On International Youth Day
Time for Increased Youth involvement in Climate Decision-Making
On International Youth Day, Saturday August 12th, World Vision Ireland are supporting this year’s theme: Green Skills for Youth: Towards a Sustainable World.
“It’s a theme,” says World Vision Ireland CEO Gillian Barnett, “that we are focussed on in our daily work, as part of the world’s largest child-focussed humanitarian and development organisation.”
“We are deeply committed to supporting children and young people, and finding ways to ensure their voices are heard in discussions impacting their future safety and wellbeing.
Climate change is disproportionately effecting the lives of vulnerable children and their families in some of the world’s most challenging places, and building ‘Green’ skills is vital, if children are to survive and thrive into the future.”
As part of their commitment to ensuring that children’s voices are heard, World Vision Ireland’s work has included founding the joint Tanzania-Galway SautiYouth Project, an initiative aimed at supporting children’s engagement in political advocacy at a local level. Last December, SautiYouth member, 15-year-old Shania Ramadhani from Tanzania, appeared before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence, to address members on the urgent topic of climate change and the need to have youth voices involved at every level of political decision-making.
Her address came in the wake of a previous visit to COP 27, where Shania spoke as a SautiYouth member and World Vision International Child Ambassador, at the showcase event “At the Frontline: Children and Adolescent-led Action for Climate Change,” for Youth and Futures Day.
Gillian Barnett recalls: “When Shania spoke at COP 27, she spoke about climate change from the perspective of a young person living in a community and a country already being ravaged by the environmental emergency. But even here in Ireland, young people are acutely aware of how climate change is having an impact on their lives and future potential. The shift towards an environmentally sustainable world is critical. Children and young people throughout the world must be given the chance to develop green skills and knowledge, and they must be included in discussions on climate that can decide the course of their futures and their very survival.”