UNICEF brings young people together to discuss climate change

29 November 2021
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UNICEF

On 23 November, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) held the  Climate (Un) Normal: How Young People Can Resist Climate Change youth conference in Kyiv. The goal of the conference was to discuss how young people can get involved in tackling climate change and who can help them. The event was symbolically timed to coincide with World Children’s Day, which UNICEF celebrates in November to draw attention to children’s rights and strengthen their voice.

“Children and young people suffer the most during any crisis, and the climate crisis is no exception. It affects the right of children and young people to clean air and water, healthy food and health, access to education and rights related to other areas of life. The younger generation has the least responsibility for climate change, but all the consequences of this process will fall on its shoulders,” said Murat Sahin, UNICEF Representative in Ukraine.

The UNICEF’s Climate Landscape Analysis for Children in Ukraine helped clarify  the main environmental problems in Ukraine and the risks associated with them. Participants in the first panel – representatives of the government, non-governmental sector and youth – discussed the ongoing situation, how they see the future and how all those involved can establish  a constructive dialogue and work together to tackle the effects of climate change.

The second panel brought together the participants from the United Nations Climate Conference (COP26) – young activists supported this year by UNICEF, environmental organizations and government experts. They presented the results of COP26 and started discussing how the COP26 arrangements will be implemented in the Ukrainian context and what role  young people have to play in this regard. In addition, viewers received useful practical advice on how to engage in climate action and take action to address climate change.

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“Climate change is multidisciplinary – regardless of your area, you can easily join any NGO because they need everyone: lawyers, copywriters, that is, there is a lot of opportunity,” said Nina Rubakha, a climate activist and member of Plato NGO.

Another important topic was the role of businesses in overcoming the climate crisis and ensuring sustainable development. During the third panel, representatives of Procter & Gamble, MacPaw and SoftServe spoke about their environment-friendly projects in Ukraine and around the world. The discussion on how business and young people can create joint initiatives to protect the planet was of particular interest.

 

“The support of leading business companies is very important for young people, because it can be a great practice in preparing for modern realities and building their future business,” said Bohdan Komarovskyi, a participant in one of UNICEF youth projects that received support from SoftServe.

In addition to panel discussions, youth activists joined the World Café – an interactive format where young people could interact with each other, engage in discussions, and find new practical solutions for their projects. Participants discussed how to communicate effectively on climate change, shared their experiences of creating environmental projects at the community level, learned about the possibilities of involvement in climate policy at the international level and discussed sustainable consumption practices. In addition, they had the opportunity to try their hand at moderating while also  discussing topics such as networking, emotional well-being in the context of eco activism and raising funds and other necessary resources  for their prospective projects.

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“The latest U-report survey showed that 30% young people in Ukraine are already joining climate initiatives and another 45% would like to do so. UNICEF already supports youth environmental initiatives, in particular through UPSHIFT, the World’s Largest Lesson, air quality monitoring initiatives, etc., and we strive to continue working with young people in this field,” said Sébastien Truffaut, Chief WASH at UNICEF.

The conference was supported by ING Bank, a longtime partner of UNICEF youth programmes, particularly in the field of climate.

The recording in Ukrainian of the first and second panels are available here, the third panel, here.

The first panel in English is available here.

Media contacts

Nina Sorokopud
Chief of Communication
UNICEF in Ukraine

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

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