This year, Italian Climate Network participates to the ‘Environment, Climate Justice and Energy Transition‘ working group of the C20 (Civil 20), the official G20 engagement group representing civil society. In addition to drafting policy recommendations to be forwarded to governments before the Leaders’ Summit, the C20 organises seminars throughout the year to raise awareness on the most critical issues. In this context, the working group held a side event on  July 29th on ‘Promoting Partnerships in Energy Transition’, a collaboration between the three members of this year’s G20 Troika: Italy (G20 2021 Presidency), Indonesia (2022) and India (2023). ICN volunteer Teresa Giuffrè was on the panel of speakers as Italian representative.

The discussion included an exchange of ideas on how to ensure an equitable energy transition that takes into account all stakeholders. In particular, Teresa’s speech addressed the issue of involving young people in the sector. While the involvement of young people in solving the climate change problem is of paramount importance because it is a key issue for their future, the younger generation is also a force for innovation, able to contribute with new ideas and perspectives. Young people can contribute to create a new, decarbonised and decentralised energy systems that put the community at the centre, ensuring inclusiveness

However, as Teresa pointed out, youth participation is often only symbolic and concrete support from the sector is still lacking. In particular, the following gaps can be identified: funding opportunities for youth-led initiatives (such as start-ups); capacity-building opportunities for technical and entrepreneurial skills; partnerships between academia and the private sector to ensure skills that reflect the needs of the green market of the future; tools that make entry into employment and career progression easier and more transparent; inclusive and equitable access, especially for students from the most vulnerable and underrepresented communities (e.g. with scholarships). 

In summary, youth participation cannot simply be a box to be ticked. Young professionals, leaders and entrepreneurs need support to hone their skills: in this way they will become pioneers of innovative solutions that will help accelerate the energy transition

The UN representative attending the event, Hawa Diallo (head of the Civil Society Unit of the Department of Public Information), also recalled the key role that young people have to play in challenging the status quo and urged civil society not to give up despite the obstacles that prevent full participation in decision-making processes. 

The group efforts will culminate in the C20 Summit, which will take place in Bali from 5 to 7 October. ICN volunteer Teresa has been selected to participate as a delegate of the working group. On that occasion, the C20 will present its policy recommendations to Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo, in the hope that the leaders of the most industrialised countries – responsible for about 75 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions – will start paying attention.

by Teresa Giuffrè, Italian Climate Network Volunteer

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