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  • Santhiya Ananth

Recap : Youth Consultation & Major Groups & Stakeholders meeting prior to UNEA 6

The Youth Consultation was held June 3rd 2023 in hybrid format from Morocco. The outcomes of this consultation can be found here. The Youth Consultation was co-organized by the Foundation Mohammed VI for Environmental Protection and hosted at the International Center Hassan II of Environmental Training. Here are the views from some of the attendees who participated in-person in the meeting. They also took part in the International Major Groups and Stakeholders Preparatory Meeting for UNEA 6 the following days.


The Major Groups and Stakeholders had met in early July to collate inputs from all the major groups and advocate for the same before the UNEA-6 bureau retreat in Tangier. This was preceded by the youth consultation conducted by CYMG. With an in-person attendance of around 50-60 children and youth from Morocco, CYMG conducted capacity-building sessions for the participants to understand CYMG and the scope of our work. Apart from the capacity building, the day was filled with the following sessions:

(i) A panel on the role of youth

(ii) Breakout rooms discussing the UNEA 5.2 resolutions that set up follow-up processes - in these sessions, CYMG members explained the resolutions of INC plastic pollution, NbS and the science-policy panel and gathered inputs regarding the development of the follow-up processes from the children and youth of Morocco.

(iii) Discussions regarding the possible themes that should be addressed in UNEA-6 and the expectations of such children and youth from UNEA-6.

The MGS consultations were convened by the updates from the regional focal points in relation to the regional MGS consultations to be held this year. Later, the major groups convened breakouts on the UNEA 5.2 resolutions and the Ministerial Declaration of UNEA-6 to gather inputs and present them in the following breakfast meeting.

The diversity of the panels and the breakouts in terms of geographical and professional representation led to varied perspectives on the subject, which was personally very insightful. Moreover, due measures were taken for the inclusion of online participants, which worked smoothly. I believe that these measures can be implemented in the forthcoming youth meetings to ensure the inclusion of online participants.


Prior to the UNEA-6 Bureau Retreat in Tangier, Morocco, the Major Groups and Stakeholders convened a meeting on 3rd July to gather inputs and insights towards tabling the expectations on UNEA-6. CYMG to UNEP conducted a youth consultation in the lead up to the MGS consultation and the Bureau Retreat. In terms of meaningful youth engagement, participants came from diverse places and backgrounds, Moroccan youths were also given the opportunity to be engaged at the discussions. It was an eye-opening experience to attend, engage, participate, as well as lead the Youth Consultation on environmental governance highlighting the review on previous UNEA resolutions (fifth session), the Bureau Retreat, especially the upcoming Sixth session of UNEA. It was encouraging to see how passionate and committed the young people were to advocate for the real meaningful youth engagement in various spaces.

Significantly, there were consultative sessions on resolutions, specifically I led the review of UNEA resolution on Nature-based solutions and the participants reflected on its implementation globally and in Morocco. We reflected on the “agreed” definition of NbS which catered young people's realization on the broader landscape of NbS which also overlaps (or synergizes) the idea from other resolutions.

Lastly, on the themes and topics to be possibly tabled on UNEA-6, there are high hopes for even more bold and tangible steps to be expected in the upcoming UN Environment Assembly. To address urgent challenges such as the triple planetary crises of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution, we expect to see stronger cooperation between governments, NGOs, and youth leaders. We should keep emphasizing the importance of meaningful young participation in decision-making processes since we will be responsible for the effects of today's environmental actions and also building foresight in various processes.


The recent MGS consultations is evident that we are officially on the road to UNEA 6. The Children and Youth Major Group have used this opportunity to share our opinions on matters related to the constituency but also on what we think is needed to address the triple planetary crises of Climate Change, Biodiversity Loss and Pollution. It was very clear to participants that this MGS preparatory meeting was necessary as our focal points were better equipped to engage with the Bureau on what we believe should be addressed in the Ministerial Declaration of UNEA 6 while also looking into several of the UNEA 5.2 resolutions.

In the Ministerial Declaration sessions, the constituency proposed that we should include intergenerational equity and Intergenerational Justice as key areas for the outcome document which I supported in the breakout room along with several of the civil society representatives. We also supported the arguments shared by shared as it relates to supporting a paragraph on Gender.

Additionally, some interesting inputs shared include the need for greater focus on the role of Oceans in Climate Change, also emphasis was placed on civil society pushing against Blue Economy in documents noting that this is somewhat linked to exploitative industries as such we may reference sustainable blue economy or sustainable use of our oceans.


The MGS consultations were a preparatory meeting for civil society to receive updates from the UNEP secretariat and the UNEA-6 Bureau about the progress in implementing UNEA-5 resolutions and drafting the Ministerial Declaration for the upcoming UN Environment Assembly. There are 3 takeaways from the discussions:

  • At the moment, there are no clear ideas on what resolutions might be presented at UNEA-6. Therefore, it is time to influence member states and propose potential resolutions, for example, the one on children and youth engagement.

  • Ministerial Declaration is of utmost importance to set the track for global, national, and local environmental action. That is why civil society needs to push for the increased ambition of the Declaration and provide comprehensive inputs to the draft text before member states make up their minds.

  • UNEA-6 will take place next year - from 26 February to 1 March 2024. Preparations start now to have the most influence on decision-making.

Most notably, the discussions on the Ministerial Declaration raised concerns of major groups on a lack of ambition: it is not an action-oriented agenda that reflects the geopolitical reality of the world and the current multiple crises or that touches upon the role of civil society in contributing to the solutions to global environmental concerns. Systemic policies for cross-cutting issues and concrete recommendations would raise the ambition and demonstrate a stronger commitment from governments to act.

From the Youth Consultation, particularly the session on Science-Policy Panels, it is clear that young people would like to engage both in the science and policy aspects of UNEP work, bringing their technical and social expertise to policy processes. The momentum around UNEA-6 is building: it is time to engage in the activities of CYMG, act on the local and regional levels, and influence member states as a united constituency.

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