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Youth climate activism: how Climate Finance is shaping a greener future

A project named Climate Finance has been introduced to help poorer countries battle climate change.

An international youth movement against climate change has been inspired by Greta Thunberg, the teen climate activist from Sweden, who staged the first “School Strike for Climate Change” in front of the Swedish Parliament in August 2018.

Since then students from across the world have been joining her #FridayforFuture demonstrations. While responses from countries like the UK, Germany, Australia, Japan and many more developed regions are overwhelming, the engagement of young people from less advanced countries hasn't been as prolific, this is due to the lack of action opportunity and resources.

To address this issue, a project known as Climate Finance was introduced. It involves reallocation of financial resources from developed countries to poorer nations in order to help the later cut their carbon emission and adapt to climate change.

This financial assistance was once channelled by Global Environment Facility (GEF) either directly or through dedicated funds that this body administers itself such as the Special Climate Change Fund and the Least Developed Country Fund. Although, over the years, it has been seen as mainly being dominated by developed countries.

“Without finance, we are not going to be able to achieve our climate change goals,” says Rodney Carval, the Climate Finance Project Coordinator at the Eswatini Ministry of Tourism and Environmental Affairs, who was also among one of the 100 winners of Green Tickets to the UN Youth Climate Action Summit in September 2019, for his contribution in enhancing financial access to build a low-carbon and climate-resilient Eswatini.

Green Tickets” are funded opportunities offered by the UN recognising powerful young people leading climate change movement and to encourage more young generation, in particular, from the least developed countries to participate in the Youth Climate Summit—the tickets include travels to and from New York.

Working with shareholders involved in tackling climate change from across all industries, Carval shares opportunities in climate finance and provides instructions for accessing these funds.

Photo credit: Rodney Carval

Understanding the lack of knowledge and opportunities that influences young people to join climate action movements in his country, Carval has been working closely with initiatives for youth climate action such as trash picking campaigns and youth entrepreneurship in climate change. He has also been involved with the Climate Coalition of Eswatini, an organisation formed by young people to advocate for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

“We need a transformational shift in our societies that will build resiliency in tackling climate change.”  - Rodney Carval

In the interview with China Youth Climate Action Network (CYCAN), he said: “I have never been so impressed with the level of interest and commitment that young people are showing to fight against climate change.”

His activism has brought real changes to his country. Thanks to the project he had carried out to develop the use of solar energy in a local hospital, resources now have been utilised more efficiently. “I believe that behavioural changes are significant in combating climate change,” Carval says, “every citizen of the globe has a role to play.”

He also told CYCAN that it is urgent to advocate for policies that will create an environment that enables engagement from more young people into climate action. “We need a transformational shift in our societies that will build resiliency in tackling climate change,” said Carval.

This year, a hundred tickets had been offered to young people aged between 18 and 29 to apply. The allocation of Green Tickets was based on a demonstrated commitment to climate action and problem-solving as well as considerations of need. A gender-balanced group of a hundred young people representing 100 countries were awarded this ticket.

For more information about Green Tickets, please visit Youth Climate Change Summit 2019. You can also get some ideas about how you can help to stop climate change here.
Photo credit: Ink Drop/ Shutterstock.com