Global Youth Climate Summit set to kick off in Bangladesh

Global Youth Leadership Center, an international nonprofit, will begin its journey from Bangladesh on October 20 with the inauguration of its first program—the Global Youth Climate Summit, a three-day program in Khulna, Bangladesh, which will bring together 650 youth (150 in-person and 500 online) from 70 countries to explore how today’s youth can lead the fight against climate change.

In a press conference held in a city hotel (today) Oct. 18, 2022, the Founder and CEO of Global Youth Leadership Center Ejaj Ahmad said, “Climate change is the biggest crisis facing humanity today. After training Bangladeshi youth for the past 14 years, I am now launching a global organization to mobilize youth, especially from the Global South, to tackle the climate crisis. To address a complex challenge like climate change, we have to work globally and at scale. The mission of GYLC is to expand youth’s knowledge about climate science, equip them with leadership skills to take individual and collective action, and enable them to launch businesses that contribute to climate mitigation or adaptation.”

“We have chosen Khulna as the venue of the inaugural GYLC Summit because Khulna is one of Bangladesh’s most climate vulnerable regions. The 150 youth who will attend the Summit in Khulna will also take part in a mangrove plantation in Laudove in the coastal belt. This is part of our effort to promote locally led climate adaptation and highlight the importance of mangroves, which are critical for human beings as well as for biodiversity,” he further added. To empower youth to take climate action, 10 delegates at the Summit will receive a grant of USD 1,000 each to implement their climate mitigation or adaptation project.

The Global Youth Climate Summit will bring together renowned climate scientists, policymakers, entrepreneurs, leadership experts, and youth climate activists and feature discussions on the science of climate change, intergenerational collaboration for climate action, future of energy, modernizing farming, and responsible consumption. Summit speakers include, among others, Sir David King, former UK government’s chief scientific advisor, Dr. Dean Williams, former leadership faculty at Harvard, ICCAD Director Dr. Saleemul Huq, youth climate activists from Africa, America, Europe and Asia, Speaker of the Parliament Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, Prime Minister’s International Affairs Advisor Dr. Gowher Rizvi, British High Commissioner Robert Chatterton Dickson, Member of Parliament Nahim Razzaq, BRAC Executive Director Asif Saleh and Grameenphone CEO Yasir Azman.

While speaking at the press conference, Title Sponsor of the Summit & Chief Corporate Affairs Officer of Grameenphone Hans Martin Hoegh Henrichsen said, “As part of our commitment to reduce our carbon footprint, we have set a science-based target to reduce our CO2 emissions by 50% by 2030 in comparison to our 2019 levels. We believe in the power of youth and the Global Youth Climate Summit is an excellent platform for us to engage with youth and raise awareness about an urgent cause.”

GYLC Chairman Neal Walker said, “Young people not only demand climate change action, they lead the way. Leadership, innovation, entrepreneurship all offer avenues of success. But we need action at a global level. GYLC can transform the idealism, ideas and talents of youth all over the world into results.”

Prominent youth climate activist Sohanur Rahman said, “Climate justice must take center stage. Wealthy countries must do far more to assist developing countries in dealing with the devastation already caused due to global warming.”

BYLC Executive Director Tahsinah Ahmed, and youth climate activist Shakila Islam also spoke at the press conference.

Grameenphone is the title sponsor of the Global Youth Climate Summit, while the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, FHI360, and Sir Christopher Ball and Lady Ball are the gold sponsors. Silver sponsors include Paragon Group, UCB, BRAC, and Daraz. Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center (BYLC) is the implementing partner. BEDS and YouthNet for Climate Justice are the community and outreach partners respectively.