The final day of Green Future Week featured a session on climate action for future generations, titled, 'Voice of the Earth, Voice for the Earth', led by representatives of the Global Youth Climate Challenges (GYCC) group. In a parallel session, representatives from global development organizations discussed the role of finance in fostering green recovery in the post-COVID-19 era.
Future Generations: Voice of the Earth, Voice for the Earth
Youth leaders shared projects and action plans from GYCC 2020, and took part in open discussions on climate change and environmental education, as well as other issues. Ban Ki-moon, President and Chair, Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), urged youth to demand more from world leaders and business CEOs in order to secure their future.
The session showcased many youth projects, including the TACO (Talk About Culinary Options) project, which helps young people in high-income countries compare different food choices in terms of their planetary impacts. Another initiative, Hero4Zero, promotes zero waste and circular economy values through a platform to help companies send donated goods to charities and people who can use them. It will pilot an oral care project in Uganda, using eco-friendly toothbrushes and DIY toothpaste. Other projects demonstrated ways to tackle waste in different contexts, including urban households, seas, forests and elsewhere. They included, for example, a campaign targeting dogwalkers, dubbed ‘Poo-E,’ to raise awareness, generate donations, and collect pet feces for biogas generation.
During a 'Voices of Teens' segment, participants heard messages from teens on activities that took place during a 60-day Youth Voice Fiesta that brought together 112 teens from nine countries. Their projects included: the Ever Green Club’s tree planting and water catchment protection activities in Kenya to preserve natural habitats for wildlife and indigenous species; and the Green Vietnam Group’s awareness-building activities to change people’s perspectives on waste.
Jayathma Wickramanayake, UN Secretary-General’s Envoy of Youth, Sri Lanka, emphasized the global problem posed by solid waste, which is a high source of the greenhouse gas methane, as well as a threat to public health. She urged governments to uphold the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, saying children have a right to grow up in a clean and safe environment.
Mette Lykke, CEO, Too Good To Go, Denmark, presented the Too Good To Go app, through which food retailers provide their surplus food to consumers at a discount during their closing times. She reported that the programme now operates in 15 countries and has saved about 75 million meals, with more than 40 million users and 40,000 stores enrolled. She highlighted the project’s target of saving up to 1 billion meals by 2024.
The Role of Finance in Fostering Green Recovery in the Post-COVID-19 Era
Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), highlighted that “much work remains” if the global community is to succeed at the Glasgow Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 26) scheduled for November 2021. Børge Brende, President, World Economic Forum, noted that the world has just experienced the warmest year on record, and drew attention to the launch of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero Emissions in 2020 to accelerate the transition toward climate neutrality. Makhtar Diop, International Finance Corporation (IFC), gave examples of effective public-private partnerships, including the transformation of large trash dumps in Serbia into green spaces, with the support of donors and partners.
Panel discussions addressed several sub-topics, including requirements for climate-related financial disclosures, the role of public financial institutions, and the case for global cooperation on climate finance, moderated by Frank Rijbersman, Director-General, GGGI.
Closing of Green Future Week
Green Future Week closed at the end of the Future Generations and Green Finance sessions. In a video message, Carlos Eduardo Correa, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Colombia, welcomed all participants to the next GYCC global meeting, which will take place in Colombia in 2023, on the theme of deforestation. Yun Sun-Jin, incoming chair of the Republic of Korea’s new 2050 Carbon Neutrality Committee, warmly thanked everyone for their support and looked forward to the P4G Seoul Summit 2021, beginning on Sunday, 30 May 2021.
To receive free coverage of future global environmental events delivered to your inbox, subscribe to the ENB Update newsletter.