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Global Youth Initiative for Combating Desertification

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Global Youth Initiative for Combating Desertification: The starting point 

The first-ever UNCCD Youth Forum took place during the 13th session Conference of Parties to UNCCD, in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China, in September 2017. The forum, themed “Land, Youth and Sustainability,” focused on empowering young people to help fight against desertification.  

Nearly 200 participants from 25 countries attended the forum. At the end of the event, participants adopted the declaration on “Global Youth Initiative for Combating Desertification.” Andrew Lesa, who represented the Youth Forum participants, presented the “Youth Opinion on Land and Climate” at the Civil Society Organizations’ Open Dialogue.  

Lesa argued that consultations with youth should not be limited to academia or young professionals, but include young farmers and entrepreneurs, indigenous and vulnerable groups, such as young people with disabilities. He called for “ruralization” intervention, which would help young job seekers move to rural communities and give them an opportunity address the impacts of climate change and land degradation.