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Agent of change: Karishma Asarpota

Environment - hand holding a green globe

In our November issue, we've profiled young planners who are delivering sustainable development goals around the world. Read about the Agents of change and discover more young planners whose work is having an impact in communities worldwide

Karishma Asarpota is a junior officer, climate and energy action at ICLEI World Secretariat and co-facilitator of the cities working group with YOUNGO (the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Youth Constituency, in Bonn, Germany

2020 will be remembered as the year of global pandemic, unforgiving forest fires and a widespread anti-racism movement. The need to transition to a society that is inclusive, just and respectful of nature’s boundaries is becoming more urgent.

Irrespective of recent events, 2020 was always going to be critical for accelerating progress towards the SDGs.

“The need to transition to a society that is inclusive, just and respectful of nature’s boundaries is becoming more urgent”

It’s imperative for us as urban planners to reflect on what this means to our profession. Planning can and should address these issues as a powerful lever to help cities align with the SDG agenda.

Young people in general are at the heart of social movements. As we start out in our careers as young planners we must push to be a part of the decision making process early on, so we can have a say in how our future is shaped.

Project focus

My experience as a public sector planner in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and researcher in the Netherlands both fuelled my passion to orient my work around sustainable development. I recently joined the climate and energy action team at ICLEI World Secretariat, an international non-profit working with local governments across the world to help their urban areas become more sustainable.

I am also co-founder and co-coordinator of the Cities Working Group under YOUNGO, the official youth constituency of the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change). We are involved in climate change advocacy for cities at the UNFCCC global climate negotiations. We call for integration of national climate plans or nationally determined contributions to local climate action plans and on-ground initiatives.

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