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

Akshat Rathi
Leah Namugerwa carries a placard and gestures as she leads Ugandan students in taking part in the global 'School Strike for Climate' in Kampala
Leah Namugerwa carries a placard and gestures as she leads Ugandan students in taking part in the global 'School Strike for Climate' in Kampala

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.

COUNTRY

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

 

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