Youth Climate Summit Brings Climate Champions Together to Accelerate Action

Last month saw the first UN Youth Climate Summit ever held, which took place on 21 September, 2019 in New York, and brought together more than 700 young activists from around the world calling for urgent action on the climate crisis. A representative of the Fridays for Future movement in the Czech Republic, Lucie Smolková (who has also been connecting this movement to RCE Czechia), was one of 100 young climate champions chosen to participate (a 'Green Ticket' awardee), selected from over 7,000 applicants worldwide.  

The programme for the one-day summit included panel discussions, side events, and workshops, which provided young leaders with the opportunity to share and learn from one another about their projects and the actions and solutions which will make a difference moving forward.

Ms. Smolková participated in the 'Anatomy of Influence' workshop, led by the Youth Working Group, which provided participants with insights into how to build networks and partnerships, as well as how to engage with political decision-makers.

Key to this is an understanding of personal abilities and where these can be utilised, as well as how to connect the public with politics. This session gave participants a chance to discuss experiences from their own countries, highlighting the commonalities and challenges faced, especially regionally, as is the case that Ms. Smolková found discussing with other participants in the V4 (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia) in relation to the climate change debate.

Whilst it is promising that more young people are being heard and are playing a role in the process, there is a large task ahead if the climate crisis is to be solved. For Ms. Smolková, if we are to fix the current situation, cooperation is needed on all levels: "Definitely it's great that young people are involved, and that finally they have a say into the debate, but for me there is a certain point where we need also to get other people involved...".

"Young people were able to change the momentum, and it is already creating some great shifts in the society and public debate, but we are not able to construct the solutions, we need people with expertise to create those, and we need different fields of expertise – science, politics, business, agriculture, industries, infrastructure, health and energetics to communicate together and cooperate...", says Ms. Smolková. Cooperation is vital, beginning with discussions at the local level, in order to foster constructive approaches that will lead to positive changes.

(Photo credit: Lucie Smolková)