Young people call for a climate-resilient Pacific at the Pacific Youth Adaptation Forum
GCA’s Youth Advisory Panel hosted the Pacific Youth Adaptation Forum on 28th April 2022. The Forum was the second in a series of six Regional Youth Adaptation Forums, with a key focus on collecting youth recommendations on the Global Goal on Adaptation.
aining insights on adaptation from young people from the Pacific is essential for a more climate-resilient and equitable future. The IPCC’s 6th Assessment Report on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability strongly recognizes the vulnerability of Small Islands Developing States, particularly from the Oceania region as they are “increasingly affected by increases in temperature, a larger proportion of the most intense tropical cyclones (TCs), storm surges, droughts, changing precipitation patterns, sea-level rise (SLR), coral bleaching, and invasive species, all of which are already detectable across both natural and human systems” (IPCC AR6, 2022)
The Pacific Youth Adaptation Forum, through its successive sessions aimed to:
- Identify youth priorities and recommendations on the Global Goal on Adaptation.
- Elevate youth voices across the globe, especially those from marginalized and vulnerable communities, to shape the international adaptation agenda.
- Showcase youth-led climate-resilient solutions to accelerate adaptation action.
The forum, organized and moderated by Neekhil Prasad and Hayley Payne – Youth Advisory Panel members from the Oceania Region, engaged Pacific youth and decision-makers in three sessions. Key take-aways are:
The Intergenerational Dialogue on Reflecting Youth Recommendations in the Global Goal on Adaptation
The session was kicked-off by Mr. Youssef Nassef, Director of Adaptation at UNFCCC, and was followed by a conversational dialogue among the panelists:
- Mr. Krishneil Narayan, Sustainable Future Consultancy, (Fiji).
- Mr. Solomon Yeo, Pacific Islands Students Fighting Climate Change, (Solomon Islands).
- Ms. Elly van Vliet, Honorary Consul of Vanuatu.
- Mr. Neekhil Prasad, GCA’s Youth Advisory Panel, (Fiji).
The discussion offered a unique opportunity for youth to engage with high-level decision makers in a frank and meaningful conversation that centered around actionable results. The panelists discussed the importance of capacity-building and upskilling young people, the need for governments to provide an inclusive and participatory environment for youth and underlined the need for initiative on the part of young people to step out of their comfort zone and partake in decision-making processes.
“use the democratic process, find political parties that are passionate about advocating for youth and climate change adaptation and join them. Use your talents, don’t be afraid, don’t be intimidated by the older people, just do it”
Elly van Vliet, [noting that not all youth have the opportunity to be involved in their country’s political process]
“the smoke that started this fire did not come from our islands, it came from far, far away, and you need to address it from the source”
Overall, the panelists highlighted that people of all ages have a responsibility to act on climate adaptation, irrespective of their location or background.
Showcasing Youth-Led Adaptation Solutions
Youth from across the Pacific presented diverse projects they are implementing in their communities and at a national level to advance Adaptation. This session presented a video message from Yewande Adebowale, YouthADAPT Winner 2021, (Nigeria) and showcased the following projects:
- ‘Adaptation through transmedia storytelling’, by Ms. Tiyana Jovanovic, Humanitarian Changemakers Network, (Australia).
- ‘Coral Restoration Project’ by Mr. Talua Nivaga, Fuligafou New Transformation NGO), (Tuvalu)
- Youth Activism Work by Ms. Vinzealhar Nen, Sustainable Ocean Alliance, (Papua New Guinea)
- ‘Youth-Adapt Education Initiative,’ by Ms. Semita Waki, Red Cross, (Vanuatu). This session was moderated by Mr. Neekhil Prasad, GCA’s Youth Advisory Panel, (Fiji).
While each young person told a different story, all of their projects shared similar ingredients for success, including passionate leaders, a strong community, an understanding of the climate adaptation needs in their region, and a desire to make a difference and solve the climate crisis.
“After a day spent planting coral on the reef, we invite all the youth to join us for a BBQ to discuss how we can connect as a community and help each other, this is the most important part”
“Be courageous, be brave and work with the heart of humanity and have a heart of voluntary service… and remember to reduce, reuse and recycle, we go green!”
Designing a climate-resilient Pacific post 2030
The final session involved an interactive exercise using Mentimeter where participants were invited to imagine what a climate-resilient Pacific will look like post 2030 by identifying actions that can enable transformational change at the regional level and youth priorities for the Global Goal on Adaptation. Below are just some of the highlights from the session.
First we asked participants to share their priorities for the Global Goal on Adaptation:
- “Bottom up mechanisms to inform policies and programmes with better coordination and cohesion of adaptation action.”
- “Honouring, investigating and implementing traditional knowledge practices of land care”
- “Youth engaging with government officials working on climate change projects.”
- “Promote youth inclusion, climate awareness and education.”
And finally, a very Pacific favorite… “talk to them (decision-makers) and advocate your views over a bowl of Kava.”
Then we reflected and together imagined what a climate-resilient Pacific would look like post 2030:
- “Empowerment of people to appreciate the environment.”
- “Understanding that climate change is intersectional.”
- “A Pacific where our cultures are left alive, despite migration and sea level rise.”
- “The global temperature rise remains under 1.5 degrees.”
- “Youth are trusted and given the freedom and resources to be disruptive, creative and truly innovative in implementing solutions to adapt to climate change.”
Then participants shared their views on the 5 key actions needed to make this climate-resilient future a reality:
- Funding for youth initiatives and organizations.
- Access to education and educational materials for young people.
- Attention and space for story-telling by young people.
- Pursuing legal avenues for climate justice.
- Investing in Disaster Risk Reduction and Response.
The Way Forward
These youth inputs will culminate in a GCA publication, which will be shared with decision-makers at global forums, including the Friends of GCA High-Level Dialogue in September, and at the African COP27 in Egypt to bring youth voices to adaptation decision-making.
The Pacific Youth Adaptation Forum and other regional forums which will be taking place in the coming weeks and months all have a clear ambition. We understand the significance of youth and their incredible engagement in promoting and executing adaptation work in their communities. The forums function as a space to accentuate and showcase how youths are the agents of change, especially in a time where adapting to the vulnerabilities of an irreversible climate is paramount! The Youth Advisory Panel recognizes this importance and therefore invites youths and other decision makers to our forums to discuss issues around the area of climate adaptation and also find comprehensive yet ideal solutions that are most feasible to obtain.
Watch the Forum here: https://youtu.be/84G_SFQ8ZlM
The next Asian Youth Adaptation Forum will take place on 31st May 2022. Register here: bit.ly/YouthAdaptationForum
For more information on the Regional Youth Adaptation Forums, please contact Ms. Adriana Valenzuela, Thematic Lead Youth Leadership & Education, at email@example.com.
Related blog posts: