The United Nations marks the annual event on 12 August 2021 with a festival dedicated to innovative youth-led solutions focused on the SDGs and the COVID-19 recovery.
It is no secret that young people claim the greatest stake in a future kidnapped by the climate crisis. More than anyone, they deserve to have their ideas be seen, heard and taken seriously.
This year’s International Youth Day aims to provide a platform for young people to participate in one of the biggest climate challenges: transforming our food systems. It highlights solutions developed by young innovators who are tackling inequalities in food insecurity, biodiversity loss, and threats to our environment.
According to a UN-backed study, more than one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity can be attributed to the way we produce, process and package food. At the same time, the growing global population requires more efficient and resilient food systems.
Using smart agriculture practices that sustain Earth’s natural resources is a step in the right direction. But it’s not enough to ensure that our fragile supply chains are foolproof. Creativity and innovation are critical for reshaping food systems and improving nutrition, health, inclusion, and sustainability.
Climathon Teams Tackle Food Systems
Transforming food systems is always a hot topic for participating Climathon cities. In 2020, the Climathon team behind Ecopolis developed an innovative strategy aimed at tackling food insecurity in their hometown of Pasig, Philippines, which received international recognition at the Global Climathon Awards. The solution utilised floating farms along the city’s rivers to compensate for the lack of available land, offering more space to grow edible crops and to compost food waste.
Climathon 2019 in Zürich asked participants to focus on the combination of urban spaces and urban farming activities in a community-run system. The winning solution - Edible Roofs - was a platform that matches public rooftops suitable for urban gardening with citizens interested in renting such spaces. The application takes a step toward reinventing our food systems and reconnecting people with their food.
International Youth Day and Climathon share a similar purpose: to mobilise young people from every corner of the globe and spark meaningful conversations about improving our planet.
Climathons around the world will be underway during the EIT Climate-KIC “Week of Action'' from 25-31 October, 2021. Young innovators are invited to participate in this week-long event of co-creation, idea generation, and citizen engagement.
In the meantime, check out the UN’s #YouthLead Innovation Festival on August 12-13, 2021. The event brings together youth, policy makers and industry leaders to find innovative solutions for a fair, inclusive and sustainable future.