To celebrate International Youth Day 2020, Shongjog recently hosted the second episode of 'Youth Shongjog: Bangladesh in Climate, Water & Sustainability'. Sohanur Rahman, CEO of Bangladesh Model Youth Parliament and coordinator of YouthNet for Climate Justice and Sharnila Kabir, youth activist and environmentalist, participated in the live discussion hosted by Saraf Nawar, Co-founder of Shongjog and the Dutch National Sustainability Coordinator.
Shongjog is an initiative by a group of youths to help students and early career professionals of Bangladesh and beyond by connecting them with experts of the relevant fields. The initiative is an effort to provide a need-based solution to the existing knowledge gap in professional sectors through information, stories, and training for youths.
The event addressed 'Climate Emergency', discussing topics ranging from the interconnectivity of the Sustainable Development Goals and call for youth action to the underlying contribution of climate crisis behind problems and inequality in the socio-economic status of Bangladesh.
The participants discussed the importance of requiring a structural shift to reach any climate goal. "The consequences of COVID-19 will be profound and long-lasting and risk reversing decades of progress," shares Sohanur. Therefore, the urgency for an economic recovery, keeping the climate in check, is strongly stressed upon for future policymakers.
Sharnila, who has been working with humanitarian aid and safe water access for different communities of Bangladesh, underlined the importance of youth involvement in entrepreneurial and volunteering activities in the field of sustainability. "It is vital to believe in yourself and start from the grassroots. It is important to believe that even the smallest change can make a huge difference," shares Sharnila.
The discussion highlighted the importance of youth participation in the implementation of climate policy in Climate Vulnerable Forum meetings for capacity building. Bureaucracy and lobbying deprive the youth environmentalists of taking advantage of the climate funds. This issue needs to be strongly addressed to inspire more initiatives in the future.