Local Conference of Youth 2023: Prominent Leaders Unite for a Sustainable Future

Agrilife24.com:The Local Conference of Youth (LCOY) Bangladesh 2023, a 2-day long youth-led conference hosted by Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), commenced on October 8 at Bangla Academy, galvanising Bangladeshi youth to champion the global fight against climate change. The conference featured impactful themes, including climate adaptation, justice, education, collaboration, transition, and nature-based solutions.

ActionAid Bangladesh, Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture, WaterAid Bangladesh and UNDP Bangladesh played the role of Co-Convenor of the conference while ICCCAD, Malala Fund, Embassy of Sweden in Dhaka and UAE Embassy in Dhaka were the strategic partners, and 13 youth led organizations were actively working in climate action centering the LCOY. The conference unfolded in two vital segments: Pre-Events and main conference of LCOY Bangladesh 2023. More than 300 delegates, youth participants,

UN representatives, Govt. officials, INOs, CSOs, academicians, and distinguished guests joined the conference and through the process, more than 15,000 enthusiastic youths from all over the country were mobilized.

The event kicked off with compelling speeches. Abdul Muhimin Bin Faruk, the Focal Point of LCOY Bangladesh 2023, ignited the spirit of unity in youth to combat climate change. Edwin KoekKoek, Team Leader, Green Inclusive Development and Social Protection of EU Delegation to Bangladesh, credited young climate activists for the success of the 'European Green Deal.' Dr. Susan Vize, Officer-in-Charge of UNESCO, called for inclusive and solution-oriented approaches to tackle climate change.

The Honourable Deputy Minister, Ms Habibun Nahar MP, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) stirred the audience, recognizing the youth's pivotal role in climate action. Dr. Rudaba Khondker, Country Director of GAIN in Bangladesh, emphasized individual and community responsibility.

Day 2 began with a high-level forum exploring youth's climate engagement challenges and opportunities. Distinguished speakers included Sanjay Kumar Bhowmik, the Additional Secretary (Climate Change Wing, Additional Charge) of MoEFCC; M A Akher, Director (Planning), Department of Youth Development of Ministry of Youth and Sports; Mahmudul Hasan, Programme Officer and Youth Coordinator of UNDP Bangladesh; Sumaiye Binte Selim, Programme Coordinator of ICCCAD; and Sohanur Rahman, Executive Coordinator of Youth Net Global. They underscored the youth's potential in climate initiatives. A gripping drama, "Haor er Jolkotha" (Tales of the Wetlands), depicted climate change consequences, amplifying the call for action.

The closing ceremony celebrated achievements. Mehedi Hasan Bappy from LCOY Bangladesh Secretariat, GAIN shared the 11 Youth Declaration Demands focusing on subjects like Climate Justice and Human Rights, Adaptation and Resilience, Loss and Damage, Climate Action and Empowerment (ACE), Energy, Health, Food system, Water, Nature and Biodiversity, Technology and Innovation. A detailed Bangladesh youth statement from LCOY Bangladesh will be presented to the Conference of Youth (COY) and Conference of Parties (COP) in the UAE this November. Musharraf Tansen, In-Country Representative, Malala Fund focused on advocating girls' education and climate action. Anowarul Haq, Assistant Resident Representative of UNDP Bangladesh encouraged ambitious actions, H.E. Abdulla Ali Abdulla Khaseif AlHmoudi, UAE Ambassador to Bangladesh and Farah Kabir from Actionaid Bangladesh praised the conference's success.

Head of Operations of LCOY Bangladesh 2023, Zawad Alam shared that it was a great example of meaningful engagement and youth-led initiative to create action in the ground and policy discussion. These inspiring voices left an indelible mark, fueling youth to persist in their climate endeavours. The conference also provided a platform for youth to reflect on the event and their vision for a sustainable future. Together, they exemplified the power of youth in catalyzing climate action and forging a sustainable world.