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ICE graduate helps launch COP26 youth climate policy recommendations

29 October 2021

Young engineers have published a WFEO-backed climate declaration ahead of the UN's climate change conference, COP26.

ICE graduate helps launch COP26 youth climate policy recommendations
Kirils Holstovs, ICE NE climate change lead.

A graduate member of ICE has helped the voice of young engineers to be heard at a pre-COP26 event in Italy.

Kirils Holstovs, climate change lead of the ICE North East Regional Committee and engineer at AECOM, was the co-initiator of a joint statement which makes 12 climate policy recommendations for the UN’s climate change conference taking place in Glasgow this week.

The recommendations cover the areas of climate mitigation, adaptation and resilience, and inclusive action. They have been endorsed by major international engineering organisations, including the World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO), which represents engineering institutions including ICE, Engineers Without Borders International, and The Resilience Shift. Seth Schultz, executive director of The Resilience Shift, has been delivering this year’s Brunel International Lecture Series.

The policy statement was produced after Holstovs, who's also been accredited as a UN observer for COP26, attended the first-ever UN Youth4Climate Pre-COP26 summit in Milan as a representative of Latvia.

He said: “I am eager to elevate the voice of young professionals who want to see ambitious action that is delivered with the urgency appropriate to a global emergency classified as an existential threat.

“With the majority of the themes of COP26 directly linked to civil engineering, the industry is key to enabling sustainable development pathways for the wider economy. Civil engineers are not only well-positioned to lead on the necessary paradigm shift, but also have a professional duty to do so.”

Who has contributed to the youth climate declaration?

The youth COP26 climate declaration has been made by representatives of:

  • Global Young Engineers Working Group on SDG13, Young Engineers / Future Leaders Committee, World Federation of Engineering Organisations
  • Major Group for Children and Youth (MGCY)Science-Policy Interface Platform
  • Members of the UN Secretary General's Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change
  • Global Youth Climate Network
  • UN Youth4Climate Pre-COP26 delegate, Latvia

What are the climate policy recommendations in the declaration?

Here is a summary of the COP26 youth climate policy recommendations:

  1. All COP26 parties adopt a legally-binding target of achieving 50% reduction in 2010 levels by 2030, and net zero emissions by 2050, with a clear roadmap for every sector.
  2. All COP26 parties to reduce and stop fossil fuel-based projects.
  3. All COP26 parties to reduce human-caused methane emissions by a minimum of 30% of 2020 levels by 2030.
  4. All COP26 parties to help and protect the most vulnerable communities from the adverse effects of climate change.
  5. All COP26 parties to help train more scientists and engineers to develop climate mitigation and adaptation technologies, in particular in energy supply, transportation, waste management, water access and natural risks management.
  6. All COP26 parties to introduce built environment regulations that are compatible with the 1.5oC climate targets, prioritise energy efficiency, fossil fuel use phase out and retrofitting, with a focus on nature-based solutions.
  7. All COP26 parties to ensure meaningful and inclusive participation of local communities in the creation of national adaptation plans, and to prepare and start implementation of national adaptation plans by the end of 2024.
  8. All COP26 parties to develop supple Adaptation Plans putting Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) at the centre of their strategy.
  9. All COP26 parties to increase transparency of climate negotiations and ensure greater involvement of young professionals at the national and international levels.
  10. All COP26 parties to enhance the communication and clarity on the division of responsibilities in climate mitigation and adaptation action between national and local government, business and civil society and incorporate youth networks.
  11. All COP26 parties to support science, technology, innovation (STI) that include engineering as critical components to informing, advising, implementing, and monitoring impact of evidence-informed policies that contribute to climate action and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
  12. All COP26 parties to support the creation of new green jobs and development of skills for youth by advancing their participation in global green jobs initiatives.

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  • Anh Nguyen, digital content lead at ICE