United Nations announces new advisers to support young climate voices

On Thursday, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres named seven young climate leaders as his youth advisory group on climate change, emphasizing the role of young advocates for climate action.

They include supporters, tribal land advocates, educators and activists and will serve until the end of next year. They are the second ever group of youth climate advisers, the first having been selected in 2020.

They were selected by Guterres from Poland, Gambia, Saint Lucia, Philippines, Colombia/Paraguay, Ireland and USA. The team will advise the United Nations on climate action and policies.

At the announcement, Guterres urged young climate advocates around the world to continue raising their voices and said young people’s “unrelenting conviction” is essential to keeping climate goals within reach, reducing fuel emissions fossil fuels and ensure climate justice.

Fatou Jeng, a climate educator and frontline activist from The Gambia, now a UN adviser, said she was devastated that her generation will have to bear the brunt of the “climate destruction wrought by the older generation”.

“Young people make up the majority of the African continent’s population and play a crucial role in addressing the impacts of climate change,” said Jeng. “Youth should be at the center of justice and action.”

Accepting her new advisory role, Ayisha Siddiqa, a Pakistani-American tribal land and human rights advocate, said all communities can protect their environment.

“It’s too big a responsibility to try to save everything at once,” Siddiqa said. “We need people working to protect their little corner of the world… My message is: you don’t have to do everything, but give your little corner of the world, your everything.”

From the Fridays for Future movement spearheaded by Greta Thunberg to the recent viral #StopWillow protests on TikTok, young people are being given a significant role in challenging global leaders to take action against the fossil fuel industry.

At a youth climate summit in September 2019, Guterres said his generation has failed to preserve both justice and the environment, and said young people are essential to holding older generations accountable to “make sure we don’t betray the future of humanity”.


The Associated Press’s climate and environmental coverage receives support from several private foundations. Learn more about AP’s climate initiative here. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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