High-Level Dialogue with Youth: Accelerating Adaptation in a Climate Emergency

Groningen, The Netherlands

7 September 2021, 10:00 CEST

The Global Center on Adaptation and University of Groningen hosted a High-Level Youth Forum bringing together global climate leaders and youth advocates for adaptation action

Event description:

The Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) High-Level Dialogue with Youth on “Accelerating Adaptation in a Climate Emergency” launched the new 2021-2022 academic year with a strategic discussion combining leaders of nations most vulnerable to climate change, together with development experts and youth advocates for action in a hybrid online-offline Town Hall event hosted by one of Europe’s largest and oldest universities at Groningen/Leeuwarden in the Netherlands. The event explored how youth, academia and most vulnerable communities can collaborate and spur bolder action on adaptation in response to the global climate emergency, and considered concrete activities that can be taken in advance of and following the 2021 UN Climate Conference at Glasgow, COP26. The event included the award ceremony of the 2021 Ban Ki-moon Award for Women’s Empowerment to Dr. Paul Polman.

The event took place in a hybrid online-offline format of a Town Hall meeting at the campus of the University of Groningen. The event was conducted according to Covid-19 protocols in effect on the campus of the University of Groningen. The Town Hall format was on a restricted participation basis with interaction and participation of the wide student body enabled through hybrid online conferencing modalities specific to the event. 


10:00–11:00 AM: Leaders Dialogue
Chair of the session:

  • Prof. Dr. Patrick Verkooijen, Ban Ki-moon Chair of Climate Adaptation and Global Governance of the University of Groningen and CEO of the Global Center Adaptation

Opening and welcome remarks

  • Prof. Dr. Jouke de Vries, President of the University of Groningen
  • Prof. Dr. Andrej Zwitter, Dean of Campus Fryslân

Opening keynote remarks:

  • H.E. Ban Ki-moon, 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chair of the Board of the Global Center on Adaptation
  • H.E. Mohamed Nasheed, former President of the Maldives, Speaker of the People’s Majlis and Climate Vulnerable Forum Thematic Ambassador for Ambition

Roundtable panel:

  • H.E. Dr. Abdul Momen, Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh
  • H.E. Simon Stiell, Hon. Minister of Agriculture, Land, Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment of Grenada
  • H.E. Keriako Tobiko, Hon. Minister of Environment and Forestry of Kenya
  • H.E. Rola Dashti, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia
  • H.E. Mohammed Adjei Sowah, Mayor of Accra
  • Karin Isaksson, Managing Director of the Nordic Development Fund

11:00 – 11:40AM: Youth Town Hall
Roundtable panel:

  • Arjen Robben, Former Bayern München soccer player and Global Center on Adaptation Ambassador
  • Youth representatives of the University of Groningen

Session moderator:

  • Adriana Valenzuela, Thematic Lead on Youth Leadership and Education, Global Center on Adaptation

11:40 – 11:50AM: Award Ceremony

  • Paul Polman, Influencer, business leader, campaigner. In recognition of the 2021 Ban Ki-moon Award for Women’s Empowerment.

11:50AM – 12:00PM: Closing Ceremony

  • H.E. Sybrand Buma, Mayor of Leeuwarden

12:35 – 12:45PM Tree ceremony 
at the commemorative plaque to mark the visit of H.E. Ban Ki-moon