuences will further prevent vulnerable communities from achieving the Millennium Development Goals. However, it does not necessarily mean that people in the development/health sector understand how climate change affects their work. Environment specialists might predict what kind of changes would happen due to climate change, but they might not know how to deal with the changes to the community while health specialists know how to deal with the health problems caused, but might not know where it might spread due to climate change.
Participants getting to know each other over a cup of coffee
In my work toward the G8 Toyako Summit in 2008, I realized that active young adults separately worked for the respective interests and did not cooperate well with each other. Such separation among young adults will make our efforts belated. Therefore, young people from various ﬁelds have to bring together knowledge and wisdom from their respective ﬁelds, and discuss the solution collaboratively.” Junya Tanaka (24, Japan) in response to question 3
Kaitlin and Valentina discussing in the plenary room
As the foundation of the inaugural Youth Forum, the ﬁnal selection of participants made for a unique mix of creative young adults from all over the globe.
Since many young people today communicate mainly online and over various social networks, it was crucial to integrate this trend in the conceptualization of the Youth Forum. Hence, in the period preceding the Youth Forum 2009, a dedicated platform was set up: the Young Adults 4 New Results e-Community. The e-Community serves as interactive online tool where young people from all around the world can join and share and exchange information concerning climate change with other like-minded young people.
More precisely, the attendees of the Youth Forum 2009 included young adults from 44 different nationalities (illustrated in Figure 1), including 51 women and 49 men. Their educational backgrounds varied between biology, development studies, education, economics, engineering, ethics, geography, geology, history, law, environmental sciences, physics, politics, social work, and sociology. While most of the participants were students, a considerable number of participants were young professionals or currently in traineeships. Additionally, many of the participants were engaged in work with an international organization, an NGO or an activist group aside from their main occupation.
Figure 1 Geographic representation of participants
The wealth of ideas produced by the Youth Forum 2009 was closely related to the considerable amount of experience and knowledge the 100 participants brought to the table, as well as to the immense effort and commitment they demonstrated over the course of the event. The mix of participants demonstrated how the human impact of climate change is an issue not just concerning one speciﬁc group, but the planet as a whole.
North America | Western Europe | Africa |
South America Eastern Europe Middle East |
The purpose of the e-Community is threefold: ﬁrst, the e-Community was intended to link and connect the participants prior to the Youth Forum in June allowing participants to get to know each other in the run-up to the event and to inspire each other with expertise and knowledge. Second, the e-Community was also designed to extend the scale of the Young Adults 4 New Results project beyond the Youth Forum 2009 by involving those young adults who were not selected as participants to the youth event or who were not able to attend the event due to economic reasons, in the dialogue. Last but not least, the e-Community was also developed to facilitate the follow-up period of the Youth Forum 2009. Since tangible outcomes were expected as a result of the Youth Forum 2009, the e-Community should serve as a platform through which the participants can stay in contact and develop, coordinate and implement the outcomes of the Youth Forum 2009 upon conclusion of the event.
Participants getting ready for the opening ceremony
Participants seated in front of their laptops at the plenary room
There are hundreds of thousands of students working on the solutions to the climate challenge right now, we can and will be part of the solution. What is important now is we make our voices heard and tell our political leaders that they support us in doing this.
Diana Vogtel Germany
The Guest Speakers
Age : 27 Title : European Coordinator for 350.org
Diana Vogtel, a 27 year old German, is the European Coordinator for 350.org. Diana spoke at the Youth Forum 2009 on innovative ways of campaigning for climate justice and applying pressure on world leaders to raise political will at Copenhagen this year. 350.org is an international campaign that aims to limit carbon emission levels in the atmosphere to 350ppm, the safe upper limit of CO2 in the atmosphere in order to avoid catastrophic climate change. 350.org aims to have this 350ppm cap agreed upon during the decision of the new global climate treaty at COP15 this December. Diana provided background on the campaign and how its work began at COP13 in Bali, leading to further campaigning at COP14 in Poznan where the 350ppm target began gaining traction in the international climate negotiations. Diana stressed the need for a just climate deal this year, and the need for more stringent limits on emission targets. She stated that youth play a key role in bringing about a change and one way to achieve this is through a global youth climate movement. In order for the youth’s voices to be heard, they need to be creative and have a truly targeted message to be communicated. Further, she encouraged participants to be involved in the movement by joining the 350 International climate action day on the 24 October 2009, to support the 350ppm target ; it will be a single day to make the youth’s voices heard so that the world realizes that young people are truly involved and want drastic action on climate change now. Diana emphasized the immense potential of the World Wide Web, stating that about “25% of the world’s population is online”, opening up a new arena for campaigning platforms. For instance, twitter can be used to update the campaign supporter base and allows the people to be part of the campaign work on a daily basis. She encouraged the audience to be involved even if it is at a small local level “and be part of the global movement that demands action on climate change just now !”
Mischa Liatowitsch, Project Manager Youth Forum
The Rationale Behind the Youth Forum Young Adults 4 New Results
When Walter Fust approached me with the idea of a Youth Forum in the framework of the Global Humanitarian Forum, he described the younger generation with the words “action-oriented”. In fact, I think that the younger generation, my generation, is very well described by those words. They describe a generation that looks into the past and understands the mistakes that were made, however, is able to learn from those mistakes and transform the lessons learned into positive action for the future. Hence, the idea was not to organize a conventional youth conference, but a Youth Forum that reﬂects the spirit of this new generation, aiming at results and action. The title of the Youth Forum was meant to make this train of thought clear from the beginning: Young Adults 4 New Results. In order to put this concept into practice the inaugural Youth Forum of the Global Humanitarian Forum, which focused on youth action in relation to the human impact of climate change, was divided into three main parts. In the ﬁrst part, participants were inspired by different guest speakers and activities. After each guest speaker and activity, participants engaged in small scale brainstorming sessions, exchanging their thoughts and ideas. All the ideas and thoughts brought up during the brainstorming sessions were collected and stored in a computerized system. In the second part, participants had the chance to re-group and examine all the ideas collected during the previous brainstorming sessions. The groups were then asked to develop more concrete initiatives out of those raw ideas, initiatives which could potentially be implemented in the future by the participants themselves. In the ﬁnal part,
the young adults studied the newly developed initiatives, discussed them and voted for the ﬁve most interesting ones. The participants were then divided into ﬁve task-forces, one task-force for each of the ﬁve selected initiatives, with the aim to develop the initiatives further and implement them upon conclusion of the Youth Forum. Having witnessed the Youth Forum 2009 in its full length, I was impressed to see how the young adults participating at the event were eager not only to talk, but also to act. Eventually, the participants came up with ﬁve concrete initiatives, and a manifesto directed towards the forthcoming COP15 event, six results which clearly reﬂect the focus and the concerns of the young adults in regard to the human impact of climate change. The inaugural Youth Forum demonstrated that results can be achieved, even in a very short amount of time, and that this generation is extremely willing and determined to take lead in the efforts to solve the climate challenge.
Mischa Liatowitsch, Project Manager Youth Forum opening the Youth Forum 2009
Having the opportunity to have our voice heard, much like you’re doing today is fundamental to engendering change.
Jake Goodman United Kingdom
The Guest Speakers
Age : 24 Title/Position : Euro RSCG, Project Ofﬁcer
Jake Goodman, a 24 year old Project Ofﬁcer at Euro RSCG from England spoke to the young adults about the power and importance of advertising and communication in changing and inspiring consumer behavior and mobilizing youth. He spoke about how advertising and the right kind of communication can empower the public to tackle the climate crisis. In today’s world we are bombarded with messages either from the internet or mobile phones; and the manner in which this information is disseminated, changed and interpreted plays a key role in society. Jake used this in reference to the climate crisis, stating that one cannot simply shout out in urgency, but one also has to engage the public through dialogue and conversation. The power of communication lies with the people who then motivate TV advertising companies to be creative in spreading their message. The Global Humanitarian Forum’s Campaign on Climate Justice is geared towards empowering people and helping spread awareness about climate change. The campaign aims to publicly mobilize support for “a climate justice deal, something that beneﬁts all nations” and has its focal point geared towards Copenhagen this year. Organizations such as WWF, Oxfam and Greenpeace are all part of the campaign under the combined slogan “tck, tck, tck, time is running out”. The slogan plays a crucial role as it is a public symbol that people can engage with, leading to an effective dissemination. Jake also mentioned One Young World, a platform similar to the Youth Forum, where 1,500 young delegates who are representatives from different countries, chosen on their leadership qualities will discuss contemporary matters that are important to them. Jake spoke about the importance of the youth in such arenas as they come up with the “big ideas” without being constrained to any political agenda. The youth are the future and the ones who will live in this changing world. They need such forums to get the opportunity to speak to the world and then deliver the results to people who matter. “We all need to take positive action now to make change happen”.
