Global Youth Environment Assembly: Empowering Youth in Climate Action

The inaugural Global Youth Environment Assembly (GYEA) convened by the Children and Youth Major Group (CYMG), in coordination with the United Nations and with the support of donors such as the Government of Sweden, marks a significant milestone. This assembly-themed youth for people and planets serves as a platform led by and for young people, facilitating consultation and engagement to formulate the Youth Declaration, which will be presented during the upcoming UNEA-6.

Global YEA is a platform that gathers young environmental enthusiasts and policy advocates from around the world to participate in policy discussions, knowledge-sharing, and the formulation of the Global Youth Declaration on Environment to be presented at the #UNEA6.

During the assembly, youth leader Alphonce Muia commended the support from donors, emphasizing its indication of faith in the capabilities of young people. He highlighted the imperative for youth involvement, stressing its critical role in shaping a sustainable future and addressing global challenges.

The sixth United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-6) aims to unite global leaders, stakeholders, and diverse actors in environmental conservation efforts. It underscores the challenges posed by the escalating climate change crisis, particularly emphasizing the significant demographic representation of youth aged 15-24, comprising one-sixth of the global population.

This demographic’s inclusion and representation are pivotal, even probability of extending to forums such as the Security Council since young people can fill a country, underscoring the essential role of youth in addressing global challenges.

According to Ms. Elizabeth M. Mrema, Deputy Director of UNEP, empowering youth as a potent force can alter the trajectory set by preceding generations, culminating in the current severity and unprecedented nature of climate impacts. Ms. Mrema urged young people to seize opportunities such as the GYEA to engage meaningfully, fostering a deeper understanding of global challenges and signaling a commitment to avoid repeating past mistakes.

“The world’s youth today are 1.2 billion people. If they were a country, they’d be demanding a seat on the security council thus let’s manifest our power as young people to an end that the power of youth is not just a slogan but a reality. Let’s use it to shape a better world,” said Ms Mrema.

Global Youth Environment Assembly
Ms. Elizabeth M. Mrema, Deputy Director of UNEP

Eng Festus Ng’eno, Principal Secretary of the State Department of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, highlighted the crucial role of youth in advancing climate action and inspiring younger generations to follow suit. He commended young people’s focus in the Global Youth Environment Assembly and on conservation issues and emphasized governmental support as transformative in addressing climate crises.

Global Youth Environment Assembly
PS Festus Nge’no

Furthermore, PS Festus underscored the government’s commitment to youth inclusion, citing initiatives such as the National Climate Action Plan phase 3 (2023-2027), which now incorporates youth participation following previous oversights in the first and second phases. He also noted the significance of the Africa Youth Climate Assembly (AYCA), whose declaration is being presented to African leaders at the African Union annual meeting.

In light of these advancements, PS Festus urged young people to register their initiatives through the UN and government ministries. This, he emphasized, is essential for contributing to the global Stocktake, which plays a vital role in recognizing and supporting meaningful actions toward adaptation and mitigation efforts.

“Intergenerational participation is key for a healthy and prosperous world, and in the fight against the triple planetary crisis,” said PS Festus.

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