GCA and the Mayor of Bonn convene the Youth Adaptation Forum Bonn

Taking place during the Bonn Climate Conference, the Youth Adaptation Forum Bonn brought together 80 young people and leaders from across governments, civil society, practitioners, international organizations, and decision-makers to foster an intergenerational dialogue on adaptation

T he Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) and the City of Bonn convened the Youth Adaptation Forum Bonn on 8th June 2023 to mobilize the global youth movement on the road to the Africa Climate Summit and COP28.

The Forum provided capacity-building to the youth audience on the international adaptation agenda, brought together young people’s views on youth engagement with adaptation policies including the Global Goal on Adaptation and National Adaptation Plans, and sought partners for GCA’s Toolkit for Youth on Adaptation & Leadership.

Following remarks by adaptation experts including Prof. Saleemul Huq, Director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development, Gabriel Kpaka Chair of the Least Developed Countries Expert Group, and Jeffrey Qi Policy Analyst International Institute for Sustainable Development/NAP Global Network, the Forum included a consultation with 80 young people on adaptation policies. The views shared by the youth audience will contribute towards GCA’s guide on ‘Youth Engagement with National Adaptation Plans’ to be presented at COP28.

Building on GCA’s previous Youth Adaptation Forums in which over 1,600 young people from 145 countries have participated, the youth adaptation movement had a strong call to decision-makers attending the UN climate change conference, the ‘Bonn Adaptation Action Agenda’. This Bonn Adaptation Action Agenda was presented by the GCA CEO’s Youth Advisory Panel and young leaders from across the world to Dr. Ursula Sautter Deputy Mayor of Bonn, Andrea Meza Deputy Secretary-General of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, Dr. Debra Roberts IPCC Co-chair of working group II, and Ina Parvanova UNFCCC Director of Communications & Engagement.

  • Promote youth participation in adaptation policies and action: Ensure equal representation of youth in their diversity, particularly children, young people with disabilities, indigenous people, young women, and young people in marginalized communities.
  • Engage young people in the design and implementation of National Adaptation Policies: Accelerate the design of National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and engage young people through participatory processes in adaptation policy-making at the national and local level including in NAPs and Nationally Determined Contributions.
  • Scale up adaptation finance: Ensure there is continuous progress to deliver the promise made at COP26 to at least double adaptation finance by 2025 compared to 2019 levels, and increase the scale and speed of climate finance mobilization, with a focus on providing more grants instead of loans for adaptation as well as loss and damage whilst ensuring its additionality. In addition, more finance must be made available to locally youth-led adaptation actions.
  • Provide adaptation education materials and capacity-building to young people: Provide resources such as the Toolkit for Youth on Adaptation & Leadership and connect these with local activities including the regional Youth Adaptation Forums.
  • Promote youth entrepreneurship and create adaptation jobs: Empower young people and provide training and resources through capacity-building to generate sustainable solutions and promote economic growth while building resilience in various sectors.

Manav Khanna, member of the GCA CEO’s Youth Advisory Panel from India, described the Bonn Adaptation Action Agenda as:

The central call to action by young people to decision-makers on the adaptation agenda.

Ursula Sautter, Deputy Mayor of Bonn, shared:

Today’s Forum couldn’t be a better platform and I think the impulses going out from here will be travelling in the right directions. We can make adaptation happen, make it a priority, and make a difference. Your leadership and your outreach in your various countries is essential. I’m in for adaptation and I know you are too.

Mike Girling, Director of External Affairs of GCA, shared:

Creating a climate-resilient future begins with understanding the climate emergency we live in. Education and skills are key to prepare communities for a future affected by climate change. The growing youth adaptation movement can lead the way in how we respond to this challenge.

During the High Level Closing Ceremony, Girling sought partners to roll out the Toolkit for Youth on Leadership & Adaptation. The Toolkit equips young people with the knowledge and skills to engage in climate adaptation policy, advocacy and action. Developed in partnership with CARE and 40 youth organizations from across the African continent, the Toolkit responds directly to the needs and recommendations of young people. The Toolkit is available in French, English and Arabic and is available online at youthtoolkit.adaptationportal.gca.org.

Bringing together 80 young people from 40 countries, the Youth Adaptation Forum Bonn is the fourth Forum in a series of six regional Youth Adaptation Forums taking place around the world, rallying young people around the adaptation agenda ahead of the Africa Climate Summit and COP28. The Africa Climate Summit will be co-hosted by the Government of Kenya and the African Union Commission, and co-convened by the African Development Bank and GCA.

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