Asian-African Youth Dialogue: From COP15 to COP26—Collaboration between Biodiversity and Climate Change Successfully Held
2021-11-17  Source:  

On October 26, 2021, the Asia-African Youth Dialogue: From COP15 to COP26—Collaboration between Biodiversity and Climate Change was held in Nanning, Guangxi, as one of the parallel sub-forums of the ASEAN-China High-Level Forum on Green and Sustainable Development and the ASEAN-China Environmental Cooperation Forum 2021 organized in the 2021 ASEAN-China Year of Sustainable Development Cooperation. The sub-forum was sponsored the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) of China, the People’s Government of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, and the Mission of the People’s Republic of China to ASEAN, hosted by the China-ASEAN Environmental Cooperation Center/Foreign Environmental Cooperation Center of MEE, and the Department of Ecology and Environment of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, and co-hosted by UNICEF China and WWF Beijing Office. More than 100 representatives of Asian and African youth students from universities such as Peking University, Tongji University, Jinan University, and Nanning Normal University, as well as representatives of relevant international organizations and institutions, joined the dialogue through a combination of online and offline methods.


Wu Peng, Director General of the Department of African Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, Turhan Saleh, Resident Representative of UNDP Ethiopia, Silvia Danailov, UNICEF Representative to Senegal, and Yang Mee Eng, Executive Director of ASEAN Foundation, delivered speeches via video, and Zhang Yan, Partnership Specialist of UNICEF China, presided over the meeting.

Wu Peng said that China and Africa have always been a community with common interests and a shared future. Our peoples both yearn for a sound environment and a better life. Both sides confront similar challenges on environmental issues and share common goals in balancing economic development and protecting environment. In the field of environmental protection, China and Africa need to strengthen cooperation and dialogue, share experience in environmental governance and enhance capacity building to build a harmonious community with a shared future. He hoped that youth representatives jointed the sub-forums could exchange views and bring together wisdoms to contribute more creative proposals to biodiversity conservation and climate change, thus encouraging younger generation to engage in the lofty mission of environmental cooperation and green development.

Turhan Saleh said that “collaboration between biodiversity and climate change” as the theme of the Asian-African Youth Dialogue speaks to a common challenge facing the development of Asia and Africa. Representing the future of the world and the country, young people are an important force in continuing to promote global dialogue and multilateral cooperation. He expected all youth representatives to actively contribute their wisdom and schemes to deepen the connotation of environmental cooperation between Africa and Asia and drive forward a joint response to climate change and biodiversity conservation in the region.

Silvia Danilova considered climate change as one of the biggest threats facing children and youth around the world. UNICEF is committed to creating a safe and healthy living environment for children, and has carried out a series of activities in the fields of climate, energy, and environment. UNICEF hopes to work with its partners to draw social attention to the impact of climate change on children and youth, and develop schemes for making the environment better.

Yang Mee Eng highlighted that pragmatic cooperation in environment is essential to regional coordinated development and regional and global sustainable development. In recent years, countries in the region have been actively involved in global environmental governance, and conducted in-depth cooperation in climate change adaptation and environmental protection. She hoped that the youth representatives can take this dialogue as an opportunity to exchange ideas, gather wisdom, and offer suggestions on biodiversity conservation and climate change.

During this meeting, the Asia-African Youth Initiative on Climate Change and Biodiversity was discussed and adopted by youth representatives from Asia and Africa, calling on youths in the region to practice green lifestyle and work together to address environmental issues such as climate change and biodiversity loss.