The Idea Collection
The Event Part 1
Since the goal of the Youth Forum 2009 was to come up with and develop new ideas during the event, a tool was needed that is able to adapt conventional brainstorming sessions to the 21st century way of thinking, and extend the scale of such sessions to a mass audience of 100 people. Collaborating with Nextpractice, a company based in Germany that specializes in advanced ideageneration and collaboration, allowed the Youth Forum to establish a high-tech brainstorming method that raised the bar on average conference discussions. During the Youth Forum 2009, the Nextpractice team installed 40 laptops in an exclusive installation inside the big plenary room of the Centre de lâ€™Esperance. Through a computer network all 40 computers were interconnected and linked to a main screen in the plenary room. All the laptops were equipped with special software which allowed users to operate the computers in an easy and comprehensible manner. With the help of this innovative tool, following every guest speaker or activity at the Youth Forum 2009 the participants engaged in small scale brainstorming cycles. Guest speakers and activities served as food for thought, meant to inspire participants to come up with new ideas concerning youth action in regard to the human impact of climate change. During a ten minute brainstorming cycle, participants seated in front of laptops in teams of three were able to feed their ideas and thoughts directly into the system. The groups of three were provided ample opportunity to discuss with each other, prior to entering their thoughts and ideas into the system. Through the exclusively developed software participants could immediately see on their screens all the other ideas entered into the system by other teams. All ideas were immediately accessible for commenting, rating and linking.
It was impressive to see how fast the participants understood the brainstorming process and swamped the software with their ideas, thoughts and associations. After one and a half days, hundreds of ideas had been collected with the help of the software, setting a very crucial foundation for the second part of the inaugural Youth Forum: the idea development.
The Event Part 1 Jonathan, David and Aniket feeding their ideas into the brainstorming software
Conference Part 1
Brainstorming at the Youth Forum 2009
Collecting questions for a guest speaker
The Event Part 1
The Discussion Rounds Since the inspirational approach was crucial to the success of the brainstorming sessions, the participants listened to several guest speakers and engaged in different activities during the Youth Forum 2009. One of those activities was the Discussion Rounds on the “Human Impact of Climate Change”. Since young adults originating from numerous different countries were present at the Youth Forum 2009, many had something to say about their experiences, their observations or their work in regard to this topic. In the end, who indeed could have inspired the participants better than themselves? In ﬁve smaller group discussions participants had a chance to share their thoughts on the event’s topic with their fellow participants and get to know each other on a more personal level. What follows are a number of illustrative statements to recap the mood of the discussion rounds: Communities from Mandera-Kenya in October 2008 suffered a double misfortune. Yet to recover from a long spell of drought, they were faced with massive ﬂash ﬂoods that left a chronic humanitarian crisis in their wake. The long awaited rains had come to the region, but brought massive ﬂoods to the pastoralist inhabited communities whose livelihoods depend on livestock rearing. Mandera is located in the very north eastern part of Kenya, bordering Ethiopia and Somalia. It is a two day travel by road from Nairobi (capital city of Kenya) to Mandera (approx.1100 km). The capital city of Somalia, Mogadishu is about 400 km away. Sadly, Somalia is still in a state of anarchy, in bad conditions and very insecure with warlords contending for power. Mandera is
located in an area prone to drought. From late 2005, there has been a severe famine and until recently, as with the other areas of the North Eastern Province, Mandera was struck with sudden ﬂash ﬂoods. Fighting has also been reported in Gari hills—130 kilometres from Mandera—where four people are reported dead and four security ofﬁcers wounded in the clashes.
The Event Part 1
Matthew from Kenya
Fighting between the two pastoralist clans of Garre and Murule in the Mandera district broke out since early October as they sought access to pasture and water following the cumulative cyclic drought. The armed conﬂict was already hampering humanitarian efforts to distribute aid to victims of drought in the district. Ironically, Mandera district had been waiting for the rains since 2005, but when the rains came it was too much. It swept away houses and the few animals that had survived the drought, leaving a massive humanitarian crisis in its wake, displacing more than 10,000 people. Communities’ coping strategies are now becoming inadequate in light of the frequency and intensity of the hazards posed by climate, along with armed conﬂicts and the availability of small arms from the porous borders in the Horn of Africa. Matthew Kimaita (26, Kenya) When mentioning my personal experience of climate change, I ﬁrst recall my childhood in Beijing. When I was small, the four seasons were distinctive, but nowadays spring and autumn are basically gone. Summer and winter are the
The Event Part 1
dominating seasons and we no longer have a smooth transition between the two. There has also been an increase in the number of heat waves in the summer. Spring in Beijing often means the season of sand storms. Due to forests being cut down in provinces north to Beijing, the sand from Loess Plateau and Inner Mongolia etc gets carried southwards to cities like Beijing. In springtime, it is common for Beijingers to wake up in the morning and ﬁnd their newly washed cars covered in sand under the yellow sky, with children drawing pictures on the sand with their ﬁngers. People with respiratory difﬁculties like me ﬁnd it especially hard to cope with the air pollution. Sometimes I have to wear a mask when I go out, to avoid coughing and a runny nose due to the dust and particles in air. This phenomenon has gradually improved as the authorities become aware of the importance of the environment (esp. after the Olympics last year) and start restoring forests in many regions. Another thing that came into my mind is the Three Gorges Dam. It is a controversial project. In terms of clean energy generation and ﬂood control it is beneﬁcial. However, there are down sides in terms of the human aspect. When we talked about climate migrants in the Youth Forum, I kept thinking about the millions of people who had to leave home and move to other provinces because of the construction and operation of the Three Gorges Dam. They were not migrants forced by climate change itself, but because of actions taken to combat climate change. There are other severe ecological consequences associated with the Three Gorges Dam, such as water pollution and the loss of habitats for many endangered species etc. But of course any engineering project involves multi-criteria analysis, and there will always be beneﬁts and losses. Participants during the Discussion Rounds on the Human Impact of Climate Change
The Event Part 1
Different stakeholders will hold a different opinion on the project and it is hard to give an overall judgment based on any single criterion. Xixi Sun (20, China)
Xixi from China
After studying Arabic at university I moved to Yemen for two years, and found myself face to face with a modern problem - climate change - in the heart of the medieval city of Sana‘a. Yemen is a beautiful country at the southern tip of the Arabian peninsula, with a rich cultural history, stunning mountain and desert landscapes, and some of the most friendly and hospitable people in the world. However, it is also the poorest country in the Arab world and there are many social problems which are now being exacerbated by environmental degradation and climate change.
neighbourhood. This is now a regular occurrence in Sana‘a, which is predicted to be without water altogether in several years‘ time. It was quite difﬁcult to get used to this - difﬁcult at ﬁrst even to accept the fact that it was possible for the mains water system to have run out of water - but much harder for local families, like my neighbour who had seven children under the age of ten.
Kate from Great Britain
The farmers are also badly affected, as the growing season is becoming shorter. Yemen, a country which built the most impressive water system in the world three thousand years ago and was given the name of ‚Happy Arabia‘ for its green ﬁelds, is running out of both water and food. Families are large and most people struggle for survival on an everyday basis, but as the situation gets worse climate change could be the factor which pushes this beautiful country into civil war and collapse. Kate Kingsford (27, Great Britain)
Recently there have been notable changes in Yemen‘s climate, most importantly extended low temperature seasons and less rainfall; I was eagerly anticipating the ﬁrst rains in early March last year, as were the local farmers, but they did not come until late April. A UN report on climate change from the same year stated that „Yemen is particularly at risk because of its existing low income levels, rapidly growing population, and acute water shortage“. The aquifers which the country relies on for water are fast being exhausted, leaving the population wholly dependent on rains which are becoming increasingly unpredictable. The rain eventually came, but later that year my house in the centre of the capital city was without water for two months, as were all the houses in the
The Event Part 1
Nepal is not exempted of the global phenomenon of climate change. Nepal contributes 0.025% of annual greenhouse gas emissions, negligible in global terms. Unfortunately, Nepal is among those at the highest risk from climate change’s negative impacts due to its fragile mountain ecosystem and nature based subsistence livelihood. Additionally, Nepal’s vulnerability is increasing due to the absence of its capacities to cope with the climate challenge. The climate is not the only thing that is changing in Nepal. Climate change is making existing bad conditions worse. Increasing temperatures and changing patterns in precipitation and their cascading effects are making Nepal
The Event Part 1
environmentally insecure. It has been scientiﬁcally observed that temperature has increased more than the projected global average. It is an irony of fate that temperature has increased more in our higher elevations where the Himalayas are located, than in the plain areas.
in agriculture which has an impact on the health of pregnant women. All in all, climate change is a real challenge for Nepal.
