Another year has come, and leaders from all over the world have come together once again to engage in important discussions around how to solve the climate crisis. But effective action on climate – and nature – needs more than political will across States – it needs policy-makers, scientists, organisations and civil society to join efforts and find solutions that provide long-term benefits to the climate, biodiversity and people. Quite often, those most affected by climate change are left out of such important conversations, however. COP27 is Africa’s COP. It is expected that the voices of the most impacted are to speak louder than ever and world leaders and decision-makers are met with the opportunity to listen and dive into topics such as adaptation, resilience, climate justice and the crucial role of Indigenous Peoples and local communities in forest protection and more.
To highlight the vital role of indigenous peoples, local communities, and young leaders in nature protection and climate action, this year’s COP27 Nature Positive collaboration is bringing individuals representing organizations from the Global South and fighting the good fight to the heart of COP. These individuals are taking part in implementing solutions on the ground, promoting nature restoration and advocating for a better future for us all. Each organization will bring a unique and individual perspective to the conference based on the positive work they have been doing in local communities across the world.
Through generations of close interactions with the environment, these knowledge holders bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise in stewarding the environment and addressing climate change and its impacts. This blog seeks to highlight their outstanding work and the importance of integrating their knowledge in the design of Nature-based Solutions and across all biodiversity targets to scale up climate action.
Youth Bridge Foundation
“Going to COP is important to me because it’s an opportunity to advance the youth climate agenda.” – Joyce Nyame, Youth Bridge Foundation
The Youth Bridge Foundation (YBF) is an independent non-profit organization committed to youth development across the continent of Africa and the Diaspora. It strives to achieve this mission through cutting-edge and evidence-based youth research, sustained advocacy, training and mentorship. Headquartered in Ghana and accredited with the UN ECOSOC Special Consultative status since 2011, YBF works with a network of youth across the Continent.
The Iris Project
The Iris Project is run in collaboration with Global Greengrants Fund and has been established in memory of Iris Goldsmith, who died in a tragic accident aged 15. Iris had a deep and lifelong connection with the natural world, a gentle way with animals, and a particular love for the sea. In her memory, the Iris Project is building a global community of young people working to protect and restore their local natural environment. As well as empowering action through the annual Iris Prize, the Iris Project will connect young people from around the world to share learnings, provide support and advocate for change.
Afrika Youth Caravan
“Nature provides and protects; as such, we need to care for it as it does for us.” – Sam Nyamwange, Afrika Youth Caravan
The Afrika Youth Caravan to the UNFCCC COP27 was launched by Kenya Environmental Action Network (KEAN), together with its partners Youth4Nature (Y4N), Youth Sustainable Development Network (YSDN) and Action for Nature. Afrika Youth Caravan is a roadmap that brings together regional compatriots to shape the Afrikan message of resilience ahead of COP27. The message from the Caravan seeks to challenge the notion that Afrikan youth for a while have simply been called to tick the diversity card.
Core to the messaging of the Caravan agenda are resilience, a just energy transition and youth action.
Find out more about Afrika Youth Caravan.
Youth4Nature is a youth-led, international non-profit organization that educates, empowers, and mobilises young people to lead on solutions for the ecological and climate crises that are rooted in science, aligned with traditional, local and Indigenous knowledge, and grounded in climate and intergenerational justice. Their mission is three-fold:
- To mobilise decision-makers to take ambitious action for nature and climate by 2030 that creates co-benefits for social and human well-being.
- To elevate the voices of youth by providing a platform to share their stories and have them be heard.
- To bridge youth action between the biodiversity and climate movements, while building their capacity as stewards for nature and climate.
Climate Youth Negotiator Programme (CYNP)
“Without nature, we humans would not exist and could not survive. Nature is our beginning and our end.” – Christian Eduardo Fernande Davila, CYNP
The Climate Youth Negotiator Programme (CYNP) is a global, holistic, intergenerational programme to build a strong, diverse pipeline of climate change negotiators to lead the world’s most important multilateral negotiations. The CYNP will do this by equipping young leaders with the skills, knowledge and networks they need to lead climate change negotiations, whilst also bridging the barriers of inclusivity so that youth from countries who have historically been underrepresented or systemically ignored have equal opportunities to participate in negotiations.
While youth are becoming more aware of social and environmental issues, there still remains a gap in driving real, concrete change. Re-Earth wants to break the echo chamber and bring climate action to the masses, by hosting informational webinars and writing toolkits.
Re-Earth believes climate justice means uplifting the voices of those who have been historically marginalized and frontline communities. They believe in an environmental movement that is accessible to all people and harbours cooperation.
“If we destroy nature, we suffer. If we work with nature, we thrive. It’s simple and boils down to our (collective) choices.” – Shalini Singh, Sparknews
Since its creation, Sparknews has strengthened its expertise to be able to help change agents bring new narratives to life within their organisations, whether they be journalists, employees, managers, organisation leaders, creators or elected officials. Over the past three years, Sparknews has designed and produced some twenty awareness-raising programmes with the media and influencers around the world and conducted more than two hundred missions, events and conferences to raise awareness among thousands of change agents. So many sparks ignited, new narratives emerged and positive action encouraged.
Commonwealth Blue Charter
The Commonwealth Blue Charter is an agreement by all 56 Commonwealth countries to actively cooperate to:
- Solve ocean-related challenges
- Meet commitments for sustainable ocean action.
The underlying principles of the Blue Charter come from the Charter of the Commonwealth, which was signed by Queen Elizabeth II in 2013. The Blue Charter helps Commonwealth countries work together on a fair, inclusive and sustainable approach to ocean protection and economic development.
Hispanic Access Foundation
Hispanic Access Foundation helps improve the quality of life of Latinos in the U.S. through community leaders and local service providers by establishing bridges of access that provide a path for the development and rise of Latino leaders and elevate their voices in areas where they are underrepresented. Their core values are trust, dedication, excellence, service to the community and versatility.
If Not Us Then Who
If Not Us Then Who is a charity that supports a global awareness campaign highlighting the role indigenous and local peoples play in protecting our planet. They work in partnership with communities to make films, take photographs, curate content, commission local artists and host events. Their work aims to build lasting networks, target unjust policies, and advocate for greater rights for indigenous and local peoples to bring about positive social change.
Nature4Climate is producing a series of short documentaries on how Indigenous Peoples and local communities are leading solutions on the ground – check out the first ones!
Mino Bimaadiziwin Collective
“Indigenous Peoples have an inherent right to be here, as the original caretakers of the lands. As we’re currently protecting 80% of the world’s biodiversity, our participation is required here to ensure further destruction is not allowed. Indigenous Youth, in particular, are needed here to ensure our next seven generations will have land to live and learn from.” – Sarah Hanson, Mino Bimaadiziwin Collective
Mino Bimaadiziwin Collective is the launch name for the global network of Indigenous youth who are working to create a just world through projects with and for their local environments for Climate Justice. Building on the unique ancestral knowledge and community-based approaches of members, the collective will empower Indigenous youth to lead and design authentic experiences that shift the narrative from current tokenistic, extractive, and unpaid opportunities. By creating a brave space for global cooperation, providing holistic professional development opportunities, and partnerships built on mutual respect and reciprocal collaboration, this by-Indigenous-youth, for-Indigenous-youth initiative will equip the next generation of leaders needed to lead change.