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Climate Action Summit 2019, adaptation and role of young people to boost up climate action

  • Published at 03:51 pm September 24th, 2019
Climate Change_Climate Action Summit 2019_September 20, 2019
Photo: Reuters

This month, from September 20 to 27, the world will observe a Global Climate Week with events taking place all over the world                                                                                                                

The key events will take place in New York, USA where UN Secretary-General António Guterres is going to host the 2019 Climate Action Summit on September 23, 2019.  While world leaders participation is expected including the participation of a high-level delegation from Bangladesh; this summit anticipates to showcase a leap in collective national political ambition from developed countries as well as countries suffered by climatic variabilities. At the same time, it will demonstrate massive movements in the real economy in support of the climate agenda.

However, participation from young people is very vital to ensure collective action. The UN Youth Climate Summit planned on the 21st is a platform for young leaders who are driving climate action to showcase their solutions at the United Nations, and to meaningfully engage with decision-makers on the defining issue of our time. This historic event will take place on Saturday, September 21 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, as part of a weekend of events leading up to the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit on Monday, September 23.

There is a solidarity event led by young people planned in Dhaka city on September 20, 2019. Organizations like Action Aid, CARE Bangladesh, International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) under Independent University, Bangladesh are supporting young people in taking a lead in climate actions. Young pupils from different universities are encouraged globally to commit individual actions that reduce environmental footprint. Young people can participate even by taking slightest action like saving electricity by plugging appliances into a power strip and turning them off completely when not in use.

The Youth Climate Summit taking place in New York will feature a full-day of programming that brings together young activists, innovators, entrepreneurs, and change-makers who are committed to combating climate change at the pace and scale needed to meet the challenge. 

In order to ensure that the transformative actions in the real economy are as impactful as possible, the Secretary-General has prioritized the following action portfolios:

Finance: Mobilizing public and private sources of finance to drive decarbonization of all priority sectors and advance resilience;

Energy Transition: Accelerating the shift away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy, as well as making significant gains in energy efficiency;

Industry Transition: Transforming industries such as Oil and Gas, Steel, Cement, Chemicals and Information Technology;

Nature-Based Solutions: Reducing emissions, increasing sink capacity and enhancing resilience within and across forestry, agriculture, oceans and food systems, including through biodiversity conservation, leveraging supply chains and technology;

Cities and Local Action: Advancing mitigation and resilience at urban and local levels, with a focus on new commitments on low-emission buildings, mass transport and urban infrastructure; and resilience for the urban poor;

Resilience and Adaptation: Advancing global efforts to address and manage the impacts and risks of climate change, particularly in those communities and nations most vulnerable.

Resilience and adaptation are very significant issues for Bangladesh considering high vulnerability of the country. Frequency of extreme events (particularly, flooding and cyclone) contributed to the vulnerability of people living in north and southern part of Bangladesh. While recent flooding damaged livelihoods in the north, vulnerability is very high for the coastal people during cyclone period.

Apart from the support extended by different departments of the government of Bangladesh, NGOs are implementing programs to support people in responding to climatic events. With the financial support from US Agency for International Development (USAID), CARE Bangladesh is implementing ‘Promoting Resilience to Risks of Natural Hazards (PRERONA) to improve multi-purpose cyclone shelters (MPCS) through physical improvements to 96 MPCS. Interventions will enable communities have safe, accessible shelter and school infrastructure that is adapted to natural hazards and that reduces disaster risk.

However, there is a strong need to engage young people to improve resilience and support adaptation. Youth engagement and public mobilization have been identified as key functional areas along with mitigation strategy and socio-political drivers. It is of paramount importance that young people are integrated and represented across all aspects of the Summit, including the six transformational areas. Bangladesh since 2007 has had more people of working age than non-working, known as demographic dividend and It is particularly important for Bangladesh to accelerate sustainable economic growth.

Oli Md. Abdullah Chowdhury is a human rights worker.