Increasing temperatures in the Himalayas result in the shrinking of glaciers, creating and expanding glacial lakes, causing outburst ﬂooding which is one of the major aftermaths of climate change in Nepal. Many glacial lakes are on a dangerous level of outburst ﬂooding and many causalities and destruction of infrastructure have already been observed. The drinking water derived from the snow capped mountains is now going scarce due to climate change. The dry periods are getting drier and the wet periods become wetter, resulting in scarcity of water, ﬂooding and landslides. The government of Nepal declared an energy crisis in 2009 due to the lack of water for hydroelectricity generation, leading to a 20 hour power cut-off in a single day.
Climate change is real, undeniable and will, in one way or another, affect every human alive today, not to mention millions more who will be born in years to come. No doubt, drastic changes to our environment are more apparent, with weather changes further adding to vulnerability. This is having particularly damaging effects on developing countries in the south. My country, Kenya, is no stranger to the extremes of climate change, with the rise in temperatures and changes in precipitation already affecting biodiversity and people. Destruction of the Mau Forest Complex in Rift Valley remains a major issue as clearing of forests to allow human settlements and agriculture continue. This has reduced the largest water tower in the country to a mass of forest patches interspersed with human settlements, with serious implications on the ecosystem. After a period of prolonged drought, Mandera, in the north-east, has had to tackle soil erosion, ﬂooding and social conﬂicts caused by a struggle for natural resources- all of which have led to the loss of livelihoods, created food insecurity and the displacement of thousands. Overall, unmitigated climate change in Kenya is likely to have signiﬁcant negative socio-economic impacts on human livelihoods, availability of water and food, health, as well as tourism.
Climate can be a resource, as well as a hazard; the proportion varies from one country to another and one decade to the next. In the case of Nepal, climate is becoming less of a resource but is being more and more perceived as a hazard, due to the effects of climate change that are heavily impacting the poor and minority groups such as women and children. Because of climate change, people are forced to change the traditional agricultural system which leads to food insecurity; locals are forced to spend more time in the ﬁelds and less time at home. Children are prevented from going to school since they have to work in the ﬁeld as their fathers are not able to provide for their families anymore. Additionally, more chemical fertilizers and pesticides are being used
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Sundar Layalu (26, Nepal)
However there are solutions to this very real problem. As an individual country, Kenya and its citizens need to be conscious of the need for energy rather than easily opt for dirty energy, we should be demanding that foreign
Sundar from Nepal
Jyoti and Bremley listening to a personal statement during the discussion rounds
Margot facilitating a group discussion
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Roshni from Kenya
investors go there with the same criteria for development that exists in their own countries. There is no reason why foreign investors should make us continue to operate below standards in terms of emissions while they are cleaning up at home. This will require good governance and institutional change by a brave government with a long term vision. It is where institutions and laws are supposed to operate irrespective of the governing party. Further, while some effects of climate change are already being felt, it is imperative that governments and institutions come together to formulate long-term adaptation strategies, while building upon the adaptive capacities of communities locally. Within our own region lies the potential for genuine development and in this regard, developing countries in the South themselves need to ensure that regional integration efforts are intensiﬁed, supported by bilateral and multilateral cooperation. Long-term adaptation will also require international cooperation, especially the transfer of reliable ﬁnancing and technologies for adaptation to developing countries. Article 4.4 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) commits developed countries to assist developing countries (including through ﬁnancing) in adaptation activities. Article 4.5 on technology says that developed countries shall take practicable steps to promote, facilitate and ﬁnance, the transfer of, or access to, environmentally sound technologies and know-how to other Parties, particularly developing countries. To address the climate change crisis in a manner that allows for the sustainable development of developing countries, there is a need for the world’s wealthiest nations to make deep reductions in their greenhouse gas emission
levels. These levels should reﬂect their historical and current responsibility for such emissions so as to give developing countries a fair allocation of their carbon space, while also transferring ﬁnance and technologies to developing countries through appropriate structures under, and consistent, with the UNFCCC.
Roshni Dave (26, Kenya)
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We have to prevent these massive ships from harvesting the last resources ! The idea of our project was really to show this is what could happen, this is a worst case scenario where everyone looks out for themselves and they compete with each other. So let us work together and ﬁnd a solution together.
André Schmid and Jonathan Nestler Germany
The Guest Speakers
Age : 26, 27 Title : Architects, Snoozeplan.com
Jonathan Nester and André Schimd are architects and the founders of the project “Trawling City”. These young, impassioned German natives are students in architecture at the Technical University Braunschweig. Their joint project, the “Trawling city” is focused on urban planning and experimental design which proposes an entire city run from wind, sun and under-water rotors. Current warming trends are inﬂuencing the global ocean currents, as polar ice caps melt the salt water content is not high enough to allow the water to sink and ﬂow southwards, hence potentially stopping the Gulf Stream and its warming inﬂuence. André spoke of this effect on future ocean currents and the possibility of disappearance of major coastal cities. This sparked their idea for a mega city that “is just ﬂoating around”, a city that is self sustaining with a solar roof, wind rotors, suction devices and drills to extract any resources it can ﬁnd. The project was built with an extreme dystopian view, but the young architects still kept in mind its feasibility and classic urban planning. Due to the amount of limited resources today, André stated that the sea bottom was the next source for extraction, this led them to come up with the name of the “Trawling city”, drawing the analogy to ﬁshing trawlers who harvest with large nets under the sea without considering their impacts on the environment. A desperate search for new resources in the future has already begun as with the North Pole where countries such as Russia, Norway, Denmark, USA and Canada are claiming that the polar regions are part of their land in order to extract potential resources there. Jonathan and André ended by clarifying that the “Trawling City” offers a “worst case scenario” to drive the urgency needed to work together to tackle the climate crisis and bring about much needed political will.
The Interreligious Panel Since climate change is a global challenge, severely impacting people from different countries, cultur es and religions, it also requires for its resolution a global effort. Focusing on the human impact of climate change, the aim of the interreligious panel was to illustrate how young people from differe nt cultural backgrounds deal with this cha llenge, learning about their difference s and their similarities. The panel brought together you ng people from different spiritual backgrounds to discuss why in the ir view it is a religious or an ethical dut y to counter the adverse effects of clim ate change. Moderated by the Youth Forum 2009’s main moderator Nat, the pan ellists explained, discussed and debate d how their beliefs are connected to the battle against climate change.
pre Noam, Jewish re
rah, explanation to the To an is ich wh , sh ra id e story “The M by rabbis, tells us th o ag s ar ye 00 20 er written ov the Garden around the trees in of God who led Adam works, how id to Adam: ‘See My of Eden. And God sa at I have they are? And all th hy rt wo se ai pr d an you do not good But be mindful that u! yo r fo e ad m I d, ere is create for if you spoil it, th rld wo y m y ro st de d spoil an repair it!’ ” no one after you to
Susanne, Christian representa
The In terrelig ious Pan el
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“There is a human r members ight fo or a health of future g ye enerations born they ! When futu nvironment for hold a full re persons mo which shou are ld be respe ral status and a set cted. As su of interests duties on o ch, , th course the er people not to harm these interests gene se interests rate th e se inter can be jeop previous g enerations ardized als ests. Now of an o by mem the memb bers of ers of prev d it would be impla u iou sible to sa honour the y that se vital inte s generations are no t duty bou rests. In th unjust bec nd to ause it vio is sense cli lates hum mate chan future gen an rights h erations. T eld by mem ge is herefore, w contribute bers of e are mor to climate ally oblige change.” d to not
Noam, N oam, JJewish ewish rrepresentative epresentative Mehmed, Muslim representative to separate “ y refusing “B prenature, Islam humanity from l view of the unigra serves an inte ine the flow of div es se d l verse an ra smic and natu co e th in ce a in gr y ions, especiall order. Our act ave h t, en vironm en e th to rd rega ave to ate since we h to be consider ror ir m nature as a contemplate igher reality.” reflecting a h
senta e r p e r u Hind
est hich is b w , a s im a Ah traint‘, is y it word s r e k ’r s n r a o S “The robabl iolence’ s ‘non-v t in Hinduism, p e by Maa d e t a l trans concep ary us portant volution that one has very im n through its re s pt mean w wever best kno ndhi. This conce man beings, ho e a hu of th hatma G and protect all ements l e r e h t t c o God’s d to respe en to be lants an k p a t , s e l r a to a also anim nt, all of which erious challenge are s c environm concept poses a Bombay, where in h s is g a h u T h o c . h t su body pant. Al s India, n cities, m ia a r d n s I n r majo tion ru eaching s in a ide pollu logical t bon diox pired by its eco d these teaching ins nore ot fol general st, has ig has certainly n e w e h t ion. It such as dernizat f restraint.” o m o t h ao rus dhi’s ide n a G d e low
The Idea Development
One and a half days into the Youth Forum 2009, hundreds of ideas had been collected and stored, originating from the previous brainstorming cycles. Nextpractice and the organizers of the Youth Forum 2009 then took a comprehensive look at all the stored ideas and allocated them into sixteen subcategories. The categories were intended to further facilitate the development of the raw ideas.
