The Youth Environment Assembly reconvened, launching cooperative platforms to foster youth engagement and reflecting on current initiatives.
Two platforms were launched: a Science-Policy-Business Forum and Youth Platform and a Chemicals and Wastes Youth Platform. Both platforms aim to encourage dialogue between the relevant stakeholders and communities. The Science Policy Business and Youth Platform will also help foster youth-led green entrepreneurship. Three young entrepreneurs shared their inspirational stories of launching green businesses. Cassandra Delage, Plast’if, Dhruv Khanna, Triton Foodworks, and Steven Shutong Jiang, Soarability, showcased how their companies’ new technologies are offering revolutionary new options for recycling plastic, growing food in hydroponic systems, and measuring real-time, hyper-localized air quality.
The Chemicals and Wastes Youth Platform will act as a bridge connecting youth with the UN bodies working on chemicals and wastes issues. It will help build capacity for youth to engage and influence multilateral decisions on chemicals and wastes issues. Several participants cited the need for strengthening science-policy interfaces and embedding sustainability in curricula and corporate practice.
Participants reflected on current and recent initiatives to catalyze action and leadership. Swetha Stotram Bhashyam, Global Coordinator, Global Youth Biodiversity Network, presented the Youth Voices for Nature Manifesto to protect biodiversity. She outlined its 11 key areas, and stressed that the focus is on systemic, transformative change rather than on more narrow, specific issues. Participants gave further ideas for the Manifesto and how to take it forward in their respective countries.
The Anatomy of Action was a youth-led campaign with UNEP to use social media to showcase sustainable lifestyle choices. Campaign “activators” reflected on the difficulties of changing their lifestyles and communicating these changes to others.
Participants wrapped up the day by reflecting on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Several noted opportunities to build back better, from personal development to career opportunities. With the time provided, youth could, some noted, build the career they want and learn and explore their varied interests.