Youth Leadership Debut at the 10th Clean Energy Ministerial in Vancouver, Canada.

The first-ever young leaders forum took place at this year’s Clean Energy Ministerial in Vancouver, BC bringing the power of youth innovation and collaboration to help achieve country’s clean energy objectives. Watch this video to see how it all happened.

Led by Student Energy, the inaugural Youth Leaders Forum at CEM10 brought together a distinguished cohort of 60 youth delegates from each member country to participate in the program. Student Energy delivered impactful and engaging programming aimed at showcasing the innovations and valuable contributions that global youth share to advance a clean energy future. The Youth Leaders Forum created a collaborative space for intergenerational partnerships and the integration of young people’s voices in the clean energy discussion.

Student Energy captured each delegates’ clean energy story to showcase youth leadership. Delegates brought their expertise and perspectives on energy that was informed through community engagements they lead prior to arriving, their involvement with their communities through research topics, post-secondary education, advocacy on energy and entrepreneurial pursuits all around the initiatives of CEM.

It was reflected throughout the Youth Leaders Forum that youth globally care deeply about understanding and solving the complex problems existing within our current energy systems, and the compelling discussions created waves outside of the youth program coursing through CEM and with the heads of delegations. Youth delegates were not only fearless to bring the most pressing questions to global leaders, but also provided their insights and expertise on energy.

Student Energy facilitated diverse programming with global leaders from government and partner organizations to bring solutions-focused approaches to transitioning the energy system in ways that revamped the definition of youth engagement in energy. The Youth Leaders Forum featured numerous two-way discussions and while youth delegates heard numerous inspirational speeches and addresses from incredible leaders including Rachel Kyte (CEO of SE4ALL), Bertrand Piccard (Chairman of Solar Impulse foundation) and Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, the Honorable Amarjeet Sohi, Canada’s Minister of Environment Cathrine McKenna, Christian Zinglersen head of CEM Secretariate and Jennie Dodson Head of MI Secretariate  Youth delegates also had the opportunity to share their vision for a low carbon future and best practices to achieving it. Through an intergenerational panel discussion ‘Leading our Low Carbon Future’, learning about the energy system through the Energy Transition Game; as well as the multi-disciplinary workshops to co-create energy finance and policy solutions in teams during the Innovation Jam and a Clean Energy Policy Hackathon, the youth program made sure that no youth voice was unheard.

Delegates presented ideas for bottom-up approaches to accelerating progress in key areas of energy policy, urban planning and building broad public support for the energy transition. Youth’s holistic vision looked beyond solely emissions but also considered a system change approach that included the impacts of gender and racial inequality, challenges of mobilizing finance in different regions, and overcoming political inertia.

The inaugural Youth Leaders Forum at CEM10 proved to be a great success and is already laying the foundations to bring more youth into the energy conversation. The work of the youth delegation continues after CEM with a youth-written position statement paper to harmonize their recommendations for the world’s energy leaders to accelerate the transition to a low carbon future and calling for further inclusion into future iterations of the Clean Energy Ministerial.

This article was written by Student Energy.