How To Ensure Outcomes Of UNEA And Stockholm +50 Are Implemented
March 15, 2022
Building momentum and action on environmental agreements
On the last day of the Youth Environmental Assembly (YEA), 27th of February 2022, prior to UNEA 5.2, EARTHDAY.ORG conducted a capacity building session in partnership with the National Council of Swedish Youth Organizations (LSU). The session was attended by more than fifty youths from across the world in person and 30 participating virtually.
The capacity building session taught youth how to transform policy and outcomes into action, ensuring they are implemented effectively. Among the speakers was Noura Berrouba, President of LSU and Amanda Björksell from LSU, Krystof Stupka a youth activist from Czech Republic and Jean-betrand Mhandu, Regional Director for EARTHDAY.ORG – Africa, moderator of the session. The session was very interactive, conducted in a round table manner with all participants engaged.
Amongst the topics discussed was, policy formulation processes and the significance of policy in environment and climate action. Noura highlighted the importance of youth participation in policy and how policies are the principle of action and a blueprint set to ensure we attain certain goals collectively as countries or communities. “There is an ecosystem of policy implementation, one in that ecosystem of course, it’s the policy makers themselves. [I] am often pessimistic about what they would do themselves without any accountability from the outside, so that’s kind of the other parts of the ecosystem coming in. Activists, campaigners, youth NGOs, media, social media activists can all play a role in pushing for agreements to be implemented. We are all rights holders and we have these duty bearers who are not sufficiently doing what they have promised,” Noura said.
With the urgent need for planetary transformation and restoration, several resolutions were proposed for UNEA and with the upcoming Stockholm+50 commemoration. We recognize the importance of multilateralism in tackling the Earth’s triple planetary crisis – climate, nature, and pollution. Despite the aims to act as a springboard to accelerate the implementation of the UN Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals, including the 2030 Agenda, Paris Agreement on climate change, the post-2020 global Biodiversity Framework, and encourage the adoption of green post-COVID-19 recovery plans, Krystof believes that people are starting to realize that it is important to put pressure on politicians and to utilize really creative and powerful ways on how to keep this pressure. He added on the importance of scrutinizing different levels of policymakers and reasons why the policy implementation stalls. Krystof added, “What I find useful is when it comes to long term, these things are better advocated at the local level or for example at the EU or UN because member states are generally fighting the bigger issues of today as they say and they are not necessarily focused on issues that go on longer than one election cycle. But in comparison to local politicians, a mayor for example the length of the electoral cycle is the same as of parliament in most states but actually the mayor has this sort of authority or approach to it as if they want to stay in power for longer.”
The United Nations Environmental Assembly aimed to adopt more than 16 resolutions, declarations and decisions on a wide range of issues, including curbing pollution and protection and restoration of nature. Amanda from LSU reflected on how we can actually reach the change, stating the desire of some duty bearers to do more but are also restrained by the opinions. She sighted that most of these movements of course represent people but they are not the majority, therefore there remains a gap when it comes to the public opinion. The duty bearers and policymakers would want to do more but are limited to the public opinion, hence the need for effective communication. “We really have to work with advocacy and lobbyism and try to reach also the local decision makers, but I think that if we really want them to act we also have to work at the same time with the opinion and explain our motives. In some sense, I think we haven’t done enough to communicate what we think in a way that the public opinion is actually related to,” Amanda added.
Today, youth feel frustration when it comes to states not being accountable for implementation of decisions, agreements, and conventions. The following questions remain: how can we translate policies, agreements, conventions, and declarations to the national and local level? How can we advocate for and implement the policies and agreements that have been made?
This triggered an open discussion that had participants share best practices and recommendations going forward to ensure there is continued enhanced capacity and actions among youths that transform and ensure policy implementation. Among the recommendations and outcomes of the session were:
- Need for increased youth participation in choosing competent leaders;
- Follow up at local level, cascade and communicate the outcomes of these global policies and multilateral agreements at local level;
- Expand the budgets beyond the conferences but also incorporate the implementation of the outcomes;
- Establish sound youth boards; create a database with best practices, demands and calls for action;
- Expand the civic space
- Incorporate indigenous communities and people
To watch the full capacity building session, please visit: https://fb.watch/bF-B2P4CEl/