8 December 2023, Dubai. – The United Nations Climate Change Conference taking place in Dubai this year (and very commonly known as COP28) is a crucial gathering in the ongoing battle against climate change. Among the prominent speakers was Leah Namugerwa, representing the UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board. Her insights at the press conference of International Association for the Advancement of Innovative Approaches to Global Challenges (IAAI GloCha) were particularly impactful, blending her role with the UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board and the broader context of youth engagement in sustainable urbanization.
When given the floor, Leah began by thanking IAAI on behalf of UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board for allowing her to speak at the event. She underscored the vital role of youth in tackling climate change in cities, emphasizing their capacity to offer innovative solutions for the future.
Her speech was a clarion call for inclusivity, urging the audience to heed the perspectives of young people, who bring novel ideas in various fields, including art and technology.
Leah concluded with an appeal for urgent action against climate change, treating it as an emergency.
Adding to the context of her speech, the UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board’s statement on World Cities Day 2023, delivered in Istanbul, aligns closely with Leah’s message. The Board emphasized the significance of youth involvement in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. They highlighted a collective mission to promote sustainability, justice, and a unified approach to addressing global challenges.
The Youth Advisory Board’s statement builds on the Youth DeclarACTION for Sustainable Urbanization and stresses the critical connection between youth and the future of urban areas. They advocate for a new financing framework for sustainable urban development, essential for economic initiatives that improve youth livelihoods.
The Board and Leah both recognize the urgent need for collective action against climate change. Youth engagement is seen as pivotal in this struggle. They call upon governments and institutions to support youth-driven initiatives and projects.