Voices of Youth
Realizing a Green Future for Asia and the Pacific
The climate crisis is a rights crisis for young people. Across Asia and the Pacific, countries are experiencing record temperatures, wildfires, flooding and typhoons like never before. Climate change infringes on all aspects of young peoples’ rights, including their right to education, clean water, adequate nutrition and a safe environment, all of which are outlined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. This convention, in addition to the 2015 Paris Agreement, has been ratified by all countries across Asia and the Pacific.
In addition, children and youth often remain excluded from the climate policy and decision-making processes, meaning they have little or no say in the issues which affect their futures. As such, countries across Asia and the Pacific continue to rank poorly in the Youth Progress Index results, scoring the lowest in freedom of assembly and the freedom of expression, which remain some of the greatest barriers to youth mobilisation and advocacy for climate action in the region.
The 2030 agenda, along with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement, all call for urgent action to address climate change. However, despite multiple collective action efforts in recent years, the rapid, transformative action required to avert the dangers of breaching the 1.5 °C increase threshold, have yet to take place at scale. The challenges brought upon by the COVID-19 pandemic have further delayed action and exacerbated inequalities for young people. This in turn has led to a reduction in the number of opportunities for their meaningful participation in political processes, education and employment.
Despite these challenges, millions of young people across the region remain passionate about protecting their natural environments. Climate change is not inevitable and the young people of Asia and the Pacific are an important part of the solution.
The Stockholm +50 Conference, held on 2-3 June, 2022, aimed to tackle some of these challenges and provide young people with an opportunity to influence the climate agenda. The event also celebrated five decades since the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment.
In order to ensure strong youth participation at the event, YECAP and the youth fellows, with the support of Sida, organised a series of national and regional consultations for young people. Consultations were held across 9 countries (Fig.1) in addition to two regional consultations, with more than 4,000 young people attending the events The consultations provided a platform for young people, particularly those from marginalised communities, to raise their voices and influence climate action both at home and abroad.