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Participants received sufﬁcient time to analyze the sixteen subcategories in order to pick one or several ideas and develop them further into a more concrete initiative. With a variety of creative material at their disposition, the teams were asked to follow a guided template in order to develop their initiative. The template’s guidelines asked participants to elaborate on the goals of their initiative, the stakeholders involved, how to implement the initiative, the ﬁnancing needed, the resources necessary, and how to evaluate the initiative including any potential obstacles ahead.
ten most popular initiatives. This step allowed the participants to develop a comprehensive picture about the ten initiatives, preparing them to vote for the ﬁnal ﬁve.
The Pretty Close Ones Since many of the participants came up with fairly innovative and practical initiatives, a number are worth mentioning that did not make it to the ﬁnal ﬁve, but were pretty close:
After the teams had a chance to further develop the raw ideas into initiatives, all the teams entered their information into the computer network, making all the developed initiatives visible to all participants. Participants were then asked to rate the different initiatives from 1-10, identifying the ten most popular initiatives.
One of those initiatives is the Youth Representatives in Ofﬁcial Committees Initiative. It aims to empower young people to gain access to ofﬁcial committees, as full members of those committees, to voice their opinions on a higher level and introduce fresh ideas into the resolution of climate issues. The initiative foresees to create a system of selection of talented, motivated young people (a sort of talent pool), from which suitable youth candidates are given the chance of participating as full delegates in ofﬁcial committees, like for example the UNFCCC. The idea is to link various higher educational institutes (like universities) in the initiative, so that in the end youth have an easier access to decision making processes, where they can apply positive and young attributes, such as idealism, motivation, out-of-the-box thinking, and unbiased points of view, and therefore achieving long-term goals by breaking the cycle of pragmatism.
Next, participants had the opportunity to take a critical look at the ten best rated initiatives and come up with questions and critique them. During the heated debate that followed, participants challenged the founders of the
Another interesting initiative is the Interreligious Leaders Initiatives. For many people worldwide, the contents (beliefs and practices) of their respective religion are very central to their way of life. In many regions of the world,
Participants feeding their initiatives into the software
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Gerardo, Rebecka and Caroline discussing their developed initiative
religions play a key role in societies and enable outreach. Religious leaders have a great amount of power and are revered by their followers. If climate change can be addressed from a religious point of view, religious people could embrace these messages. The initiative intends to form an interreligious committee that educates theologians about climate change and its impact on societies, and permits them to study how their respective holy scriptures are related to the topic. Already existing websites and committees should be integrated in this larger organization. Religious leaders should then be taught how to address
climate change in their congregations and educated religious teachers should be encouraged to teach children in religious schools about climate change from secular and spiritual-religious perspectives. Another initiative developed during the Youth Forum 2009 was the Party Train Initiative. Young people do not use long distance trains any more, as air travel takes much less time. To counter this, it is crucial to convince people that they do not waste their time in the trains just sitting around and doing nothing.
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Participants outlining their initiative in the backyard of the Centre de lâ€™Esperance
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In order to become an attractive means of transportation, young people must be convinced to do something “cool” by taking the train. This goal will be achieved by making the time in the train more enjoyable. Single coaches will be transformed to meeting places such as bars, cinemas or discos. By doing so, young people can mix with like-minded people and make long-standing friendships during the travel time. This added value leads to an understanding that climate friendly action and partying do not exclude each other. The party trains could run every weekend to any major destination. This idea could also be adapted for other purposes, e.g. for business travellers. Train companies could offer special business trains with wireless internet access and large working spaces.
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A last, very practical initiative that was developed is the Cleasing Initiative. The initiative foresees investment in energy saving technologies, ﬁnanced by credit paid off through future savings in energy bills (leasing). The initiative is a win-win situation for consumers, credit providers, technology producers, and the community and environment at large. The idea is to target banks in order to persuade them to develop speciﬁc ﬁnancial leasing schemes. These ﬁnancial schemes shall enable households to invest in energy saving technologies. The bank provides a credit to households, which enables the acquisition and installation of energy saving technologies. Households will pay off the credit (including interest rate) with the money they save by using less energy. For less pricy products (e.g. light bulbs) the credit could be given by cell phone providers. The credit would then be paid off through the phone bill. Considering the example of the light bulb, a consumer could for instance pay 2 US dollars at the moment of purchase, and 6 x 1 US dollar in the upcoming months through the phone bill. Participants agreeing on the key points of their initiative
I think it’s important for everyone here to ﬁnd their niche and work hard. When people see that you’re doing things, maybe it’s not the ﬁrst idea that will be your big breakthrough, but bit by bit you gain your credibility, you get your support, and eventually you will succeed.
Katarzyna Okinczyc Poland
The Guest Speakers
Age : 30 Title : Designer, Founder of 60bag
After having ﬁnished her master’s in industrial design at the University of Berlin, Katarzyna Okinczyc, a Polish native, became an independent designer and developed a biodegradable carrier called 60BAG. Common polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastics are non-sustainable and degrade very slowly. Starch based plastic bags partly degrade but also have a greenhouse gas effect in the production process, and are highly costly to recycle. 60BAG offers a solution; it is made out of ﬂax-viscose non-woven material, allowing the product to naturally decompose sixty days upon disposal. Katarzyna stressed the need to be conscious about the materials we use and the method in which a product is produced, which was the main driver for her innovative creation. The young designer began her journey with her ﬁrst project entitled Bannerina, an attempt to recycle PVC plastic banners into lamps. The banner mesh material is rigid and allows light to pass through making it ideal as recycled lamp shades. Katarzyna also spoke of her project on social sustainability called Dogenvol which takes the vanishing traditional craft of Polish crystal glass manufacturing to create contemporary pieces such as a crystal usb key hub. The brand and its products were well received in Germany, giving Katarzyna the deserved credibility for 60BAG and leading to much needed support from sponsors. To ﬁnish her presentation, the designer emphasized the need for high quality and highly durable materials as it is essential to create a less wasteful society. Katarzyna ended the presentation on an encouraging note wishing the young audience all the success for their endeavors towards a better future and positive change.
The UNFCCC Simulation by Diel Wter Prident GIMUN
As an attempt to decide upon an effective follow-up agreement of the Kyoto Protocol, the COP 15 in Copenhagen in December 2009 constitutes an important opportunity to establish a fair and just framework for addressing climate change internationally. As a part of the UNFCCC, the road to Copenhagen is marked with uncountable negotiation rounds between the member states of that treaty. As a focus of the Youth Forum 2009, the idea was to sensitize the participants about the underlying difficulties in effective decision-making within the UN and in regard to the upcoming COP 15 in Copenhagen. For this purpose, during an entire afternoon at the Youth Forum 2009 participants engaged in a UNFCCC simulation, facilitated by Geneva International Model United Nations.
with four National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPA) climate projects of different amplitudes and goals and concerning different locations. NAPA projects are financed through the Adaptation Fund, which was established after the negotiation of the Kyoto Protocol in order to support concrete adaptation projects having a positive impact on the climate. The maximum amount at disposition to the “Youth Forum diplomats” to finance the projects was 25 million US dollars, allowing them to pick and assemble different combinations of the NAPA projects available, excluding the support of all four projects at once. The projects to choose from included a flood prevention project in Bangladesh, a coastal protection project in the Maldives, and anti-erosion project in Rwanda and an irrigation project in Sudan.
