Young Jordanians lead climate action at LCOY conference

(Photo: UNICEF)
“Climate action is not optional; it is one of the most important things to think about right now,” said Anmar Saifan, a 25-year-old Jordanian climate change activist.  اضافة اعلان

On Monday, October 2, 200 young people from all across Jordan commenced this year's Local Conference of Youth on Climate Change (LCOY), coming together to take urgent action on one of the defining issues for their generation. The event was hosted by the Ministry of Youth and Ministry of Environment in partnership with UNICEF, Generations for Peace, Hussein Technical University (HTU) supported by Bank al Etihad and KOICA.

Saifan, a participant in LCOY, expressed, "Climate change is one of the most important issues the world is facing nowadays." He added, "This is my second time at LCOY, and I am part of the team working on the policy paper, which will be shared with the MoE about the role of youth in climate change in Jordan."

"Unfortunately, the Middle East region is facing huge crises due to climate change. To address that, we need teamwork and to join forces," he continued.

"We need to learn from other countries' experiences. The floods and natural disasters occurring around the world, in places we never thought it would actually happen, are very scary and shocking," Saifan noted.

Provides a platform for adolescents and youth to come together
LCOY Jordan takes place under the banner of "YOUNGO," the official youth constituency of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The conference provides a platform for adolescents and youth to come together to share experiences, ideas, and offer solutions to tackle climate change and promote green growth.

During the conference’s opening session, Minister of Youth Mohammad Nabulsi emphasized the crucial role in youth facing the challenges of climate change. He stressed the need for innovative youth-led solutions.

Meanwhile, Philippe Duamelle, UNICEF representative to Jordan, emphasized, "young people must be empowered, educated, and given a platform to participate in efforts to tackle the critical challenge of climate change, which is threatening their well-being and futures."

LCOY is the platform where young individuals can discuss ideas and challenges
Duamelle told Jordan News that LCOY is the platform where young individuals can discuss ideas and challenges of climate change and have their voices and the results of their work carried to COP28 by the government of Jordan in November.

According to Duamelle, 40 percent of the world's demographic today are under the age of 25, which means that children, adolescents, and young people are potentially going to be significantly impacted by climate change. He explained, "Climate change will significantly affect the rights of children around the world; however, children and young people are not only potential victims of climate change but also potential key actors and agents of change who can significantly contribute to shaping and implementing the global agenda in addressing climate change challenges." He also indicated that young people can increasingly engage in the green economy and green businesses, which hold significant potential in the economic future in Jordan and the world.

"Together with our partners in Government, development partners, and the private sector, UNICEF is committed to enabling young people to take a lead on climate action," Duamelle added.

Furthermore, Nabulsi continued by saying "young people have a chance today, through participating in such events locally and internationally, to learn more about the experiences of other countries." He added, "LCOY is evidence of Jordanian youth momentum on the topic of climate change."

The Minister of Environment, Muawieh Radaideh, expressed his happiness with the continuous effort and process through LCOY for the third year in a row.

He stated, "As young people, not only in Jordan but in the whole world, will be the key to the global solution for the climate crisis." He emphasized the importance of young Jordanians having an active environmental role regarding climate action and the need for youth to build their activism on a solid foundation of knowledge and science.

According to Radaideh, Jordan has enhanced its commitment by raising its conditional greenhouse gas emissions reduction target to 31 percent by 2030, with 5 percent being Jordan's responsibility and 26 percent hinging on international support. He noted that Jordan, despite not being a big emitter, is setting an example globally.

The role of Jordan: a climate action pioneer country
 He added, "The role of youth in Jordan is to help in moving forward towards the future to continue being a climate action pioneer country. We have a clear path with our policies through the EMV to reach our goals, which are practical and require all facets of society to come together, specifically youth. We are looking forward to the recommendations of young people by the end of the conference."

The Ministry of Environment launched a significant initiative with the Ministry of Education called "I Belong to My School," and the curricula from grade 1 to 12 now include environment and climate change-related subjects. The minister stated, "We aim to build a foundation of knowledge from schools to help build healthy communities and environments for our kids, which will reflect on their well-being."

Sara Assaf, another participant in the conference, is also a climate activist in a climate change movement called Youth for Climate Jordan. She said, "Our goal is to raise awareness about climate change and climate action." She added, "I believe LCOY is a great way to raise awareness regarding climate change and its impact, especially since there are young people from all over Jordan who may not know how bad it is. We are witnessing how people are losing their lands and their houses, which grows the fear of losing our country."

Water scarcity
She emphasized the need for action beyond awareness due to Jordan's status as one of the poorest countries in the world regarding water.

"My experience and the knowledge I are gaining from LCOY will be beneficial for me, and I will be able to share it with my peers within my community and our home as well. As women, we need to raise awareness with our children too and teach them about climate change," Assaf added.

The event will culminate in an urgent call for action with a youth statement containing concrete policy asks and reinforcing young people's own commitment. The statement will be presented to the Ministers of Environment and Youth and ultimately form part of the official contribution from Jordan at the COP28 Climate Change Summit in Dubai next month.

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