Published: 28th July 2020
Indian among seven youth leaders to invigorate the UN's climate plans
Archana Soreng is experienced in advocacy and research, and she is working to document, preserve, and promote traditional knowledge and cultural practices of indigenous communities
An Indian is among seven young climate leaders, between the age of 18-28 years, who will advise UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres regularly on accelerating global action and ambition to tackle the worsening climate crisis. The announcement was made by Guterres to mark a new effort by the UN to bring more young leaders into decision-making and planning processes, as the UN works to mobilize climate action as part of the COVID-19 recovery efforts.
Archana Soreng is experienced in advocacy and research, and she is working to document, preserve, and promote traditional knowledge and cultural practices of indigenous communities. The other young climate leaders are from Sudan, Fiji, Moldova, the US, France and Brazil. "We are in a climate emergency. We do not have the luxury of time," the Secretary-General said in a video announcing the establishment of the Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change on Monday.
"We need urgent action now -- to recover better from COVID-19, to confront injustice and inequality and address climate disruption. "We have seen young people on the frontlines of climate action, showing us what bold leadership looks like. "That is why I am launching my Youth Advisory Group on climate change today -- to provide perspectives, ideas and solutions that will help us scale up climate action," he added.
The members of the Secretary-General's Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change represent the diverse voices of young people from all regions as well as small island states. They will offer perspectives and solutions on climate change, from science to community mobilization, from entrepreneurship to politics, and from industry to conservation. The other selected members of the group are: Nisreen Elsaim (Sudan) is a climate activist and junior negotiator at intergovernmental climate change platforms with experience across a range of environmental topics, and she was part of the social movement that brought about democratic change in Sudan.
Ernest Gibson (Fiji) is the co-coordinator for 350 Fiji, a regional youth-led climate change network, driven by young climate leaders. Vladislav Kaim (Moldova) is a young economist committed to ensuring green and decent jobs for youth, and he brings deep expertise in international trade and migration. Sophia Kianni (the US) has helped organize nationwide strikes and is the founder of Climate Cardinals, an international nonprofit working to translate climate information into over 100 languages.
Nathan Metenier (France) is the founder and coordinator of Generation Climate Europe and spokesperson for Youth and Environment Europe. Paloma Costa (Brazil) is a lawyer and human rights defender who has coordinated the youth delegations to several climate conferences. The initial seven members of the Group have been chosen to give frank and fearless advice to the Secretary-General, at a time of growing urgency to hold government and corporate leaders to account on climate action.
"Our ancestors have been protecting the forest and nature over the ages through their traditional knowledge and practices. Now it is on us to be the frontrunners in combating the climate crisis," Soreng said. "Climate action is not just about reducing greenhouse gas emissions, it is also about creating green jobs in a post-COVID world, preserving our health and biodiversity and protecting the poorest and most marginalized communities," Metenier said.
The establishment of the Group builds on last year's successful Youth Climate Summit -- the first time a Secretary-General has convened a summit for young people entirely devoted to climate action. The summit brought over 1,000 young climate champions together from more than 140 countries to share their solutions on the global stage and deliver a clear message to world leaders: we must act now to confront the climate crisis.
The initiative is also aligned with the Secretary-General's vision for the UN Youth Strategy, launched in September 2018.