ISLAMABAD: Swedish Ambassador Henrik Persson has prioritised environment-friendly development and building climate resilience in Pakistan.

He was speaking at a follow-up event on Wednesday with the youth dialogue participants of Stockholm+50, hosted by the Embassy of Sweden with partners UNDP, WWF Pakistan, and Stockholm+50 Youth Task Force.

The lead up event on the right to a healthy environment hosted on May 17, 2022, engaged youth to create policy demands that were presented at Stockholm+50 – a crucial international environmental meeting – on June 2 and 3 2022, by Pakistan’s Youth Task Force representative.

Convened by the UN General Assembly, Stockholm+50 gathered over 4,000 people from nearly 150 countries. The purpose of the meeting was to come up with bold and urgent action on climate and environment to secure a better future on a healthy planet.

Swedish Ambassador Henrik Persson welcomed the participants and said: “I believe young people are the leaders of today. That is why the Swedish Embassy will continue to engage with youth. To us, it is an essential, urgent and a demographic as well as democratic imperative. We also recognise that for countries such as Pakistan, the key is not reducing emissions but ensuring climate-friendly development pathways and building climate resilience.”

Youth participants who attended Stockholm+50 shared their experiences from the conference and reported on the presentation of the policy demands. This was followed by an open discussion among the 60 youth who attended the event, moderated by WWF-Pakistan, on how to move from policy pledges to practical implementation.

The youth then presented their formulations at a high level plenary closing session to representatives from the Ministry of Climate Change, climate activists, diplomats and the press.

Speakers at the closing session included UNDP Pakistan Resident Representative Knut Ostby, WWF Pakistan Director General Hammad Naqi Khan, Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman was the chief guest of the event.

Closing the session, Hammad Naqi Khan said: “At WWF-Pakistan, we recognise that young people are the key driving force of positive change. Therefore, we actively engage with youth and give them the knowledge, tools and resources required to contribute to potential solutions and drive public discourse on climate action and sustainable development. Our youth carry immense potential, not only to drive climate action, but to ensure sustainable development.”

In the lead-up to COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh and the wake of effects of climate change here in Pakistan, the youth needed to continue to hold world leaders accountable to their demands and translate them into real commitments, the organisers of the event emphasised.

Published in Dawn, November 3rd, 2022

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