In collaboration with the Swiss Embassy in Cairo, UNICEF and Egypt’s Government have launched a new National initiative, entitled climate action “Youth For Climate” Caravan to advance youth led climate action.
The inaugural event was held in Maadi Olympic Center in the presence of H.E. Dr. Ashraf Sobhy, Minister of Youth and Sports, Dr.Ali Abu Sena, Chief of the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA), Ms. Elena Panova, the UN Resident Coordinator in Egypt, Mr. Jeremy Hopkins, UNICEF Representative in Egypt, and Actor Ahmed Helmy, UNICEF Regional Goodwill Ambassador.
The “Youth For Climate” Caravan, an equipped mobile van powered by gas, will be led by a team of young people travelling across all the Egyptian governorates kicking off on the 5th of September, according to a statement released on Sunday by UNICEF.
The Caravan will organize various activities during its journey which encompasses capacity building sessions, youth dialogue, competitions, festivals, theatrical performances, bootcamps; as well as, awareness-raising campaigns, the statement said.
In essence, the Caravan roving the country would encourage young people to be fully engaged in the climate discussion and to pave the way for COP27 scheduled for November in Sharm El Sheikh.
Egypt is keen to enable adolescents and youth and to play an effective role within the framework of international efforts to combat climate change.
Globally, all children face challenges associated with climate change and a degrading natural environment. Some children; however, are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change than others – depending largely on the availability, quality, equity, and sustainability of key and essential services for children, such as water and sanitation, health care, nutrition and education.
In his address, Mr. Jeremy Hopkins, UNICEF Representative in Egypt said, “I am thrilled to join you today in launching the Youth and Climate Caravan to raise awareness on an issue that directly touches our lives which is climate change.”
Highlighting the threats of climate change issue, Hopkins said that the climate crisis has exposed children, on every continent, to greater risk of more destructive climate hazards, from heatwaves and droughts to cyclones and flooding, as well as the increase in the pollution levels in water and air which makes us all extremely worried.
“We are proud to be part of the Youth For Climate Caravan which will travel across Egypt with stops along the way to listen to children and young people and to express their concerns, ideas, and recommendations on what we can do to adapt to, mitigate and slow down climate change.”
He continued: “Also, I am glad that the youth are participating in providing interactive activities with all the young people across the Caravan journey to make sure that the voices of young people in Egypt are heard at the Climate Change Summit.”
“I want to extend my gratitude to the GoE for their relentless efforts, and to also thank the USAID and the Swiss Development Cooperation for their substantial support”.
On his part, Sobhi, Minister of Youth and Sports affirmed: “The Ministry’s approach is to educate children and youth about climate change, and the importance of preserving the environment through a package of various projects and programs in cooperation with institutions concerned with climate change and going green, as well as international development partners in light of the directives of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.”
Also in this regard, the Minister indicated that the “Youth For Climate” Caravan will be hosted in climate and environment clubs in youth centers located in various governorates.
In the same connection, the Minister referred that the Ministry of Youth and Sports will organize the “Children of the World Meet” festival next October, as part of the youth preparatory program agenda for the Climate Summit (COP 27), and the Ministry is also working in liaison with the Youth Department of the Secretariat of the United Nations Convention, and in coordination with a number of local organizations, to implement the Climate Youth Conference (COY 17), the Ministry is also working on organizing a special day for youth concerned about climate and to recognize volunteer’s efforts which would be held during the COP 27 summit.
Ms. Elena Panova, UN Resident coordinator also said “Climate Change Caravan is a forward looking and inclusive youth-led climate action initiative. It brings climate-related local solutions from across the country and provides a space for consultations by and for young people in Egypt.” She added, “the engagement of young people comes at the heart of the UN’s work in Egypt. We are committed to stand by their side as they aspire for a more prosperous and resilient Egypt.”
Meanwhile, Helmy thanked the USAID and the Swiss Embassy for their continuous support and cooperation as partners in development.