Empowering Youth in Climate Conversations: Insights from Ms. Siham Mourabit, Deputy Ambassador of Morocco to Kenya

Climate change has over the last few years become a critical issue that demands the attention of everyone, especially in a collective manner involving the youth, children, and people with disabilities (PWDs).

Young people are the future decision-makers, voters, and business leaders. The habits and approaches they adopt today will influence how societies address climate change in the coming decades.

Neglecting the youth in climate discussions is neglecting the very generation that will inherit the planet and determine its future. Their voices, ideas, and actions are essential to building a more sustainable and resilient world.

To get a better perspective on the role of the youth in the current atmosphere, Kwabe Victor– Environmental Journalist, at Climate Lens News discussed with Ms. Siham Mourabit the Deputy Permanent Representative to UNEP and UN-HABITAT.

Ms. Mourabit who also serves as the Deputy Ambassador of Morocco to Kenya, South Sudan and Somalia reveals how crucial and significant it is to involve the youth in environmental dialogues, noting that their crucial contributions to the discussions are of great value to the international debate.

“We are convinced that to safeguard future generations and prepare them for future leadership roles in protecting the environment, there is a need to include them as key stakeholders and engage them meaningfully,” said Ms. Siham.

Ms. Siham Mourabit the Deputy Permanent Representative to UNEP and UN-HABITAT.

Having witnessed the Global Youth Environment Assembly (GYEA) organized by the Children and Youth Major Group (CYMG), Ms. Mourabit commended the inclusive approach adopted to engage young people in environmental issues.

She stressed the necessity of nurturing a sense of environmental consciousness among citizens, particularly the younger generation, to foster a collective commitment to conservation efforts.

Ms. Mourabit plays a key role in the UNEA-6 presidency’s team which Morocco has assumed for the past two years (2022-2024) through Her Excellency, Honorable Minister of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development of the Kingdom of Morocco, Ms. Leila Benali.

Ms Mourabit highlighted the active role and involvement of young people in driving actions to tackle the triple planetary crisis. She underscored the importance of sustainable and equitable initiatives to preserve the environment and secure to world citizens the right to a healthy, clean, and sustainable environment which aimed at safeguarding the livelihoods of future generations.

She acknowledged the inspirational dedication of youth in various aspects of environmental engagement, including discussions, advocacy, and recommendations, and emphasized the transformative potential of their contributions during the negotiations of draft resolutions.

As a part of the presidency of UNEA-6, Ms. Mourabit noted the progress made in recent years, with the creation of the Youth Environment Assembly, contrasting it with the lack of similar platforms and such opportunities, during her youth, where young people can express themselves and interact with policymakers and government representatives.

She voiced her pride to see the Ministerial Declaration, as one of the main outcomes of UNEA-6 under the Presidency of the Kingdom of Morocco, welcoming the role of the Children and Youth Major Group and the Youth Environment Assembly (YEA) in fostering active youth participation in multilateral environmental governance.

In the company of young people during the Global Youth Environment Assembly (GYEA)

She expressed gratitude to donors, UNEP, and member states for their support in allowing the participation of young people in such important Intergovernmental meetings. Ms. Mourabit called for continued backing to sustain and expand youth involvement in environmental meetings. She highlighted initiatives led by Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Hasnaa, President of the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection, aimed at empowering and capacitating young people in environmental matters.

Morocco’s proactive stance on climate action was underscored, particularly its leadership in providing agricultural fertilizers and know-how to support and enhance food production across Africa. Ms. Mourabit emphasized that engaging young people is essential not only for addressing immediate challenges like plastic pollution but also for ensuring the continuity of conservation efforts across generations.

The commitment of Morocco to reduce emissions was exemplified through Morocco’s national sustainable development Strategy and the country’s transition energy strategy which provides the foundational basis for national efforts in favor of climate action, and the decarbonization of Morocco’s economy, including through the production by 2030 of 52% of electricity from renewable energies.

Other initiatives such as those led by the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection, which actively supports educational programs for sustainable development targeting decision makers, the youth in particular, and the public in general, are meant to prepare future generations for the preservation of living environments and long-term commitment to sustainable development.

Notably, initiatives such as the Bilan Carbone tool, showcased at COP28 in Dubai, demonstrate Morocco’s dedication to assessing and mitigating its carbon footprint.

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