15’000 champions send signals to COP28

AGRICULTURAL
LCOY 2023 Bangladesh
NICE partner engages with Local Conference of Youth in Bangladesh

 

In many countries, young people are in the vanguard of climate action. Local Conferences of Youth are one recognized channel for their energy. The Syngenta Foundation co-convened a recent example in Bangladesh. The links between climate and healthy food are numerous. 

Local Conferences of Youth (LCOY) are part of the work of YOUNGO, the youth constituency of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The meetings help boost youth climate action locally and provide inputs to international conferences. The two-day Bangladesh LCOY 2023 took place recently in Dhaka, hosted by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). “Its aim was to galvanize Bangladeshi youth to combat climate change”, says Jasia Mehjabin from the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA Bangladesh). “And 15’000 enthusiastic young people from 13 youth-led organizations took the opportunity!” 

The conference focused on climate adaptation, education, collaboration, transition, and nature-based solutions. The NICE partner SFSA Bangladesh was a co-convener, joined by the national sections of ActionAid, WaterAid and UNDP. Further participants included the strategic partners ICCCAD, Malala Fund and the Embassies of Sweden and the COP28 hosts UAE. Further delegates came from UN offices, government, international and civil society organizations, and academia. 

Key speakers included Abdul Muhimin Bin Faruk, the Focal Point of LCOY Bangladesh 2023. His speech aimed to “ignite a spirit of unity and integrity among youth to address climate change”. Edwin Koekkoek praised young climate activists for their role in the European Green Deal. Koekkoek leads Green Inclusive Development and Social Protection at the European Union’s Delegation to Bangladesh.

Farhad Zamil, Country Director of SFSA Bangladesh, emphasized the contribution of youth in shaping food systems. He focused on food systems transformation in Bangladesh and the impact of climate change. “Youth are champions in practicing and disseminating good nutrition practices in their schools, homes, and communities”, Farhad declared. The NICE project works with 40 school-based Nutrition Clubs and Nutrition Gardens in the peri-urban areas of Dinajpur and Rangpur.  

Rudaba Khondker, Country Director of GAIN, stressed individual and community responsibility for addressing climate challenges.  Susan Vize, Officer-in-Charge at UNESCO, emphasized the importance of inclusive and solution-oriented approaches to tackling climate change. The Deputy Minister of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, Habibun Nahar, recognized the pivotal role of youth in climate action. UAE Ambassador Ali Abdulla Khaseif AlHmoudi Al-Hmoudi and ActionAids’ Farah Kabir praised the conference's success. Zawad Alam, Head of Operations of LCOY Bangladesh 2023, described it as “a meaningful engagement and a youth-led initiative that contributed to action on the ground and policy discussions”.

At the closing ceremony, Mehedi Hasan Bappy from the LCOY Bangladesh Secretariat at GAIN shared the 11 Youth Declaration Demands. These are Climate Justice and Human Rights, Adaptation and Resilience, Loss and Damage, Climate Action and Empowerment, Energy, Health, Food systems, Water, Nature and Biodiversity, Technology and Innovation. LCOY Bangladesh representatives will present a detailed youth statement during the COP28 climate conference in December. 

Looking back at the LCOY, Farhad Zamil comments: “For me, this conference was also a reminder of the importance of a balanced and nutritious diet in addressing health and environmental concerns. As we work together to combat climate change, let us remember that our food choices and agricultural practices play a significant role in sustainability. Choosing affordable, locally sourced, and diverse foods, reducing food waste, and supporting sustainable agriculture can contribute to a healthier planet and a brighter future for all.”