Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, Youth 4 Sustainability (Y4S), a Masdar initiative, will host a dedicated program of youth-focused activities and events at COP28 in Expo City, Dubai, from November 30 to December 12. The Y4S program promotes meaningful, youth-led action on sustainable development and climate change, while amplifying the voices of future sustainability leaders.

On December 6, Y4S will host the final of the Innovate 4 Climate Challenge (I4C). This annual competition invites young people to collaborate to develop innovative solutions to accelerate sustainable development in order to foster creativity, problem-solving skills, and an entrepreneurial spirit. Taking place at Masdar’s Pavilion located in the Energy Transition Hub in COP28’s Green Zone, all solutions will be showcased during the final pitch day at COP28. The final of I4C will now see a select group of competitors pitch their climate mitigation-focused solutions to an expert panel of judges.

On December 8 – COP28’s day for Youth, Children, Education and Skills – Y4S will host the Y4S Forum in the Masdar Pavilion under the theme of “Advancing Youth Participation in Climate Mitigation”. The Forum will provide an important engagement platform and voice for young people and showcase the vital role youth can play in addressing climate change. Through panel discussions, and interactive workshops, participants will have the opportunity to connect and collaborate with like-minded individuals. Panelists include: H.E. Awaidha Murshed Ali Al Marar, Chairman, Department of Energy; Alan Smith, CEO, Aghtia; Esther Wanjiru Kimani, CEO, Farmer Life Technologies, and Maryam Al Mansoori, General Manager, Rebound Plastic.

Y4S’s COP28 program will culminate on December 11 with the Y4S Climate Talk, a 45-minute panel discussion at the Children and Youth Pavilion, under the theme “Reimagining the Climate Narrative Through Storytelling for a Positive Youth Impact.” The event will showcase the outcomes of the Forum and inspire young people to take an active role in building a more sustainable future. Speakers include Mohamed Luqman, President of Mubadala Youth Council & Co-founder of Seven Dawgs; AlDhabi AlMheiri, the youngest Emirati entrepreneur and publisher and founder of Rainbow Chimney; Toby Gregory, Founder and Project director, the Plastic Pledge and the Arabian Ocean Rowing Team.

His Highness Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, emphasized that the role of youth in tackling climate change has never been more important. His Highness highlighted that as the UAE hosts and participates in discussions that will help drive decisive global action, it is imperative that young people are empowered with the skills to lead on climate solutions. Youth 4 Sustainability, he added, is preparing future sustainability leaders who will harness their talents, engage their communities, and build a sustainable future.

Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Masdar Chief Executive Officer, said: “As the world’s leaders convene in COP28 in the UAE for the United Nations summit to shape climate policy, the next generation will also have a global platform to play their part through Y4S. Young people are a driving force for promoting meaningful action, which is why Y4S and Masdar are hosting a dedicated program of events at COP28, providing a unique and inclusive opportunity for young people to have their voices heard.”

Climate change risks inflicting a heavy toll on future generations. In some parts of the world, it is already limiting access to healthcare or education, damaging food and water systems and affecting air quality. Given the disproportionate impact on young people, it is critical to use platforms like COP28 and Y4S to empower young people as agents of change and innovators working to protect lives, livelihoods and the planet.

Applications are also now open for Y4S’s prestigious programs to start in January 2024 – Future Sustainability Leaders and Sustainability Ambassadors - supporting the growth of the next generation of pioneers and innovators. Participants benefit from real-world skills, as well as developing the knowledge and networks needed to accelerate their academic and professional careers in sustainability.