1st Row (L-R): Ms Anuradha Withanachchi, Programme Coordination Associate, Climate and Environment, UNDP in Sri Lanka; Mr. Christophe Bahuet, Deputy Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific and Director, UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub; Dr. Amal Harsha de Silva, Secretary, Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs; Ms. Emma Brigham, Deputy Representative of UNICEF in Sri Lanka; Mr. Isuru Ranaweera, Vice President, Lassana Kolonnawa Wetland Conservation Youth Network
2nd Row (L-R): Mr. Fadhil Bakeer Markar, Policy Specialist and Team Leader, Policy and Engagement, UNDP in Sri Lanka; Ms. Lakshani Sandeepani, President, Lassana Kolonnawa Wetland Conservation Youth Network; Mr. Hasanka Paddukka, Co Founder, Thuru and Zero Trash; Mr. Tharindu Abeyratna, Co Founder, Ecohub.lk; Ms. Hasini Isurika, Member, Lassana Kolonnawa Wetland Conservation Youth Network; Mr. Pasan Wijemanne, Member, Lassana Kolonnawa Wetland Conservation Youth Network
Colombo, Sri Lanka, 12 August 2022: International Youth Day (IYD) advocates for the participation of young people in actioning change around the world. To commemorate the significance this year and to provide a platform to young leaders in Sri Lanka, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Sri Lanka launched two new calls for young innovators to act on climate change and conservation in the country; the ‘HackaDev Green Innovation Challenge’ and the ‘Movers4Climate’ programme. The two programmes were launched this morning at the commemorative IYD 2022 webinar and youth-led discussion centred around advocating for Youth Climate Action for a socially inclusive recovery, in collaboration with partners including the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Sri Lanka, Youth Co:Lab co-led by Citi Foundation and UNDP, and Citra Social Innovation Lab.
Speaking at the event, Dr. Amal Harsha de Silva, Secretary, Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs noted, “ I hope that this collaboration and celebration of International Youth Day alongside all youth in the world will make our task easier at the Ministry. Our youth have also become champions in the commonwealth, and we celebrate their achievements in Sri Lanka. I hope this partnership with the UN will bring about positive results for the youth in the country with equal representation, leaving no youth behind as we strive to create a better future for all.”
Both the ‘HackaDev Green Innovation Challenge’ and the ‘Movers4Climate’ programme were launched through UNDP Sri Lanka’s flagship youth platform ‘HackaDev’. The former was introduced to crowdsource innovative solutions to build a greener and sustainable economy in Sri Lanka and the latter as part of introducing the regional Asia and Pacific movement to enhance awareness on acting on climate change and broadly on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Sri Lankan context.
The steady decline of climate resilience due to the impact of global warming and related issues has been a cause for concern in many social innovation programmes. In line with this, the ‘HackaDev Green Innovation Challenge’ invites all young women and men in Sri Lanka to address the challenge in achieving the environment-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through designing innovative solutions, whilst creating sustainable social enterprises to contribute toward both the environment and economy of the country.
‘Movers4Climate’ is a climate awareness-raising and skills development programme that equips young people with the tools and skills needed to become effective climate advocates and leaders, working at the national level to influence climate-related decisions. The programme is designed to enhance young global citizenship skills, improve leadership skills and increase future job prospects.
Both programmes are supported by Youth Co:Lab, an initiative co-led by UNDP and the Citi Foundation.
The launch of the two programmes by UNDP Sri Lanka comes from an increased focus on Green Development, and speaking to the key role young people play, Mr. Christophe Bahuet, Deputy Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific and Director, UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub highlighted that, “Sri Lanka is at crossroads, at which the youth have a crucial role to play and a contribution to make to build a better future for the nation; a future of economic rebound to be filled by young entrepreneurs, innovative economic activities; a future of inclusive governance and social harmony with transparency, accountability and the participation of all, including the youth, and a future of sustainable development for the country and the world.”
The event also created a platform for four young climate champions, who were given centre-stage for their efforts in Youth Climate Action through their organizations- ‘Lassana Kolonnawa Wetland Conservation Youth Network’, ‘Thuru’, ‘Zero Trash’ and ‘Ecohub.lk’. The session which took place in a hybrid format was moderated by Ms. Anuradha Withanachchi, Programme Coordination Associate, Climate and Environment, UNDP in Sri Lanka and saw the participation of close to 100 young people joining virtually to mark the day. While promoting youth-led action, the discussions brought to light the importance of bridging forces between generations in accordance with this year’s International Youth Day theme, ‘Intergenerational Solidarity: Creating a World for All Ages’, and to amplify the message that urgent action is needed from all generations to achieve the 2030 Agenda.