Skip to navigationSkip to content
GROWING MOMENTUM

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 Last updated 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.

Afghanistan
Nasreen Sayed
Argentina
Bruno Rodriguez
Armenia
Svetlana Jaghatspanyan
Australia
Alexander Whitebrook
Azerbaijan
Nijat Eldarov
Belarus
Iryna Ponedelnik
Belize
Khadija Usher
Benin
Johannes Goudjanou
Bhutan
Ugyen Tshomo
Botswana
Thomo Lekagane
Brazil
Joao Henrique Alves Cerqueira
Bulgaria
Radostina Slavkova
Burkina Faso
Kadija Simboro
Burundi
Delphin Kaze
Cameroon
Nche Tala Aghanwi
Canada
Brandon Nguyen
Central African Republic
Jovial Gba-Gombo
Chile
Juan Jose Martin
China
Jiaxin Zhao
Colombia
Santiago Enrique Aldana Rivera
Comoros
Hassane Toiwiya
Costa Rica
Alberto Barrantes Ceciliano
Cyprus
Alexandros Nicolaou
Czech Republic
Lucie Smolková
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Diane Bahati
Ecuador
Carlos Giovanni Ruiz Moreira
Egypt
Abdelrahman Fahmy
El Salvador
Jacqueline Lizeth López López
Ethiopia
Kadija Kadiro Geche
Fiji
Komal Kumar
France
Côme Girschig
Greece
Stamatis Psaroudakis
Guatemala
Helen Eugenia Ramos Nufio
Haiti
Vivianne Roc
Honduras
Ricardo Andres Pineda Guzman
India
Vishnu P R
Indonesia
Vania Santoso
Iran
Iman Dorri
Italy
Federica Gasbarro
Jamaica
Dainalyn Swaby
Japan
Mayumi Sato
Jordan
Zahra Abu Taha
Kiribati
Eritai Kateibwi
Kosovo
Agim Mazreku
Lithuania
Rimante Balsiunaite
Madagascar
Tsiry Nantenaina Rakotondratovo Randrianavelo
Malaysia
Liyana Yamin
Mali
Boubacar Mahamadou MAIGA
Mauritius
Lalita Purbhoo Junggee
Mexico
Jorge Martínez Pérez Tejada
Nepal
Pramisha Thapaliya
Nigeria
Joy Egbe
Oman
Maryam Al Kharusi
Pakistan
Durlabh Ashok
Panama
Karel Miranda
Poland
Maja Starosta
Rep. of Korea
Joo Won Chung
Rwanda
Ghislain Irakoze
Samoa
Christine Tuioti Mariner
Senegal
Ndéye Marie Aida Ndieguene
Serbia
Adrian Toth
Seychelles
Jeremy Raguain
South Sudan
Emmanuel Lobijo Josto Eka
Sudan
Fatin Tawfig
Swaziland
Sebenele Rodney Carval
Switzerland
Marie-Claire Graf
Tajikistan
Dilangez Azizmamadova
Togo
Koku Klutse
Tonga
Madeleine Lavemai
Trinidad and Tobago
Mareeka Dookie
Ukraine
Yevheniia Zasiadko
United Arab Emirates
Haya Almansoori
United States of America
Esteeri Kabonero
Uzbekistan
Tatyana Sin
Venezuela
Annia Costermani Visconti
Zimbabwe
Elizabeth Gulugulu

📬 A periodic dispatch from the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly in NYC.

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.