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Young people must be part of COP26


More than 50 per cent of humankind lives in urban areas. By 2050 this number will increase to 70 per cent, leaving no doubt that our ability to transform the cities we live in plays a crucial role in determining the success of COP26´s goals.

Cities are home to millions of young people. Half of the world’s population today is under the age of 30 – the large majority of them already living, or aspiring to live, in urban areas.

Our young are growing up hyperconscious of climate change because they are living with its consequences. Recent events such as the German floods and Turkish wildfires have reinforced the fact that climate change is not a geographically isolated issue.

At the Local Pathways Fellowship (LPF), a UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network programme that I lead, we support growing knowledge capacity in cities around the world by training young urban sustainability leaders. We provide them with the resources they need to advance problem-solving for sustainable development at the local level. The programme also includes visibility opportunities such as participation at global events.

Our hope is that a greater number of young people get to attend events such as COP26. This enables the youth to be part of the global conversation that will ultimately shape the world they will inherit. Participation in these events is a critical development opportunity for the young. It allows them to hone their skills, but is also essential in ensuring that their voice is heard internationally.

In the past year-and-a-half, the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of collaboration.

“Participation in these events is a critical development opportunity for the youth”

As stated through COP26’s goals, this is crucial and we must work together to deliver them.

Cities hold an enormous concentration of the world’s best knowledge and innovation resources. The young are ready to contribute their energy, creativity, ambition, capacity for activism, and ability to conceive of a better world. That’s why at the Local Pathways Fellowship we are convinced that climate change is a young and urban affair.

Find out out more here:

Ana Ynestrillas is program lead at the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s Local Pathways Fellowship

Image credit | iStock


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