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Be champions to secure the future from impacts of climate change, to build an inclusive future: Hanaa Singer appeals to youth

Hanaa Singer

UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka Hanaa Singer has urged the youths to take bold steps to secure their future from the impacts of climate change and to build an inclusive future - a future that would leave no one behind.

She was addressing the university undergraduates and recent graduates at the AIESEC Youth Speak Forum "Transforming Youth, Transforming Sri Lanka" held recently.

During her address she said:

“Today young people have immense potential to be impactful agents of change - because of the opportunities that technology provides. Sri Lanka's younger generation must take bold steps to secure their future from the impacts of climate change, as Sri Lanka's standard of living could drop by 5 to 7 percent due to climate-related vulnerabilities.

I know that all of you can go out into the world and shape the future you want to see. It is your generation and future generations that will have to deal with the future impacts of climate change, and you are the generation with the most to lose. You must lead on this front and take bold steps to secure your future.

You are interconnected with your peers around the world, like no generation before you. Therefore, the opportunity to exchange ideas, organize yourselves and mobilize for important causes is immense. Now, it is time for all of you to act and address the defining issue of our time - climate change.

Although Sri Lanka has taken great strides in allowing private and domestic sector investments in renewable energy and tapping, the last vestiges of hydro power available to the country, much more need to be done.

About 19 million people in Sri Lanka live in locations that will become moderate or severe climate hotspots by 2050. The country has faced continuous cycles of floods and drought, making it one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change.

The future is dependent on taking action on these issues now, because living standards in Sri Lanka can drop by 5 to 7 percent because of climate-related vulnerabilities.

As young Sri Lankans, you need to take your place in the conversation on climate change, it is absolutely vital. You must advocate for an economy that results in improved human well-being and social equity and at the same time significantly reduced environmental risks and ecological scarcities.

In Sri Lanka the UN is working with the Government to explore the potential of renewable energy, looking at ways that energy and other resources are used more efficiently in production and consumption and supporting the modernization of the environmental management systems.

At the same time, we are working with Sri Lankans to protect the biodiversity that this country has been blessed with. An important part of our work and the work for Sri Lankans is fostering climate resilient livelihoods, to ensure that future opportunities are safeguarded. In tackling climate change, investments in development and climate resilience go hand in hand. More governments, cities and businesses than ever understand that climate solutions strengthen the economies and protect the environment at the same time.

I know that all of you can go out into the world and shape the future you want to see.”


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