On October 11, I participated, as Coordinator of the Italian Climate Network’s Rights and Climate Section, in the event ‘Government and Youth Dialogue: What Proposals for the Climate,’ held in Rome, at the headquarters of Save the Children Italy in the presence of the Minister of the Environment and Energy Security Gilberto Pichetto Fratin.

The event featured a group of female speakers (all young women) -including yours truly- from various civil society organizations who were able to engage with the minister on ‘thorny’ issues related to climate change.:

  • Elisa Gardini, for WWF Italy Young, addressed the issue of agri-food systems, stressing the need to initiate a just transition in this area as well through sustainable management of the agriculture, livestock and fishing sectors accompanied by food education, with widespread prevention and information campaigns, and the implementation of sustainable school canteens accessible to all and in particular children and adolescents to ensure healthy and eco-friendly diets.
  • Carmen Malagesi, for Legambiente, on the other hand, addressed the issue of sustainable energy by stressing the importance of a just transition to renewable energy and the complete abandonment of fossil fuels by 2025. In this sense, she suggested the adoption of more ambitious goals within the new PNIEC (Integrated National Plan for Energy and Climate) for the reduction of climate-altering gas emission levels as well as the need, at the same time, to direct energy infrastructure investment plans to nominate Italy to become the hub of renewable sources.
  • Nadia Paleari, for Change For Planet, stressed the importance of urban sustainability given the challenges that cities and their inhabitants will face due to climate change. In this context, she raised the need for eco-friendly urban design starting with the creation of a sustainable mobility and public transport system, the redevelopment of green areas to reduce temperatures and improve air quality, accompanied by a transparent and shared sustainability performance reporting and evaluation system for the creation of best-practices among Metropolitan Areas.
  • Vera Lazzaro, for Movimento Giovani per Save the Children, emphasized the fundamental role of educating young people to become conscious and resilient citizens to the climate crisis with the readjustment and inclusion in school curricula and university curricula of modules on environmental education and global citizenship as well as the need to ensure youth participation in decision-making processes as those disproportionately impacted by climate change by creating appropriate spaces for listening, training and capacity building. 
  • On the other hand, the undersigned (Erika Moranduzzo) dealt with the topic of climate finance in the context of which I remarked on the need for Italy – as a Developed Country – to do its part in putting developing countries in a position to cope with climate change. In this sense, I called for the speedy implementation of the Italian Climate Fund and the promotion of the New Fund for Losses and Damages both launched at COP27 in a manner consistent with the requests and specific needs of developing countries and in particular through the disbursement of more resources, supporting a transparent and democratic process of management of these funds that sees the inclusion of civil society among the key actors.

From the discussion emerged, on the one hand, the preparedness and sensitivity of young people to the climate issue and the need for urgent action to combat this crisis, from the youngest to the most adult. Contextually, an exhibition was exhibited that returned, also through pictures and drawings, children’s thoughts on how to solve the climate crisis. On the other hand, the Italian government’s interest in the active participation of young people in decision-making processes as well as its willingness to collect relevant proposals emerged.

Thus, the event turned out to be a necessary opportunity to initiate a discussion table with the Italian Government within which to present the proposals/recommendations elaborated by young people for the identification and implementation of solutions to the challenges dictated by climate change by placing the rights of present and future generations at the centre. 

Of course, one cannot help but note that this is only the beginning of a process that perhaps comes late on the ‘roadmap’ given the urgency of the climate crisis. But as ICN we are, nonetheless, glad to have taken part and will work to ensure that this discussion table is kept alive and develops into an ongoing and collaborative process of consultation between government, youth and civil society that can bring about concrete ecological and social transformation for the benefit of all.

Article by Erika Moranduzzo, Climate and Right Coordinator

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