The youth weigh in on COP27
IFAD Asset Request Portlet
The youth weigh in on COP27Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
The panel at IFAD's youth event at COP27. From L-R: Ajibike Oluwafunmilayo Olawale, Hubert Tchuigoua, Zeinorin Angkang, Raúl Mondragón Segura and Okeola Olajumoke Racheal.
Climate change is one the most important drivers shaping the livelihoods and futures of the world’s youth. As today’s young people grow into tomorrow’s adults, the impacts of climate change are simultaneously growing and worsening.
But young people are not only victims of the climate crisis. They are also valuable contributors to climate action.
With 600 million young people living in rural areas, putting rural youth at the heart of climate discussions is crucial for a sustainable and resilient future.
That’s why, at COP27 we partnered with the Slow Food Youth Network to host an event on Youth and Future Generations Day that harnessed the voices of rural youth for a greener future. This event connected the audience with the lives and ambitions of young innovators and activists.
We asked three of them about their experiences at COP27.
How did it feel to be at COP?
Raul: It was great. It felt satisfying and enriching to be at a forum like COP. Our contributions add up to the global conversation, to be heard and seen, to be available to talk about our projects, our wins and obstacles.
It was also rewarding to know the global agenda, what other countries are up to and how our countries and regions are responding to the impacts of climate change.
Funmilayo: It felt amazing to be at COP27. It was an honour and a privilege to be in attendance with other world changers in various fields and world leaders.
Zeinorin: Representation matters. It felt great to represent indigenous communities, especially as a rural youth, and to share how we are solving problems at the frontlines of climate change and how we need to be supported.
There’s lack of awareness of collaboration, partnerships, possibilities and platforms. Being at COP with IFAD was great exposure. As a changemaker, I see myself as a link from my community to the larger perspective.
What has COP done for young people?
Funmilayo: COP27 has created a platform for inclusion for young people and has given them a voice in critical issues affecting our world. It has also helped to stimulate a hunger for high-level involvement in climate issues. Most importantly, it has delivered a possibility mentality to young people as a result of the numerous, impactful and inspirational dialogues.
Zeinorin: COP27 concluded with a historic decision to establish a loss and damage fund. Developed countries agreed to something they had refused for decades—to pay for climate disasters in developing countries.
It’s a start of what it can do for young people. We have to aim for a brighter future. Now, more young people must engage more in the complexities of climate change. We need to work together.
Raul: Space, time and credit. Through organizations, such as IFAD, we can have these three elements, as well as the opportunity to talk about ourselves and to make our work visible.
What needs to change for COP to have greater impact?
Zeinorin: Greater climate ambition and really adhering to commitments.
Raul: More diversity and more voices, especially from those most vulnerable or silenced like indigenous peoples and women. We also need more genuine openness from political and business leaders to have uncomfortable or difficult conversations.
Funmilayo: More practicality needs to be embraced for greater impact.
Ajibike Oluwafunmilayo Olawale (Funmilayo) is co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of JR Farms Nigeria Limited, an agribusiness company that aims to transform agriculture in Africa.
Raúl Mondragón Segura is the founder of Colectivo Ahuejote which aspires to reactivate and promote Chinampas agriculture in Mexico City.
Zeinorin Angkang is the founder of Hill Wild, an organisation that works with indigenous farmers in North-East India to eradicate poverty by elevating their income through entrepreneurship.
Find out more about IFAD’s work with young people.
Watch the recording of our youth-focused event at COP27.Publication date: 24 November 2022