Taking on the role of a delegate from a UNFCCC member state other than the participants’ origin, the young adults simulated a session of the UNFCCC. The delegates were presented
Often diplomatic conferences have a pre-determined outcome, taking into consideration the topic and the delegations present. Sometimes however, these outcomes are very tough to
predict, given that discussions within committees can highly depend on the character of the debate and the arguments and speeches certain members deliver. Therefore, for the simulation at the Youth Forum 2009, four identical committees were established, discussing the same topic, so that conclusions could be drawn from the differences of the debates and outcomes. For practical reasons the committees were simplified, meaning that every committee only included 12 member states (as opposed to 192) and the duration of discussion was limited to two and a half hours. In the end, the projects accepted were similar in all four committees, however, the discussions and the arguments brought forward differed from committee to committee. All of the groups opted for the NAPA project in Bangladesh and were then left with the choice to support a combination of other projects, always respecting the 25 million US dollars cap.
Bangladesh | Sudan |
As described earlier, the arguments, speaking skills and experience of the different delegates, as well as how they can be influenced by others, shapes the opinion shifting it one way or another. This was indeed one of the intended lessons of the simulation at the Youth Forum 2009: diplomacy is no exact science. For example, while Group 4 very clearly opted for Bangladesh instead of the Maldives; Group 3 only narrowly passed the same decision.
10 8 6
To explain the development of each committeeâ€™s discussion would be a very complex task, going beyond the scope of this report. However, looking at the different sessions, a few interesting observations can be mentioned. First, Group 3
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Graph1 shows the results of the different committees as well as the majority needed for every decision.
had a very strong delegate of AOSIS (Alliance of Small Island States) in favour of the Maldives project. At the beginning of the discussion there were no other delegations than the ones of South Africa and AOSIS in favour of the Maldives project as opposed to the Bangladesh one. After about one hour of discussions, the AOSIS delegate made a very appealing speech, outlining, that all of the inhabitants of the Maldives would have to leave their homes if the sea level rises. Other countries would have to harbour the climate refugees who have been driven from their homelands although they are not responsible for their situation. In the end, the AOSIS delegation was able to win over three votes and thus almost turned the committee in favour of the Maldives project. Second, in three of the four groups delegates made the same arguments against the Sudan project. In each case a western delegation opposed the Sudanese regime, reasoning that the political situation in Sudan was
not stable enough to invest in any sort of projects. The unrest would simply cancel the positive effects of the projects and the money invested. To conclude, the simulation illustrated that a very simple case of four projects with only twelve members per committee, and a very clear set-up concerning the benefits of the different projects, still leads to more than two hours of discussion in order to decide exactly what has been predicted. One can imagine with this experience in mind, how long and complicated discussions at previous and upcoming COPs must have been and will be, and come to the conclusion: politicians must be urged wherever and whenever possible to take immediate and decisive action, for climate change is a pressing issue which needs more political will to be combated and is not an area for political games.
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The Final Five
Once the participants had familiarised themselves with the ten most popular initiatives, they voted for the top ﬁve initiatives in a ﬁnal election. Participants were asked to select those ﬁve initiatives they wanted to further conceptualise and implement upon conclusion of the Youth Forum 2009. Through the help of the computer software the ﬁnal ﬁve were selected within minutes. As the ﬁnal initiatives existed so far only in theory, it was crucial to encourage the participants to implement them upon conclusion of the event, respecting the overall action-oriented approach of the inaugural Youth Forum.
1. The ﬁrst initiative entitled Radio Information for Women and Children Initiative proposes story-based programmes by and for women, to raise awareness on the human impact of climate change in West Africa. TV is too expensive for the average family and radio is a very prominent communication tool in West Africa, especially due to a strong oral tradition. In villages across West Africa, people will gather around the radio to listen to their favourite programmes also making it an effective education tool. Africa has a high rate of illiteracy, and radio technology offers a means of communication that can be extended to all sectors of West African society. The initiative targets empowerment of women who are powerful communicators and key players within the local community. The use of radio technology involves participation of the entire community, and allows sharing of information with local experts and the public all while respecting the language, tradition, and cultural and religious beliefs. It aims to change people’s behaviour using local and expert knowledge while disseminating the information in an entertaining and educational manner, such as through storytelling.
In order to assure the further development and implementation of the ﬁve selected initiatives following the Youth Forum 2009, ﬁve task-forces were created, one task-force for each ﬁnal initiative. Participants were free to decide which task-force they wanted to join, allowing them to be part of the initiative they thought they could most contribute to. The newly created task-forces, each consisting of 15 to 25 participants, were then asked to sit together and come up with a realistic implementation plan for their initiative. The task was to create a presentation in which the most crucial points of the initiative, the road map ahead and the assignments of the different task-force members during the next months were visible. In a ﬁnal step, two members of each task-force introduced their implementation plan to the rest of the participants, presenting what they have achieved during the three days, and the path ahead.
2. The second initiative is the Raising Climate Change Awareness in Primary Schools Initiative. This initiative foresees the implementation of workshops, run by volunteers, in primary schools in the developing world. It further encourages schools to found climate change clubs, launch art projects and create incentives for sustainable behaviour among students. The initiative is a human-centred approach to environmental education. Its mission is to raise global understanding of climate change by educating primary school children worldwide which will be implemented by making climate change education part
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A task-force getting prepared for the presentation of their initiative
of the school curricula. The initiative will raise awareness on climate change and restore a sense of nature’s importance, such as by planting a ‘school tree’. It will promote environmental responsibility and a sustainable way of life, encouraged by rewarding sustainable behaviour, e.g. giving out “green badges” or discounts for books, stationary, etc. Green games can be proposed such as “Greenopoly”, a board game similar to the “Wildlife” game by WWF. The initiative will also educate and inspire regional volunteers who will then run the school workshops. Each initiative should be adapted to every country speciﬁcally and coordinate with other similar projects within the region. Moreover, the content will link to the reality of each school child’s day-to-day life and environment. The Raising Climate Change Awareness in Primary Schools Initiative believes in beginning at the local level, creating local programs with local partners to create global results. 3. The third initiative is based on algae-based biofuel entitled Alternative Green Algae Based Energy Initiative. This initiative aims to harness the same beneﬁts of fossil fuels without the harmful effects from its combustion. The by-product of algae-based biofuel is a protein rich biomass that can be used as animal fodder, fertilizer and even as a protein rich supplement for human consumption. The entire process from cultivation, extraction of fuel, transportation and use in engines of the biofuel is carbon neutral. The algae-based system targets a production system that utilises desert like environments, salt water and carbon dioxide. This will enable the empowerment of poor, local communities by giving them the opportunity to participate in the supply chain of a self-sustaining renewable energy. By creating and later providing them with infrastructure, the local communities will then be able to exploit and eventually Nelly wrapping up the preparation session of her task-force
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Aniket sharing his views on the Alternative Green Algae Based Energy Initiative
manage all the resources needed for the initiative, providing economic prosperity for some of the least developed regions of the world. The initiative aims to expand the existing prototype on a global scale in Sub-Saharan Africa, parts of the Middle East, and desert regions of Australia and put in place a global production and supply chain of algae based biofuel that will cater to about 50% of the transportation needs by 2030. Alternative Green Algae Based Energy is a global initiative combating the cause of climate change and not its symptoms. Most of all it is a clean, cheap, abundant and renewable energy for all.
