Newly formed Youth Advisory Panel to help GCA steer the course of Global Adaptation

Twelve members with diverse backgrounds and life experiences have come together in a newly established Youth Advisory Panel that will deliver strategic guidance to the CEO of GCA with the goal of empowering young people around the world to drive the climate adaptation agenda.

D esmond Alugnoa grew up in the farming community of Bolgatanga in northern Ghana, where climate change was not a distant problem, but rather a harsh reality that impacted crop yields and water availability.

Today, Alugnoa, 31, helps frontline communities adapt to climate change through the Green Africa Youth Organization (GAYO), which he co-founded.

He is one of 12 members with diverse backgrounds and life experiences that will come together in a newly established Youth Advisory Panel that will deliver strategic guidance to the CEO of the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) with the goal of empowering young people around the world to drive the climate adaptation agenda.

Desmond Alugnoa representing the Youth Advisory Panel at the GCA High-Level Dialogue: An Adaptation Acceleration Imperative for COP26

The gender and geographically balanced Youth Advisory Panel was launched on 6th September during the High-Level Dialogue: An Adaptation Acceleration Imperative for COP26 and inauguration of the floating office that houses GCA headquarters. The highly qualified Panel members, with academic and professional expertise in climate adaptation and youth mobilization, all hail from different countries, representing every region of the world.

“The flagship Youth Advisory Panel will open doors for young people around the world to take part in the global climate adaptation revolution. Our aim is to empower a generation that will bear the brunt of the climate crisis and ensure that its future is secured. It is our duty and an honor to welcome them to the table and hear what they have to say so that we can work together to drive adaptation action,” said Prof. Dr. Patrick Verkooijen, CEO of GCA.

All Panel members belong to GCA’s Youth Adaptation Network (YAN) and they will support the achievement of the network’s goals: to engage, empower and amplify the role of youth in the adaptation agenda.

“My vision for the GCA Youth Advisory Panel is to harness the power of our collective diversity and passion for climate action to empower youth across the world as agents of change and ensure their meaningful inclusion in climate adaptation solutions,” said Hayley Payne, 26, Research Assistant at the Queensland University of Technology in Australia and newly selected Panel member.

The Youth Advisory Panel will serve for a one-year period and facilitate youth participation and inclusiveness at the regional and national level through the YAN and other youth platforms.
 
Panel members will hold quarterly virtual meetings with GCA’s CEO and bi-monthly coordination meetings with the YAN to collect  input and support their adaptation efforts. The Panel will assist in the implementation of YAN activities, such as the monthly Youth Adaptation Dialogues launched in June, and provide capacity-building to the youth network.
 
In the words of Panel member Elysa Vaillancourt, 26, Youth Project Manager for the International Secretariat for Water, “The Youth Advisory Panel is a unique opportunity to foster youth involvement and ensure adequate youth representation in the global adaptation agenda. This space will allow for youth worldwide to be empowered and recognized as credible agents of change.”
 
Irfan Ullah, 28, is a passionate climate activist with a Master’s degree from the United Nations University Institute of Environment and Human Security in Bonn, Germany, and a member of the Panel.
 
“Being a member of the Panel will for sure steer the course of global adaptation. We, the youth, will share locally-led adaptation success stories and learn from each other. The Youth Advisory Panel will enrich us with the most innovative and sustainable solutions so that we can become leaders in the fight against climate change,” said Ullah.
 
Youth Advisory Panel members are between the ages of 19 and 31 and come from Ghana, Morocco, China, Pakistan, the United Kingdom, Poland, Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil, the United States, Canada, Australia and Fiji.
 
For more information about the Panel, visit GCA’s website or contact GCA’s Youth Leadership Program Lead, Adriana Valenzuela, at youth@gca.org.

GCA Youth Advisory Panel

RegionNameAgeCountry
AfricaDesmond Alugnoa31Ghana
Manal Bidar19Morocco
AsiaCathy Li21China
Irfan Ullah28Pakistan
EuropeEmily Vernall23United Kingdom
Beniamin Strzelecki22Poland
Latin America and the CaribbeanKervelle Baird26Trinidad and Tobago
Joyce Mendez27Brazil
North AmericaElysa Vaillancourt26Canada
Rory Mondshein29United States of America
OceaniaHalyey Payne26Australia
Neekhil Prasad25Fiji

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