Mayada Adil – the official SDG youth leader from Sudan said “the only way to describe the current state of the SDGs is as a failure that young people, who make up half the world’s population, have been left behind in the goals’ implementation. Indeed, progress has been minimal, the world leaders agree, yet the effects have been significant in different corners of the world. Since the SDGs began, more than 800,000 people now have access to electricity, 146 countries are on track for reducing child death rates, improvements have been made with HIV treatment and people’s access to the Internet has increased but we need young people in all our diversity to be seen and heard in the policy and decision-making as emphasized by Miss Adil, reported by Damilola Banjo.
The GEF release dated 30 October 2023 (below) is a direct sample to respond young leader’s query like Mayada Adil’s.
GEF sponsors 13 youth ambassadors for COP28 climate summit.
In an investment in the next generation of environmental leaders, the Global Environment Facility is sponsoring 13 youth ambassadors from across Latin America to participate in the 2023 United Nations climate summit as part of their national delegations.
In a pilot partnership with Operation COP: Youth Ambassadors for Climate, a Climate Reality Project Latin America initiative, the GEF will support the participation of young delegates from 10 countries to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28), taking place Nov. 30-Dec. 12 in Dubai.
The youth delegates from Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, and Peru will be part of their country delegations and take part in negotiations on issues related to climate change mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage, and more.
Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, the GEF’s CEO and Chairperson and a long-time participant in international environmental negotiations, said having young people at decision-making tables was an urgent priority.
“Today’s young people are engaged, informed, and needed in negotiating rooms as countries make decisions affecting their future,” he said. “We are thrilled to support these 13 youth ambassadors as part of our efforts to elevate young leaders and create opportunities for more inclusion in local, national, and international initiatives for the environment.”
Operation COP: Youth Ambassadors for Climate was launched in 2021 to connect young climate change experts with international negotiations, helping to fill a need for youth representation in the generation of national climate policies and plans. The initiative supports the UNFCCC’s Action for Climate Empowerment strategy with a focus on education, public awareness, public access to information, training in specific skills, citizen participation, and international cooperation.
Investing in young people is a priority for the GEF, which is the largest source of multilateral funding for developing countries’ work to address climate change, biodiversity, and pollution. It works with youth leaders in multiple ways, including through organizations such as YOUNGO, the Global Youth Biodiversity Network, the UNCCD Youth Caucus, and the local and national chapters advising the multilateral environmental conventions the multilateral fund serves. Young scientists interested in environmental conservation can also explore training and networking support through the GEF’s Fonseca Leadership Program.
About the Global Environment Facility
The GEF is a multilateral fund dedicated to confronting biodiversity loss, climate change, pollution, and strains on ocean and land health. Its grants, blended financing, and policy support help developing countries address their biggest environmental priorities and adhere to international environmental conventions. Over the past three decades, the GEF has provided more than $23 billion and mobilized $129 billion in co-financing for more than 5,000 national and regional projects.
About the 2023 Youth Ambassadors for Climate
Maria Gabriella Rodrigues de Souza (Brazil) – Maria Gabriella is a law student whose research interests include critical race theory, feminism, environmental racism, and international human rights law. Her commitment to environmental justice stems from her personal connection to the Amazon and Cerrado regions and her observation of their ongoing degradation and resulting impacts on marginalized people.
Luciano Travella Barrios (Chile) – Luciano is a geologist and tourism guide with more than five years of experience in the areas of environmental geology, tourism, and education, through public and private projects. He has experience working with Indigenous communities, civil society organizations, schools, and public institutions in the Atacama region and the rest of Chile.
Ivette Massiel Ulloa Caniu (Chile) – Ivette is an Indigenous geographer from Chile who works in an environmental consultancy on projects related to natural and social risk management and geographic information systems. She is an active member of POTENCIA STEM, a foundation that seeks equity in the scientific world and encourages girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.
Vidalejandra Araujo Rojo (Colombia) – Vidalejandra is pursuing a degree in veterinary medicine and zootechnics, with a focus on animal conservation research. She is passionate about supporting animal welfare and species preservation and is committed to community outreach around climate action and gender equality, including encouraging girls and women to pursue STEM careers.
Sebastián Ochoa Molina (Colombia) – Sebastián is an international business expert who is undertaking diplomatic training with the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. His interests include international relations, global negotiations, and climate change environmental issues. He hopes to build a career as an international negotiator focused on environmental issues.
Alejandra Fernández Álvarez (Costa Rica) – Alejandra possesses a bachelor’s degree in psychology and is conducting research around pro-environmental behaviors and perceptions related to climate change. Her professional experience relates mainly to the field of human resources, with a specific focus on training HR assistants within the context of a transnational corporation.
Paula Rueda Mora (Costa Rica) – Paula is a microbiology major who is fluent in Spanish, English, and German. As a youth ambassador with the Costa Rican delegation to COP28, she looks forward to learning about the role that scientific data and negotiations play in determining climate policy and measuring its impact on the world’s most vulnerable people.
Juliany Minyety Méndez (Dominican Republic) – Juliany has a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in human development. She works as a monitoring, evaluation, and learning associate at the Global Green Growth Institute, providing technical assistance to the Dominican Republic government related to the Paris Agreement climate change goals and commitments.
María Belén Grijalva Mañay (Ecuador) – María Belén has a bachelor’s degree in international relations with a minor in biology. She works at the FARO Foundation where she works to support community education in Río Negro, a locality situated in Ecuador’s Tungurahua province. She has a passion for education, environmental conservation, and the development of future generations.
Carolina Navarro Armenta (México) – Carolina is studying renewable energy engineering in Tijuana, Mexico, where she is active in activities and projects related to sustainability and community engagement about environmental issues. She aspires to be an engineer working on sustainability and to keep motivating others to adopt an environmentally responsible lifestyle.
Gabriela Rogers Marciaga (Panama) – Gabriela is an architecture student and environmental activist who has worked for five years in Biomuseo, a museum that educates about the richness and importance of Panama’s biodiversity. She is also actively involved with her local community and with grassroots efforts focused on the re-design of public spaces to support sustainability and resilience.
Camilo Maldonado Cabral (Paraguay) – Camilo is a lawyer focused on public policy, environmental law, and governance. He is passionate about youth leadership and social activism and is a member of the DeMolay Order for the Republic of Paraguay, the World Network of Young Politicians, and the Ibero-American Youth Network.
Almendra Cáceres Ramirez (Peru) – Almendra has a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering and works on projects related to corporate sustainability, eco-efficiency, emission reduction scenarios, and carbon footprints. She is a national delegate in the Peruvian Youth Collective against Climate Change and contributed to the Global Youth Declaration presented at COP26.