Kathrin Zirn, sustainability masters student and member of Oikos Vienna, spent the last days at the International Conference on Climate Action(ICCA 2019) in Heidelberg and supported the Youth Climate Summit as a moderator. In a wide range of workshops, young people from 15 countries worked on specific political demands that were then presented to leaders, mayors and politicians from around the globe. The ICCA serves as a preparatory event for the next Global Climate Action Summit in September 2019, with a special focus on cities and local action. Thus, leaders gathered in Heidelberg to redesign their policies and targets in line with the < 2 degrees Paris Agreement (as with current plans we are heading towards 3-4 degrees global warming).
One highlight was a workshop named “Levers for System Change” in collaboration with Katharina Umpfenbach, senior fellow at the political consultancy institute Ecologic Berlin. In this workshop, students explored the underlying rules of our economic system, the homo economicus and externalized costs. Also, societal practices, their components and roots, as well as ways to change practices were discussed. As a result it was visible that the real social context of policy tools is too often underestimated in current policy making. In a reflection on possible transition management, many ideas were collected on how to improve ecological problems in transport, energy and food from a social and economic perspective.
Other interesting workshops that took place covered Climate Justice and Adaptation, City Planning and Sustainable Land Use. The excitement and youth engagement was real!
Seeing the creativity and determination of our youth, a sustainable transformation in line with the UN Agenda 2030 seems more and more possible.
Our warmest gratitude goes to Amany van Oehsen, Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz (BUND), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), Climate Analytics and Ecologic Institute.
written by Kathrin