The GEF Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP), implemented by UNDP, is proud to be featured in "Youth in Action on Climate Change: Inspiration from Around the World", a new publication of the United Nations Joint Framework Initiative on Children, Youth and Climate Change. The publication made its debut at the Bonn Climate Change Conference where students and delegates from across the globe gathered to exchange ideas and mobilize for future action. The publication was launched at a side event organized by the by the UNFCCC Secretariat on June 11 and moderated by Cecilia Wesslén, World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). During the event, Daniele Violetti from the UNFCCC Secretariat congratulated young people for their engagement and dedication in the fight against climate change. Tony Carritt from the European Commission, stressed that the publication demonstrates that increased engagement of youth in the UNFCCC process mirrors growing climate action by young people in their own countries and stated that SGP's bamboo bicycle project is an excellent example that should be replicated in time for the UNFCCC COP 19, so that all EU delegates could avoid transportation and take bamboo bikes to the conference from their hotels.
Representing SGP was Daniel Buckley from UNDP, who presented SGP's approach to working and engaging with youth with 4 case studies highlighted in the publication: Ghana, Barbados, Morocco and China. Through SGP's support, the Bright Generation Community Foundation in Ghana is training youth how to produce and manufacture bamboo bikes to tackle climate change by promoting sustainable transport alternative; while also providing opportunities to disadvantaged youth. The project provided technical training on bamboo planting and harvesting and bamboo bike manufacturing. As a result, 10 youth now have full time jobs and manage 244 acres of a bamboo plantation and a nursery to produce seedlings. Bamboo bikes are environmentally friendly and low-energy alternative to steel frames, in addition, bamboo is good for carbon sequestration and oxygen production as well as native forest stabilization. This SGP project won several awards, including the Samsung Generations for Peace Award.
Another featured project involved student volunteers in Beijing, who lowered energy consumption in residents of the Wangjing Community. Fifteen volunteers from eight universities working in partnership with the All China Environment Federation analyzed energy consumption habits of 10,000 households by canvassing in the community to teach energy saving techniques and record household consumption rates. After one year the students had effectively reached out to around 30,000 residents and achieved noticeable reductions in power consumption as well as observable changes to energy-use habits and preference for more energy-efficient products and appliances. The efforts led to the publication of "The Studies on the Incentives of Energy Conservation and Carbon Reduction in Communities in Beijing" in the China Environment Daily. The work has further been received by several government ministries and commissions for review.
To learn more about these successes and many others, read the report here.
Further information from the Bonn Climate Change Conference can be found here.
* Picture of Tony Carritt courtesy of IISD