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The UN just elevated its greatest allies in the climate fight: the youth

Leah Namugerwa carries a placard and gestures as she leads Ugandan students in taking part in the global 'School Strike for Climate' in Kampala
Reuters/Newton Nabwaya
Rise up
  • Akshat Rathi
By Akshat Rathi

Senior reporter

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

It’s been 31 years since the United Nations created the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Year after year, the convening countries have published ever-more urgent reports documenting what humans are doing to the climate. The panel has pointed out strategies to tackle the growing crisis—but it can’t turn recommendations into action. That decision is a political one that each country has to make on its own.

After three decades of diplomatic efforts, the UN may finally have an ally to help galvanize action: the youth. No one understands the magnitude of the challenge better than the young people who stand to inherit our climate crisis. Better still, many among them, such as Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, quote paragraphs and page numbers from IPCC’s own reports.

To support the rapidly growing movement, the UN is elevating these young advocates. On Sep. 21, two days before the UN convenes its Climate Action Summit in New York City, the global body has organized the first-ever Youth Climate Summit. And in typical UN style, it has chosen to give a platform not just to people like Thunberg who’ve caught the attention of the world, but to voices from much of the poor world that will suffer the worst consequences of the climate crisis. Thunberg, who has always said the focus should be on the message, not the messenger, will likely be pleased.

On Aug. 20, the UN announced that it is providing “green tickets”—journeys designed to be as low-carbon as possible, according to a spokesperson—to bring a gender-balanced group of 100 young people from 100 countries to the Youth Climate Summit. Ninety-nine of them are under the age of 30. The group includes a renewable-energy entrepreneur from Rwanda, a plastics activist from Serbia, a founder of an environmental NGO from El Salvador, and many of the lead organizers of the international School Strikes for Climate launched by Thunberg.

Here’s the full list of those who agreed to share their names.

AfghanistanNasreen Sayed
ArgentinaBruno Rodriguez
ArmeniaSvetlana Jaghatspanyan
AustraliaAlexander Whitebrook
AzerbaijanNijat Eldarov
BelarusIryna Ponedelnik
BelizeKhadija Usher
BeninJohannes Goudjanou
BhutanUgyen Tshomo
BotswanaThomo Lekagane
BrazilJoao Henrique Alves Cerqueira
BulgariaRadostina Slavkova
Burkina FasoKadija Simboro
BurundiDelphin Kaze
CameroonNche Tala Aghanwi
CanadaBrandon Nguyen
Central African RepublicJovial Gba-Gombo
ChileJuan Jose Martin
ChinaJiaxin Zhao
ColombiaSantiago Enrique Aldana Rivera
ComorosHassane Toiwiya
Costa RicaAlberto Barrantes Ceciliano
CyprusAlexandros Nicolaou
Czech RepublicLucie Smolková
Democratic Republic of the CongoDiane Bahati
EcuadorCarlos Giovanni Ruiz Moreira
EgyptAbdelrahman Fahmy
El SalvadorJacqueline Lizeth López López
EthiopiaKadija Kadiro Geche
FijiKomal Kumar
FranceCôme Girschig
GreeceStamatis Psaroudakis
GuatemalaHelen Eugenia Ramos Nufio
HaitiVivianne Roc
HondurasRicardo Andres Pineda Guzman
IndiaVishnu P R
IndonesiaVania Santoso
IranIman Dorri
ItalyFederica Gasbarro
JamaicaDainalyn Swaby
JapanMayumi Sato
JordanZahra Abu Taha
KiribatiEritai Kateibwi
KosovoAgim Mazreku
LithuaniaRimante Balsiunaite
MadagascarTsiry Nantenaina Rakotondratovo Randrianavelo
MalaysiaLiyana Yamin
MaliBoubacar Mahamadou MAIGA
MauritiusLalita Purbhoo Junggee
MexicoJorge Martínez Pérez Tejada
NepalPramisha Thapaliya
NigeriaJoy Egbe
OmanMaryam Al Kharusi
PakistanDurlabh Ashok
PanamaKarel Miranda
PolandMaja Starosta
Rep. of KoreaJoo Won Chung
RwandaGhislain Irakoze
SamoaChristine Tuioti Mariner
SenegalNdéye Marie Aida Ndieguene
SerbiaAdrian Toth
SeychellesJeremy Raguain
South SudanEmmanuel Lobijo Josto Eka
SudanFatin Tawfig
SwazilandSebenele Rodney Carval
SwitzerlandMarie-Claire Graf
TajikistanDilangez Azizmamadova
TogoKoku Klutse
TongaMadeleine Lavemai
Trinidad and TobagoMareeka Dookie
UkraineYevheniia Zasiadko
United Arab EmiratesHaya Almansoori
United States of AmericaEsteeri Kabonero
UzbekistanTatyana Sin
VenezuelaAnnia Costermani Visconti
ZimbabweElizabeth Gulugulu

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