4. The fourth initiative called the Seeds of Change Initiative aims to encourage public demand to switch to a 100% green energy electricity plan by liaising with the “Seeds of Change” team. Green energy is a growing product as an alternative to the world’s high dependence on non-renewable fossil fuel energy. However in many countries it is still very inconvenient to change an electricity plan as it involves in-depth research and administrative and bureaucratic obligations. The consumer would submit her or his minimal contact details to a website and the “Seeds of Change” team would arrange all matters with the electricity retailer until the signing of the contract. By educating the population on renewable energy plans and by showing them the beneﬁts of sustainable living, Seeds of Change believes it can change consumer behaviour and increase the use of renewable energy. This can be done by inspiring new “eco-consumers” and by expanding the already existing community engaged in sustainable living. It aims to reach electricity retailers to switch to more green energy plans. The Seeds of Change Initiative believes in the power of the community and that small changes allow for a ripple effect to unite a group of people geared towards sustainable living. 5. Last but not least is the IDEAS Initiative. This initiative comprises the creation and management of an e-platform to realize solutions for alternative development pathways. The initiative proposes to provide a space for the Youth Forum participants to collaborate on project ideas, whether these are the initiatives developed during the Youth Forum 2009 or new projects. This allows participants to work together to make these initiatives happen, to ﬁnd the relevant expertise across different sectors, and to help point people in the right direction for funding, resources and contacts. IDEAS aims to increase
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global connectivity through knowledge sharing on South-South, North-North as well as North-South axes through the creation of an e-platform. The youth are the innovative leaders of the future and play a key role in implementing whatever agreement is made in Copenhagen. COP15 is a critical and strategic demonstration of the leadership necessary leading to a powerful global deal. IDEAS Initiative aims to foster the momentum and awareness for youth projects generated by a COP 15 side event to drive future entrepreneurial projects to reaching the end of the pipeline. It aims to give young adults, who are involved in the climate/sustainability arena, the channels to work cross sector and reach critical partners and champions who are vital to move projects through the pipeline. The e-platform will build on the awareness and excitement raised from the COP 15 event, by providing a framework for young agents to ensure that the best project ideas are realised. It will ensure a long term pipeline of projects from young adults to tackle climate issues, integrating scientiﬁc and different sectoral knowledge into the project development phase to ensure the mistakes of yesterday are not repeated today. Taking a closer look at the ﬁnal ﬁve initiatives, it becomes evident which issues regarding the human impact of climate change were of most signiﬁcance to the participants. It is striking to see that a general lack of climate change awareness among the public worries many young people. Thus, empowerment of climate change awareness programs was a priority for many participants, as this is seen as the ﬁrst step to tackle the problem, and a means for affected communities to adapt to climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions the main cause for climate change, are also a major concern to many young adults. Seen clearly as the root problem to the climate crisis, Gerardo, Ren-Yi and Sandra sharing an amusing moment
Sundus bringing her ideas to the table
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many cannot imagine an end to the suffering of people impacted by climate change without ďŹ rst and foremost, a massive mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. Finally, maybe astonishing to some considering the range of information technology available today, many participants feel that there are still not enough platforms and forums where young adults can voice their opinions about climate change, connect with like-minded young people and coordinate youth action in this regard.
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As the Youth Forum 2009 neared to an end, the general mood of the participants was very mixed. Most had a positive outlook, bearing in mind the realities of our time, some tended to be euphoric, and others fairly pessimistic. However, there were a few things that all of the participants had in common after the three days: the belief that young people can contribute to solving the current climate challenge, the conviction that young people have to contribute to solving the current climate challenge, and the feeling that a substantial foundation has been built during the Youth Forum 2009 for the way forward.
Darren presenting the Seeds of Change Initiative
To me, the human face of climate change has multiple proﬁles ; we are both victims and perpetrators.
Margot Hill nd a rl e z it w S , m o d g in K d e Unit
The Guest Speakers
Age : 27 Title : PhD student, Climate Change and Climate Impacts
Margot is a Swiss PhD student with British roots, studying in the Research Group on Climate Change and Climate Impacts at the University of Geneva. Previous to her PhD she received her MSc in Environmental Technology at Imperial College London. Margot’s PhD is looking into the impacts of climate change on water resources in vulnerable mountainous regions as “more than half the world’s population depends directly on mountain watersheds for food, energy, sanitation and drinking.” Since pursuing her master’s and PhD studies she has witnessed the growing body of evidence of climate change predictions and exponential growth in the awareness and acceptance on climate based issues. Margot spoke on the alarming current trends such as the melting Himalayan glaciers upon which 40% of the world’s population rely on for water resources, and the increasing number of glacial lake outburst ﬂooding threatening the surrounding populations. A further concern poses the stark impacts of the melting permafrost on infrastructure and biodiversity. Margot emphasized the need to start talking about climate change in a holistic and interconnected way, saying that “we need to see the underlying effects which are the main cause for social injustice and environmental injustice in the world”. Additionally, the effects of climate change exacerbate existing pressures such as climate migration, food security, health and conﬂict over resources. It is now evident that climate change is increasing at an alarming rate with more serious weather events occurring more frequently, yet Margot stressed the need for a paradigm shift which can be reinforced by positive imagery on environmental change. We need to see “the limits of the system upon which our lives are reliant” and no longer see them as “constraints to development, but as the key to meeting development aims”. Margot clariﬁed that her presentation was an overview to give the participants an integrated and comprehensive view on the climate challenge, to give them the analytical tools which are vital to craft solutions to this issue. Finishing with a clear message to the global leaders of today Margot stated: “For the older generations who are happy to hand over their legacy of pollution, destruction, inaction and inequity to us and to tomorrow’s child, I would say –‘if you are not willing to lead, then get out of the way’ – because I believe we are.”
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The Climate Agents
Conference Part 1
In order to carry the spirit of the Youth Forum 2009 to a high-level audience, the Global Humanitarian Forum selected seven participants during the closing ceremony of the Youth Forum 2009, who received the opportunity to represent the youth event at the 2009 Forum, the annual centrepiece event of the Global Humanitarian Forum, chaired by Koﬁ Annan.
The chosen “Climate Agents” reﬂected the multicultural composition of the Youth Forum 2009: Emanuel from Sweden, Folachade from Benin, Javier from Chile, Margot from Switzerland, Peter from Kenya, Shruthi from India and Sundus from Yemen. With only a few days time to come up with a presentation for the 2009 Forum, the Climate Agents were expected to start a creative process and come up with an authentic presentation for the 2009 Forum which reﬂects the hopes, concerns and expectations of these young people in regard to climate change. John Martin, founder of the London based PAN Centre for Intercultural Arts, counsellor and mentor to the Agents, facilitated the creative process with his extensive stage experience. It was inspiring to see how well the Climate Agents worked together and how this group of seven individuals with very different backgrounds evolved not only into a uniﬁed team, but also into an almost inseparable circle of friends in just a few days. In a special session designated to the representatives of the Youth Forum, the Agents’ hard work ﬁnally paid off when they had the chance to present their performance in front of a high level audience, among those present were President José-Ramos Horta of Timor-Leste, Prince Albert of Monaco, and Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein of Jordan. A few quotes illustrate the character of their performance: The Climate Agents performing at the 2009 Forum
Today, we want you to come on a journey with us, because we need you, we need your experience. And we think you need a little bit of us too. I think you need our energy, you need our enthusiasm and you need our imagination. Margot Hill (27, Switzerland) I could tell you today how angry my generation is at the older generation’s inaction. But we are not here for that. We want to invite you to join us! We want to invite you to move forward with us, to move forward with us instead of looking backwards ! Javier Quero Guerra (25, Chile) 20% for 2020, 30% for 2050? No, this is not the ground reality. This is not the reality for a simple young person like me. Even companies use it as a marketing scheme: 2% for renewable energy, 8% for solar energy. We don’t want a soup of percentages! Stop looking at the 8% and start looking at the 92% and how we can turn that into something positive! If you are still so keen on giving us numbers, then please, give us a 100%. Shruthi Shivabasavaiah (24, India) At the Youth Forum, I saw new initiatives, new ideas, which all were practical, realistic and proﬁtable for both ﬁnancial, social and ecological
success. In only three days! You had more time then we had, you have more expertise then we do! Sundus Aladooﬁ (22, Yemen) If we manage to bring to people living in remote areas information about climate change in their local language, then they will understand that climate change is not happening because gods or ancestors are angry with them, but they will understand what the real problem is and how they can cope with it. This is what the Radio Information Initiative that we developed at the Youth Forum is about. Folachade Bello (23, Benin) From guiding ideas follow our actions. It is incredibly important for us to recognize that some of our past guiding ideas, and therefore also our actions, have been ﬂawed. But as we recognize the relationship between our guiding ideas and our actions, an opportunity for change emerges. Emanuel Gävert (26, Sweden) If we want to solve the climate change crisis, the older generation, the younger generation, myself and all of us need to come together and ﬁght climate change tooth and nail! Peter Gichuki (28, Kenya)
Peter and Javier let the audience of the 2009 Forum know that they are serious about climate change
Folachade advocates radio as a communication tool to raise awareness about climate change at the 2009 Forum
The visit at the 2009 Forum gave the Agents the chance to spread the message of the inaugural Youth Forum and to directly interact with people they normally only see on television and in the newspapers. Since their presentation at the 2009 Forum was very well received, the Climate Agents, motivated to spread the spirit of the inaugural Youth Forum, will present their performance at other international conferences throughout the year.
