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UNEP MGCY demands prioritization of environmental issues in COVID19 recovery at UN75 Youth Townhall

A Virtual Youth Townhall was hosted on 13th May by Governments of Qatar and Sweden, in collaboration with the Office of the President of the General Assembly (OPGA), and the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth (OSGEY) and the UN Major Group for Children and Youth (MGCY), with main purpose to consult young people’s views on the UNGA resolution to be adopted on UN75 process.


UNEP MGCY representative Juliet Gracey was the lead speaker on Climate change, biodiversity loss and environmental dimension of Agenda 2030, and called for urgent prioritization of the environmental dimension when making recovery plans from COVID 19.


“I think we all can be very clear about something - what we are facing at the moment is not business as usual and we can never go back to the “normal” - said Juliet.

“I want to start by providing a reality check-

  • It has been almost 5 years since adoption of Paris Agreement, and we have still not finalised its operational guidelines to be able to implement it

  • The Aichi Biodiversity targets adopted in 2010 have not been achieved even to half of their scale.

  • Five years since UNEAs started, there does not exist a public platform to report about implementation of its resolutions.

  • The Green Climate Fund has delivered less than 10 percent of what it was supposed to.”


The intervention stressed upon the need for a collective approach where youth from all backgrounds can be included in the processes of UN75, and specifically in the environmental action.





This intervention comes at a time when scientific studies have shown that climate priorities are going to take a back seat in the COVID19 recovery, with NGOs and advocacy think tanks pushing for #BuildBackBetter narrative; stressing the road forward from COVID19 needs to be just and sustainable in nature.


Youth movements particularly have been impacted by the pandemic and have found methods to do online strikes and social media activities.


This virtual townhall was conducted in light of the postponement of both the 2020 Edition of the ECOSOC Youth Forum and the UN75 Youth Plenary - which could not occur as planned between March 31st and April 2nd – being both affected by the COVID-19 pandemic; with the aim to continue meaningfully engaging young people in the UN’s work in connection to the organisation’s 75th Anniversary and the start of the decade of action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals leaving no one behind.





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