Updated: Oct 30
Written by Fikayo Agha, Global Schools Project Officer
From October 8th to 11th, 2023, Fikayo Agha, Project Officer for Global Schools, had the privilege of representing the Global Schools Program (GSP) as a Youth Delegate at the Middle East and North Africa Climate Week (MENACW). This prestigious event brought together about 600 Youth Delegates who had the opportunity to engage and contribute to the Climate Week organized by the Ministry of Energy of Saudi Arabia. It was a significant honor for Global Schools to be part of this gathering.
The MENACW 2023 brought together technocrats and industry leaders to discuss pressing climate change issues and provided a platform for policymakers, practitioners, businesses, and civil society to exchange on climate solutions, barriers to overcome the climate crisis, and opportunities realized in different regions. The MENACW considered four major systems-based tracks with a view to provide region-focused contributions to inform the global stocktake.
Highlights of Sessions Attended
Critical Minerals for a Just Clean Energy Transition in MENA: This panel session, held on the 9th of October 2021, was organized by the UNFCCC, UNEP, UNESCWA and UNDP. This session highlighted the various innovative ways minerals can be efficiently used to achieve a just energy transition.
Launch of Sustainable Tourism Global Centre Global Solutions Hub: This session featured speakers including Her Excellency Gloria Guevara, the Chief Special Adviser to the Minister for Tourism; Niclas Svenningsen from the UNFCCC; Geoffery Gerard, General Director of IE Foundation and Vice Dean for Strategic Developments and Partnerships, IE Madrid; Jorge Laguna-Cells, Director of One Planet Network, UNEP, and other reputable speakers. The discourse in this session was centered on the innovative travel toolkits and resources that the Global Centre Solutions Hub is putting together towards the realization of sustainable travel and tourism. Drawing inspiration from the work of Global Schools, Fikayo Agha, contributed to the youth intervention session by sharing how Global Schools has designed toolkits and resources to assist educators around the world with integrating ESD in their curricula and the potential impact the Hub will create in ensuring sustainability of tourism and travel.
Youth Capacity Building Session by YOUNGO: This session aptly enlightened youth on how to structure and design climate advocacy plans and community solutions, which involves identifying specific climate-related problems, engaging the relevant stakeholders, and fostering inter-sectoral collaboration.
Side event on Cultivating Change: How Youths Drive Climate-Resilient Food Systems: This session emphasized the pivotal role of youth in nurturing climate-resilient food systems, reflecting the intersection of agriculture and climate change.
Youth4Capacity Side Event, Navigating Just Transition in the MENA region: featuring a diverse panel from the UNDP Rome Centre, Arab Youth for COP, YOUNGO, and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the discourse of this session extensively addressed the challenges and opportunities associated with just transitions in the MENA region.
Personal reflections and takeaways
MENACW 2023 underscored the critical need for increased youth involvement and engagement in shaping climate solutions and policies. It emphasized the importance of leveraging technological advancements to drive the development of clean and renewable energy sources. Furthermore, it highlighted the necessity of meaningful engagement with relevant stakeholders in the creation of youth-driven climate solutions and advocacy plans. These reflections emphasize the vital role that Global Schools and its initiatives play in advancing sustainable development and climate action on a global scale.
The path towards a net zero and climate-resilience world begins with education. We cannot achieve a sustainable environment without educating our minds on the importance of embracing and integrating eco-friendly lifestyles.