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Gram Vikas collaborates with UNICEF initiative to catalyse youth action to fight climate change

NEWS

By GV News Desk

9 June 2023

Gram Vikas collaborates with Youth4Water Plus, a UNICEF-led initiative reaching over 400,000 young individuals through awareness and action programmes focused on Climate Change, Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH).

On this World Environment Day, Youth4Water Plus announced the launch of Odisha Conference of Youth (OCOY) 2023 in Bhubaneswar. OCOY 2023 aims to unite 100+ young individuals across Odisha to identify local environmental challenges and create sustainable solutions to solve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Speaking at the event, Shipra Saxena, a WASH Specialist from UNICEF, emphasised the potential of young individuals, stating, “Young people possess the ability to turn their dreams into reality. We must enable them to embrace the spirit of OCOY and use it to create a climate-secure world because Odisha is a state where climate-change issues are very prominent.”

The primary focus areas of OCOY 2023 include SDG 6, which strives to ensure universal access to water and sanitation, and SDG 13, which urges action against climate change and its impact on communities.

Gram Vikas and Youth4Water Plus will organise awareness drives in partner village communities, focusing on national and internal days highlighting issues of water, environment, biodiversity, among others. The initiative will actively involve children and women from these communities, recognising their crucial role in water conservation and environmental stewardship. Jointly organised training will educate young people on the importance of water, hygiene, and climate change and equip them with new skills on water management and environment conservation.

The launch event in Bhubaneswar brought together youth, government officials, institutions, practitioners, policymakers, NGOs, and experts. The gathering aimed to reflect on the significance of environmental preservation and protection while fostering discussions and actions that accelerate the transition towards a circular economy.

Renowned vocalist Sushmita Das, the Chief Guest at the launch event, drew attention to the detrimental impact of plastic on the environment. She emphasised the critical role that young people play in preserving the planet for future generations, stating, “Everything we use these days has some form of plastic. We should become aware and reduce using plastic as much as possible.”

The inaugural Odisha Conference of Youth (OCOY) is scheduled  to take place from August 9-11, 2023, in Bhubaneswar. The conference will serve as a platform to reinforce the commitment of Odisha’s youth to climate action and provides an opportunity for meaningful engagement and dialogue on pressing environmental issues.

Mentored by national and international experts, the young participants will together  formulate the Odisha Statement of Youth for Climate Change to be presented at the upcoming 28th Conference of the Parties (COP 28) of the UN Climate Change Conference in November this year. By empowering the youth, this initiative will reconfirm its commitment to secure the future for generations to come.

As OCOY 2023 takes its first steps towards inspiring youth-led climate action, it reaffirms the commitment to secure a sustainable and resilient future for generations to come.

Gram Vikas’ collaboration with Youth4Water Plus is a collective effort to empower the youth and drive positive change in environmental sustainability within the region.

Launch event of the Odisha Conference of Youth (OCOY) 2023 in Bhubaneswar on the occasion of World Environment Day.

Photograph by Chandrika Patnaik

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