Rising to the challenge of the new virtual paradigm created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Connect4Climate and our partners worked hard in 2021 to find novel ways to accelerate climate action worldwide, elevating youth and marginalized voices with creative new engagements and continuing to throw our support behind the young climate champions demanding transformative change from world leaders.
Below are a selection of our standout initiatives and special moments from the past year. Join us as we look back on 2021 and forward to exciting upcoming campaigns, content, and climate action in the new year!
The #Youth4Climate Live Series
The product of a close yearlong collaboration between C4C and Italy’s Ministry for Ecological Transition (MITE), the #Youth4Climate Live Series of interactive and intergenerational virtual discussions paved the way to the Youth4Climate: Driving Ambition summit in Milan with deep dives into the event’s guiding climate action topics. Guided by expert moderation from C4C Youth Ambassadors Salina Abraham and Ahmed Badr, youth leaders and experienced climate policymakers exchanged ideas in hour-long episodes peppered with polls and Q&A segments that encouraged dynamic audience participation.
The final two episodes in the series, on Driving Adaptation & Resilience (aired Jan. 22) and Driving Local Action (aired Feb. 26), were the perfect kick-off to 2021, setting the stage for engagements to follow around the landmark youth summit, the Pre-COP preparatory climate conference, and COP26, the biggest event of the climate calendar.
Youth4Climate: Driving Ambition
As a key partner of the Italian Government and the Ministry for Ecological Transition, Connect4Climate was proud to support Youth4Climate: Driving Ambition with contributions to its content, advocacy campaigns, and overall engagement strategy. Opening with impassioned remarks from Vanessa Nakate and Greta Thunberg, the summit brought nearly 400 international youth delegates—two each from almost all of the 197 countries party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)—to Milan, Italy for three days of intensive deliberations that resulted in the Youth4Climate Manifesto.
In the opening session of Pre-COP26, the central points of this youth declaration were presented to leaders including Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and COP26 President Alok Sharma. The demands of the Youth4Climate Manifesto then made their way to Glasgow, feeding into the COP deliberations there and setting a tone of much-needed urgency and ambition.
You can review the demands of the Youth4Climate Manifesto in our accessible overview article here. We look forward to continuing to support and grow Youth4Climate in the years to come, as Italian Minister of Ecological Transition Roberto Cingolani confirmed at COP26 that his country is committed to making Youth4Climate an annual initiative.
Photo by Leigh Vogel, Connect4Climate.
#All4Climate Activates a Movement
This year’s landmark gathering in Milan, which gave youth leaders center stage in a way few other climate conferences of its scale had before, was bolstered by #All4Climate, an umbrella initiative empowering representatives from civil society, academic institutions, and the private sector to join the climate conversation across over 500 hand-picked events held throughout Italy in the run-up to and alongside the summit.
As part of #All4Climate, C4C developed the #WorldIsWatching campaign to draw the world’s collective gaze to COP26 and remind leaders that both people and planet demand urgent action. This interactive advocacy campaign put #EyesOnCOP26 everywhere, inviting members of the public to join the movement through a dedicated AR filter while getting the word out across Milan with over 900 digital billboards and 600 minutes’ worth of primetime spots on Italian TV.
The culmination of the slate of #All4Climate events surrounding Youth4Climate: Driving Ambition was a #Music4Climate concert for the ages at Milan’s massive Ippodromo Snai San Siro Summer Arena, a rocking event organized by C4C and MITE that generated tremendous climate-positive energy and that served as a powerful bridge between the conclusion of the youth summit and the start of Pre-COP26.
Photo by Leigh Vogel, Connect4Climate.
The September 30 show, streamed worldwide on A-Live TV, brought a diverse group of 100 performers together under the banner of Rockin’1000, the largest rock band on Earth. Seasoned musicians such as Daniele Silvestri and Martina Attili rocked out alongside special guests including European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano, playing songs with inspiring messages of perseverance in the face of adversity and relentless hope for a better future.
Stay tuned in 2022 for new #Music4Climate announcements!
Bringing Youth Voices to COP26
For this year’s long-anticipated COP26 climate conference, C4C worked to bring young people’s voices from Milan to Glasgow through a special partnership with the Walk With Amal project, which raises global awareness of refugee issues with a larger-than-life puppet of a young Syrian migrant named Little Amal.
Little Amal traveled from the border of Syria and Turkey to appear at COP26, where she shed light on climate change’s role in exacerbating the refugee crisis. For her November 9 walk along Millennium Bridge (just outside the SEC Centre where the COP was held), Little Amal carried with her a soundscape of Youth4Climate voices, gathered and curated for the occasion by C4C. The centerpiece of this engagement was a brand-new poem from longtime C4C friend and collaborator Ahmed Badr, a stirring call for solidarity and understanding across boundaries titled “Representation” Poem.
Don’t miss the official video performance of Ahmed’s poem on our YouTube channel, and be sure to check out our handy COP26 breakdown article on how commitments at the COP squared with the demands of the Youth4Climate Manifesto.
Launching the Max Thabiso Edkins Climate Ambassador Program
We crowned 2021 with an announcement especially close to our hearts: the launch of the Max Thabiso Edkins Climate Ambassador Program, a vital opportunity for up-and-coming young climate leaders around the world to both broaden their knowledge of international climate solutions and implement their own climate action initiatives on the ground in their communities.
Named in honor of our dear friend and colleague Max Thabiso Edkins, a true climate champion renowned far and wide for his irresistible enthusiasm for making the world a better place as well as his signature bow ties, this Program is the product of an exciting new partnership between C4C and the Global Youth Climate Network (GYCN), an initiative of the Y2Y community of young professionals at the World Bank Group.
We are accepting submissions through December 31, so if you know any young people out there making a difference who would want to follow in Max’s footsteps by being Climate Ambassadors, tell them to apply now!
Photo by Kaia Rose, Connect4Climate.