NGFP at COP 27

An intersectional and intergenerational approach.

One of the most inspiring things at the UN‘s COP 27 conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, is the connection between various generations working together for a better climate future. This has been my first time attending COP in person, and it has also been the first time a COP has a whole pavilion dedicated to Children and Youth.

My NGFP colleagues and I made the most of this space. During our “Youth Climate and Energy Futures Lab”, supported by SOIF, we used the Future Literacy Lab Framework to engage young changemakers in reimagining probable, preferred, and reframed futures that meet the climate and energy needs of all. We have also invited participants to create messages for those attending COP 37 ten years from now.

It is possible to watch the whole session on this link, but one of the key takeaways across the groups participating in this exercise is that climate change will impact people differently and disproportionately.

These socio-economic dimensions of climate change are something I discussed more in-depth as a Lead Table Discussant during the Climate Justice Summit – a COP side-event organised by Business Fights Poverty. One of the summit’s conversations focused on the role of young people in climate innovation and how businesses can help overcome challenges around youth engagement. Having attended the Local Conference of Youth in Kenya (LCOY Kenya) some weeks before, I had the chance to share with a global audience what issues young Kenyans most struggle with in this regard. Stringent fundraising requirements, the lack of awareness about available funds, and the lack of a strong network of young entrepreneurs focused on climate innovation are some of them. Solutions to such challenges involve businesses appreciating young climate innovators’ experiences, being more flexible around funding requirements, and mentoring young people’s networks.

A similar approach applies to the gender dimension of climate change. Businesses need to adopt systems thinking to tackle the root causes of gender inequality and empower women to amplify their voices and the solutions they bring to the table.

This could be summarized in what I told Abigael Kima for the Hali Hewa podcast. We must acknowledge the intergenerational implications of climate change and its disproportionate impacts. Women, children, and youth are the most vulnerable to climate change yet have the least decision-making powers. In addressing this imbalance, there needs to be capacity building for these groups and adopting an intergenerational perspective to all decisions made.

*Iman Bashir is a lawyer working on weaving foresight tools into the field of climate and energy law. She is a member of the NGFP Energy and Climate Hub and a UNICEF Youth Foresight Fellow.