The Carbon Neutral Dance Usually, conferences create an overwhelming amount of waste, often raising eyebrows, questioning its real worth. As an attempt to counter this trend, the Youth Forum 2009 aimed to keep its carbon footprint at a minimum. However, certain factors such as minimum energy consumption, minimum water consumption and minimum waste of creative material were hard to curb entirely. Additionally, although the participants of the Youth Forum 2009 were encouraged to offset their ďŹ‚ights, not all the participants could follow the advice due to the cost that comes with it. Therefore, in order to offset those carbon emissions that were still ďŹ guring in the balance sheet of the event, a special side event called the Carbon Neutral Dance was organized at the end of the inaugural Youth Forum to celebrate the offsetting of the entire youth event. The Carbon Neutral Dance is a concept developed by Worldview Impact which organizes social events where money is raised for climate mitigating projects, promoting the values of sustainable and eco-friendly living. As a farewell party of the Youth Forum 2009Â the Carbon Neutral Dance completed the offsetting of the entire youth event and Worldview Impact was able to plant 100 rubber trees in one of their plantations in India, naming each rubber tree after a participant of the Youth Forum 2009. The rubber tree plantations will help to mitigate harmful greenhouse gases while creating green and sustainable jobs in India.
A rubber tree planted in India by Worldview Impact in order to offset the Youth Forum 2009
Conference Part 1
After having united 100 young adults from over 40 nationalities for the Youth Forum 2009 in Geneva, having received attention in local and international media and having been able to present immediate results of the event, we can say that the Youth Forum 2009 was a real success. Moreover, the live streaming of the entire Youth Forum 2009, the distribution of the Copenhagen Manifesto and the performance of the Climate Agents helped spread the spirit of the three days further in time and space, encouraging young adults from all over the globe to voice their opinion and act. Yet, to fully reach the goal of the inaugural Youth Forum a very crucial step still lies ahead of the 100 participants. The goal of the Youth Forum 2009 was to come up with new initiatives, develop them and eventually implement them. To achieve this goal, the ﬁve task-forces have been created, encouraging the young adults to work on the established initiatives in teams. Further, as explained in a previous chapter, an e-Community was developed prior to the youth event, allowing the task-force members to stay in contact and develop, coordinate and implement the initiatives during the time ahead. The success of the developed initiatives lies very much in the hands of the participants, depending on the effort and the commitment the task-forces reveal in the coming months. The Global Humanitarian Forum’s Youth Focal Point will closely monitor the different initiatives and remain in contact with the task-forces. If the initiatives develop into a positive and feasible direction, the Global Humanitarian Forum will also consider to support the task-forces, be it through connecting them with networks, offering them counselling or assisting them ﬁnancially. Only time will tell how the ﬁve initiatives will evolve and it will be interesting to see at what stage the different projects will be one year after their initiation, at the Youth Forum 2010. Participants being encouraged to implement the initiatives in the follow-up period of the Youth Forum 2009
The Youth Forum doesn’t end as soon as you walk out the door tomorrow ! Take those ideas and create a youth movement. You have all this passion, so take it outside, take it to your friends, take it to your families, take it to the countries where you are from !
Moyenda Chaponda e w b a b im Z , m o d g in K d Unite
The Guest Speakers
Age : 29 Title : Project Coordinator, Global Humanitarian Forum
Moyenda Chaponda, a 29 year old British citizen with Zimbabwean roots, is part of the Global Humanitarian Forum’s Weather Info for All Initiative (WIFA). WIFA is an innovative public-private partnership that strives to support adaptation to climate change worldwide by ﬁlling the existing ground level weather observation gap. The initiative promotes the mass deployment of automatic weather stations (AWSs) and the delivery of accurate weather forecasts and early warnings via mobile short message service (SMS) to those worst affected by and most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The WIFA project was conceptualized as an adaptation strategy to climate change during the ﬁrst Annual Forum of the Global Humanitarian Forum in 2008 with the aim to install 5000 automatic weather stations at new and existing mobile network sites across Africa. Nineteen weather stations have been installed so far around the Lake Victoria region in Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi. These sites provide all preconditions for the deployment of automatic weather stations: power, connectivity, maintenance and security. The automatic weather stations collect raw data and mobile phone network operators offer sponsored bandwidth for the transmission of data from the weather stations to the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs). The NMHSs collect, analyze and model the raw data and produce a weather product in the form of a weather prediction or early warning. To bring the weather information to the community or village level, the local mobile network operators and content providers, in cooperation with NMHSs, disseminate the weather information and related products to end users via SMS. The Weather Info for All Initiative provides a practical solution to enable those worst affected by climate change to better adapt to its consequences. This Initiative will contribute to increasing agricultural productivity, limiting the spread of climate sensitive diseases, and allowing for better preparedness and improved recovery following extreme weather events. Moyenda ended his speech emphasizing the passion, creativity and the ambition of the youth and reminded the participants that the initiatives created at the Youth Forum 2009 could reach the same scope as the WIFA project did, if they put enough hard work and effort into them.
The Copenhagen Manifesto
We the young adults demand that:
During the last afternoon of the Youth Forum 2009 the participants drafted in a common effort the Copenhagen Manifesto, a document stating the young adultsâ€™ demands and expectations towards the representatives of their home countries at the COP 15. Expressing the participantsâ€™ concerns and hopes about the high-level meeting, the Youth Forum 2009â€™s Copenhagen Manifesto should be received as a legacy of the Youth Forum 2009.
2. Developed countries have to support developing countries to adapt climate change impacts and must create an effective renewable energy development fund.
1. The leaders of nations and organizations no longer justify emissions FDXVHGE\WKHLUDFWVEXWDFWIRUWKHEHQHĂ€WRIDOO
3. Climate refugees must be given the same legal status as any other refugee. . 4. Climate awareness must be a part of every school curriculum. 5. Negotiations should be viewed through collaborative online media, to create complete transparency and openness. 6. It be a human right not to suffer from climate change related disasters. 7. There be pressure on countries to meet their Kyoto commitments and that the Copenhagen agreement should drive fundamental systemic change. 8. The Copenhagen conference must result in an agreement that addresses the needs of ALL. 9. We all move beyond self-interested concepts of nationalism to an integrated vision of one system: earth.
C Con Conference on o nfe fer ferenc eren ence enc Pa Par Partt 1
On 17 June Koﬁ Annan, President of the Global Humanitarian Forum, visited the Youth Forum 2009 as a surprise guest and addressed the young adults with a personal speech, concluding his visit with a question and answer session. Mr Annan opened with the following comments: “You are now asserting yourselves, you are asserting your leadership. You are going to be the leaders of the 21st century and you have perhaps already decided that my generation has failed you. Let me ﬁrst welcome you all to Geneva and say how happy I am that you are here, energetically discussing these issues and generating ideas as to what should be done. When we ﬁrst thought of the Global Humanitarian Forum and looked at the issues we should focus on, we looked at all sorts of things – should we focus on traditional humanitarian issues, should we focus on migrants and refugees and see what we can do to make humanitarian work much more effective and efﬁcient? But we quickly came to the conclusion that the world was changing and even the types of issues we dealt with – even straightforward humanitarian issues - were becoming much more complex and much more difﬁcult to deal with. I think we all recall the tsunami, how it came from nowhere. Very few of us had heard the word tsunami by then and within twelve hours it had hit three continents and displaced thousands of people. And of course there was also a sense that given the rapid change in weather, we were going to see more of these extreme events and that we needed to look forward and see what we can do.” “Are we prepared? Are we doing the right things, do we have the tools? How do we prepare ourselves for these kinds of events? You look at the issues of water, drought and the changing patterns. Lands which used to be very fertile
have become deserts in no time and the deserts are extending at the rate of seven kilometres per year, and you begin to scratch your head. At the same time the global population is growing, we had the food crisis last year which led to riots and demonstrations in many countries. For some people in this room, if the price of bread or rice goes up you probably pay a little bit more. But for others it could mean starvation, particularly for those in poor communities who have to spend 70-80% of their salary putting food on the table for their children and their wives. And so you see the impacts of these events, it hits some people much more.” “I am saying these things to get you to understand that climate change is an all-encompassing threat, it is a threat to our health, because warmer climate carries diseases like malaria and dengue fever much faster and much further. It is a threat to our survival because of water stress, ﬂoods and droughts. It is a threat to our security because there will be more tensions around scarce resources and how we share them and so on and so forth.” “I think the environment is perhaps the greatest constraint, the greatest brick on all our human activities, on all our dreams. And this is why climate change cannot wait. We have people telling us `this is the wrong time to tackle climate change, since we have an economic crisis we have other concerns, let us focus on those and then turn our attention to climate change.’ I disagree with that because as human beings we have the capacity to deal with more than one problem at a time. And if you were to set a priority how would you go about it? The economic and ﬁnancial crisis ﬁrst, or the billion plus people who do not have enough to eat? Should climate change not come ﬁrst because that is something that threatens our planet? My sense is that we have to be creative
