UNICEF and NYSC partner to Empower Sri Lankan Youth in Climate Action

UNICEF and NYSC partner to Empower Sri Lankan Youth in Climate Action

The National Youth Services Council (NYSC) of Sri Lanka has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with UNICEF to promote “Youth-Led Climate Action” in Sri Lanka.

The partnership aims to benefit children and youth, especially those from marginalized backgrounds, by increasing critical awareness, making climate knowledge more linguistically inclusive, building essential skills, and fostering collaboration among stakeholders in climate change and environmental conservation, according to a statement by UNICEF.

The signing today of the agreement by Mr. Christian Skoog, UNICEF Representative in Sri Lanka, and Pasindu Guneratne, Chairperson of NYSC, signifies a unified dedication to building a better future for children and youth by empowering them to lead and innovate in responding to the climate change crisis, UNICEF added.

“Young people, especially children, are the most affected by the daily harsh realities of climate change such as extreme heatwaves, flooding, and disruption of lives. The consequences of these climate change episodes not only threaten the lives of children in the immediate term but also have long-term consequences on their opportunities to grow and develop,” said Mr. Skoog.

“The agreement we have signed today further strengthens the mobilization of young people to take center stage in all aspects of the climate crisis in Sri Lanka, from defining the impact on their lives to contributing solutions that are relevant to the different contexts.”

Pasindu Guneratne, Chairperson of NYSC, expressed enthusiasm about the collaboration, stating, “We are dedicated to mobilizing youth to catalyze positive community transformation. Through our collaboration with UNICEF, we aim to empower young leaders with the expertise and capabilities required to address climate change proactively and make a lasting impact.”

Under the agreement, UNICEF and NYSC commit to collaborating on a series of structured activities/events focusing on raising critical awareness and developing skills on climate change and environmental conservation across Sri Lanka, and improving collaboration between the government, civil society, academia, in the field of climate change and environmental conservation, the statement added.

UNICEF’s work on climate change for children is grounded in the Sri Lanka Children’s Declaration on Climate and Disaster Risk Reduction, a long history, experience, and deep understanding of the needs of children in the country, and expertise in fulfilling the rights of children through programs, advocacy, and an extensive network of partners, including government, non-profit, and community organizations.

NYSC brings to the partnership an infrastructure and human resources for the support of innovative activities, the network of startup community, especially the youth, and support resources from their island-wide youth clubs’ network, according to UNICEF.