Youth Community-Based Adaption (YCBA) was an event running in parallel with the CBA10 International Conference (as was explained in the previous article) organized by International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), and Bangladesh Centre for Advance Studies (BCAS). This part of the conference has been specially designed to address youth and targeted to their potential capacity building. The two day long youth conference from 26 to 27 April 2016 was organized by Plan International Bangladesh and International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) along with Save the Children, WaterAid Bangladesh and Bangladesh Youth Environmental Initiative (BYEI).
It is evident that youth carry greater risk taking and adaptation risks and remain the forerunners in innovative thinking at crisis situations. With the climate change risks knocking on the door and in certain cases invading already, the conference was designed to stage the years of experience and knowledge in the human development sector with potentials of young generation and their initiatives. The event was also an incredibly candid platform to both en-kindle and share the capacity of youth in policy making for the present and future climate crisis.
As Dr. Saleemul Huq puts it during the Inaugural session “I am afraid our generation has created the problem. But its for you (youth) to make us keep our promises to save the world as made in the Paris agreement”
The Inaugural Session hosted the presence of around 100 participants along with observers and representatives from the above mentioned organizations. Special Guests included Kimberly Junmookda from Plan International, Prof. Dr. Atiqul Islam, Vice Chancellor, NSU, Dr. Saleemul Huq from ICCCAD and David Satterthwaite, IIED.
The two day long conference on the premises of North South University from 26-27 April saw eight integrated panel sessions with, incredibly creative, climate recreational activities- all upholding the basic theme “Youth Mobilization to Enhancing Urban Community Resilience”. The sessions were conducted by some of the most experienced researchers and professionals from renowned organizations such as Save the Children, Plan International Bangladesh, Wateraid, UNICEF, Red Cross, ActionAid Bangladesh and of course ICCCAD.
The sessions also presented the existing networks of youth initiative and gave chances to the participants to input their ideas. They had the chance to connect with youth representatives working at local levels for future betterment.
An example was seen on the second day of the conference at the Panel Session ‘Voice of Youth: Leadership for Resilience’ led by representatives from Plan International, UNICEF and ActionAid Bangladesh. A district level youth initiative called Youth club presented their work to connect with people around the world through area based Climate Disaster and pollution photos on Instagram. It was amazing to hear them out as they explained how they would harness solutions to deal with those problems by having comments posted by people from different parts of the world facing similar problems. Participants joined in enthusiastically to let them know how urban and well facilitated schools and their clubs may connect with such initiative to make them bigger. One participant from Scholastica school even suggested that these photos may be publicized in magazines like National Geographic and Times to have a global impact.
Eight such happening sessions were divided into two days.
- ‘Gender Equality and Urban Development’ conducted by Tahmina Huq, Jolly Nur Huq, Ina F. Islam and Rigan A. Islam from Plan International and ICCCAD:
A boy being raped in the city of Chittagong was ignored while we commonly see ignorance of women’s contribution in agricultural. The session marked the social perspectives related to gender and how its deteriorating along with the discrimination which may increase over time. A unique concept of Gender Lens was also introduced by Ina F. Rahman.
- ‘Health, Hygiene and Appropriate Sanitation’ by Mr. Mahfuj-ur Rahman from WaterAid:
This explained the present in-appropriation in the sectors of sanitation and hygiene and how this may only lead to worse climate problems.
- Youth Migration in Metropolis by Mr. Musabber Ali Chisty, Ms. Kashfia Nehrin, Mr.Biplob Boddyo, Mr. John Mark Joy and Ms.Yasna Rahman, Ms. Aroza Hoque, Ms. Inui Chakrabarty, Mr. Md. Sariful Islam from ActionAid and ActionAid Activista:
Climate changes are bringing desperate migrating situations from rural to urban areas. Documentaries and discussion help to understand the pressurized situation and the need to overcome it
- Delta Plan 2100: Launching Youth Competition conducted by Rafiqul Islam, Jaap de Heer, Jennifer Khadim from BDP 2100, ICCCAD and Wageningen University:
Delta Plan 2100 aims to create a plan for the eroding delta situations due to climate change. The speakers explain the theories of Back Casting and flexibility for longer time frame to be taken up for this plan. Jennifer Khadim opens Delta Plan Competition that encourages youth to deliver their ideas through essay, art, poster and documentary competition for the delta plan.
Second Day: Three parallel sessions ran at the same time followed by recreational climate games and Theatre acts later in the day.
- Capacity Building for Urban Industrial Entrepreneurs conducted by Professor Mizan R. Khan, Professor A. T. M. Nurul Amin , Md. Moshiur Rahman and Tahmid Huq Easher from North South University:
Interactions between speakers and participants take place to explore the improvising of technological strategies to improve present crisis situation of natural resources and their industrial usage. Tahmid Huq talks about energy efficiency machines as well. The participants develop ideas in groups on given topics that would aid in climate friendly entrepreneurship.
- Voice of Youth: Leadership For Resilience conducted by ActionAid Bangladesh, UNICEF and Plan International:
Youth Club shares their amazing climate initiative while Plan International representative from India presents the climate problems faced in India. The ‘Ayla’ incident and its crisis were discussed in context of youth coming forward to help people in need. This session was an amazing journey through the experiences of speakers and ideas of participants to inspire youth leadership.
- Innovative Thinkers: Exploring Youth Led Community Development in Cities conducted by Climate Tracker and Save the Children International:
Sohara Mehroze is looking after the South Asian side of world’s largest hub of climate journalists called Climate Tracker. She explains the nooks and crannies of writing on environment and how to have it published. Save the Children representatives Moinur and Rahim explores innovative thinking to adapt to climate change and importance of advocacy initiatives to solve climate problems.
- Participatory innovations to manage climate risks: Learning and dialogue through serious game play by Pablo Suarez from Red Crescent Climate Centre- The Netherlands, German Red Cross :
Pablo Suarez is a climate researcher and works at Red Crescent. He loves to improvise and create games that are climate friendly and bring messages of awareness. The games he played at the recreational room of NSU brought out importance of this approach that communicates awareness messages to people in a simple yet fun way.
- Theatre Act Led by Youth:
In the light of the recent earthquake incidents, a group of talented youth volunteered to bring an act on the to-dos during and after earthquakes.
The Climate games were certainly a subject of curiosity and finally when the time came the curiosity met a fun and new way of understanding the significance of group work and attention to climate issues in real life. Pablo, through his games opens up the perspectives of youth to understand the value of social behavior and reactions on the issue of climate change. Practical participatory initiatives are effective indeed but the fact that it could be done through games was certainly innovative to see.
The two day conference successfully drew to its end through accumulating about a hundred young minds in the NSU Auditorium yet again on its concluding session. Chaired by Nahim Razzaq, Member of Parliament, Peoples Republic of Bangladesh, the honorable guests were Shoummo Guho, Deputy Director, Plan International Bangladesh, Dr. Nasrin, Head of Policy and Advocacy, WaterAid Bangladesh, Sharon Hauzi, Director, Save the Children and Prof. G.U, Ahsan, Dean of NSU Life and Health Sciences Department. The participants and volunteers were given certificates for attending the conference.
Opinions from the participants and volunteers only made it more evident that the conference had given them much more than they could have expected. “it was awesome”, as one participant says!
At the end of two days, the participants sat in the concluding session with more vigor to act upon climate problems and with wisdom sharpened through the integrated sessions of fun and interactive knowledge sharing.
As Dr. Nasrin puts it in the ending program, “Strength, courage, faith, trust and champions- these are the five words I recall when I see you all now!”
YCBA Conference as reviewed by 4Matters representative after observation from the venue
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