Koﬁ Annan and Walter Fust surprising the participants at the Youth Forum 2009
and ingenious and ﬁnd a way to tackle all these problems together. We have to do that, we cannot pretend that we can put them in neat segments. We really have to ﬁnd a way to deal with them.” “And of course there are other people who would argue that if we were to tackle climate change and the environmental degradation the way we should, and look for green energy, use energy more efﬁciently and get businesses to reconsider the way they make investments and how they produce, that we will have a green economy. And the impact of such a green economy will be as important as the industrial revolution. There are those who believe that, and even go further: that when it comes to the third world and developing countries whose level of development has not reached that of the developed ones, they should take a new path. They should take a new path by going green, using green technology, using cleaner energy and avoiding repetitions of the mistakes of the past. But obviously they cannot do it alone; they would need cooperation from the international partners to go that route. But I think it is a route that they should take.” “I think you as young people and as individuals also have power. You have power to affect climate change. You have power by pushing very hard to move climate change and environmental issues higher up on the political agenda to get politicians to focus on it. If there is pressure, the politicians ﬁnd the courage to do the right thing. And that is one of the reasons why we will launch next week the campaign for climate justice; simply put, we are saying we are all responsible for the climate. We all have to make sure we keep it clean, healthy and sustainable and that no one has the right to pollute, that pollution has a cost and that cost must be borne by those who pollute.” Koﬁ Annan, President of the Global Humanitarian Forum speaking at the Youth Forum 2009
“But perhaps I have said too much for somebody who came to listen, so I should pause here and let us turn to a conversation and I will leave you to get on with work, I am going to hear your brilliant ideas at the end of your session. But really it is wonderful to have you here and see you so engaged, it gives me hope. At your age I am not sure I was discussing such weighty issues, but it is impressive.” Question: “Young people like us, who are concerned about the future of humanity, where should we invest our energies in the years to come? Government, research, NGOs – where do you think we can be the most effective in getting our voice heard?” Koﬁ Annan: “As young people, you should start by looking around you; you should start by getting engaged as you do now. And it all starts in your community, in your schools: what is interesting, what is difﬁcult, what needs to be ﬁxed, what is not acceptable? Try also to understand a little bit about yourselves, and ask yourselves “What am I good at? What do I enjoy doing?” Not what someone wants you to do. You should follow your heart and your dream.” “Once you have found your anchor, something that makes you comfortable and where you think you can make a contribution, it does not matter whether it is in the government, business or civil society. We are entering into a world where we can only make serious contributions if we work in partnerships and any leader who does not realize that has got his head in the sand.” “You can make your contribution whichever ﬁeld you enter, provided we all realise that our little contribution is important, whatever we do is important
towards a collective effort. If each did his or her little bit, collectively we will make a giant contribution. So follow your heart, do what you are comfortable with and you will do it well. If you are not comfortable with what you are doing, if you are pushed into it and getting up and going to that ofﬁce and that lab is a chore, you are putting brakes on your own potential. And you should also know that you should think broader than my generation did, because what happens in your country today has impacts on other countries. No one can think purely in local terms. We need to look beyond our borders.”
Ren-Yi and Julia listening to Koﬁ Annan’s speech
Question: “I am inspired here; how can we maintain the momentum we created at the Youth Forum and maintain the ties and alliances to support each other?” Koﬁ Annan: “These kinds of encounters have far more meaning than you expect when you ﬁrst become engaged. You are going to meet a lot of interesting young people from different backgrounds and different nationalities. I hope the friendships you strike here within the next few days you will try to maintain. You have better means of staying in touch with each other than my generation did. You can write to each other and tell them what you have done, what you are doing when you get back home – share this experience with young people back home! Set up groups that can replicate what you are doing here and share the ﬁndings with your friends here today, and it will snowball. Stay engaged and you will gain a lot as you grow and move forward.” “This is only the beginning. We are going to continue till next week, and so you have to keep thinking and come up with even more brilliant ideas as we reach our Annual Forum next week. It is really wonderful to have you all here. I wish you a good stay and treasure the friendships you are going to make in the next few days. Stay in touch and write to each other. Thank you.”
Nane and Koﬁ Annan participating in a brainstorming session at the Youth Forum 2009
The strengths of youths are being politically incorrect and being insensitive to issues that you simply shouldn’t be sensitive towards. Of course also enthusiasm, vision, a sort of pigheaded determination and the ignorance or the inability to acknowledge that something is impossible ; so let’s use these strengths !
Suresh and Jyoti Guptara India, United Kingdom
The Guest Speakers
Age : 20 Title : Novelists and Authors, Conspiracy of Calaspia
Suresh and Jyoti Guptara gave an inspirational account on their own views as escapist novelists in relation to the humanitarian aspect of climate change through a short story presentation. The story unraveled with an average gentleman Mike, who “is sitting in front of a 40 inch plasma screen, a bottle of coke in one hand and a packet of crisps in the other.” Mike is watching a documentary on climate change and until then is seemingly oblivious of its global effects. Soon he realizes the tragedy at hand, yet Mike remains in denial. The only thing he would need to do to solve the climate crisis is press a green button with the remote his TV. However, Mike tries to shoulder the responsibility on someone else. “Not I, my parents, someone else, I want to live my life before the planet disappears, other people will do something about it”, he says. He continues to surf the channels and watch mind-dulling sitcoms. Suresh and Jyoti spoke about perseverance and determination and how the strength of youth lies in being “politically incorrect”. They state there is a vicious cycle of inaction where everyone is waiting for the other person to do something just like Mike, highlighting the need for urgent action. They explain that this urgency can be developed to the public through a three step process wherein the public needs to be informed on what is going on and why it is happening, they need to be inspired by others to give them enthusiasm, and lastly they need to be equipped in order to implement their ideas. Suresh and Jyoti emphasized how stories and ﬁctional characters can be powerful tools in spreading important messages as the public can identify with the characters, ﬁctional or real and become inspired to make changes. The brothers then sketched an inspiring new world order, of a society where practicing unsustainable behavior is unacceptable, which can begin with a small group such as within our own social circle of friends. The inspiring message from the twins was that in the end they feel sustainable actions should be the obvious thing to do. “We are asking people to press the green button and be given the green button.”
In early 2009 the Global Humanitarian Forum founded a Youth Focal Point, allowing the organisation to give a special focus on youth activity. The Youth Forum 2009 has been the ﬁrst project in this regard, signifying the beginning of the Youth Focal Point’s work. For the end of 2009 and for the year 2010 new activities and projects are planned within the Youth Focal point, with the goal of further establishing the Focal Point and extending its spectrum and ensuring adequate follow-up to the momentum created by the inaugural youth event of the Global Humanitarian Forum.
The Way Forward
Through communication and outreach, the Youth Focal Point aims to spread the spirit of its inaugural Youth Forum and connect its ideas and efforts to the efforts and ideas of other organisations, groups and the public. If you have questions or any remarks regarding the Global Humanitarian Forum’s work focusing on youth issues, please feel free to contact the Youth Focal Point team directly.
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Quote Koﬁ Annan
Share this experience with young people back home. Set up groups that can replicate what you are doing here and share the ﬁndings with your friends here today, and it will snowball. Koﬁ Annan, President of the Global Humanitarian Forum at the Youth Forum 2009
Koﬁ and Nane Annan with participants at the Youth Forum 2009
The Youth Focal Point is very grateful for the support of many companies, institutions, organisations and individuals who made signiﬁcant contributions to the success of the Youth Forum 2009. A special “thank you” goes to: Nextpractice Cargill Mathys Hotels Drake & Longchamp Geneve The Graduate Institute Geneva Centre de l’Esperance The British Council GIMUN Club International Universitaire Charlotte Brugman Nat Powell Samuel Rubio Kokovi Kuhn Moyenda Chaponda Emily Waters Kiyoko van Bochove Ruxandra Mathia Siobhan Mc Namara Denish Samantha
Compiled and edited by Mischa Liatowitsch and Sonam Rabgye
Photo Credits: Samuel Rubio pages 4 â€“ 103 (except pages 79, 81, 82, 83, 101 (middle) Bruno Barbey page 79 Chris Steele-Perkins pages 81, 82 Worldview Impact page 83 Richard Kalvar page 101 (middle)
ISBN: 978-2-8399-0582-4 Youth Forum 2009: Young Adults 4 New Results Published by the Global Humanitarian Forum Geneva - ÂŠ 2009 This publication is available from: Global Humanitarian Forum Geneva Villa Rigot, Avenue de la Paix 9 1202 Geneva, Switzerland Phone +41 22 919 75 00 Fax +41 22 919 75 19 firstname.lastname@example.org www.ghf-ge.org Design, layout and printing: Atar Roto Presse SA, Switzerland
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