• Scott Hartley

Scott Hartley

Scott Hartley

Climate Action summit in New York

September 2019 saw the first ever Climate Action Youth Summit which brought together hundreds of young leaders from across the world to the United Nations Headquarters in New York, writes Scott Hartley, who attended the Summit.

For the first time, the General Secretary of the UN, Antonio Gutteres, provided a platform for young people to come together to drive forward the action needed on this important issue.

Following millions of world citizens taking to the streets to strike in protest against climate change, the Summit ensured that the voices of the youth in civil society were directly heard by decision-makers. Many items were discussed, but a unifying response came around the importance of the realisation of the seventeen Global Goals for Sustainable Development (SDGs) with Jayathma Wickramanayake, the UN Youth Peace Envoy, stating, ‘We have to ensure that no one, especially young people, is left behind’. She went on further to express that she saw the SDGs as a vital blueprint for this moving forward to 2030.

As part of the ‘sideline’ events of the High Level Climate Action Summit that were held alongside the 74th General Assembly of the UN, three SGI organisations presented actions they are taking in their respective countries to make the SDGs a reality. On 24 September, ‘Mapting’, an app created by Earth Charter International and SGI, was showcased in the SDG Action Zone.

SGI-UK, SGI-USA and the Soka Gakkai in Japan hosted an event in the Salvation Army Hall attended by Ramu Damodaran, Chief of UN Academic Impact, and Dr Kusumita P Pedersen of the Parliament of the World’s Religions. Both commented that the role of youth is crucial in finding innovative approaches to achieving the SDGs.