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overwhelming 66% of participants agreed that climate change will be the biggest threat to Sri Lanka in the years to come

Notably, six in ten people in rural Sri Lanka believe climate change will be the greatest imminent risk

It is encouraging to know that 70% of the young participants think they can play the role of advocate on climate change

Over 24% of young people saw access to knowledge resources as the biggest challenge, if at all, and 62.5% did not have access to affordable capacity building resources for climate action .

Young people between the ages of 18 and 35 are among the groups most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, especially in developing countries like Sri Lanka. As young people are also the future leaders and decision-makers whose attitudes and actions will prove to be critical to how the world approaches climate change mitigation and adaptation, it is essential to better understand their perceptions and understanding. climate change and action.

To understand the perceptions of young people in Sri Lanka on climate change and potential actions to combat it, the British Council conducted a large survey of a respondent base of 1,000 young people aged 18 to 25 as well as 10 discussions of Focus Group (FGD) with young people aged 26-35 and interviewed over 25 policymakers, climate youth leaders and other key stakeholders. The British Council’s Research, Evaluation and Monitoring Unit (REMU), South Asia, and SLYCAN Trust led the research study.

The research report was officially launched on October 28-29, during a two-day Youth in Climate Action virtual conference organized by the British Council, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Sri Lanka. . The event was successfully concluded thanks to the valuable contributions of the Ministries of Environment, Youth and Sports, Wildlife and Forest Conservation and the Regional Society, as well as Lisa Whanstall, High Commissioner British Deputy, Sri Lanka, the Director of the UNDP Global Youth Program as well as the active participation of young people campaigning for climate action. The virtual conference will serve as a much-needed platform and agency to establish dialogue and conversation among key stakeholders, leading to recommendations and ideas for the future, while discussing how young people can effectively contribute. climate action priorities defined by the government of Sri Lanka. , UK and COP26.

“Action and innovation to tackle climate change is so important and harder to do than just talking about it or tweeting it. I hope to see real, measurable actions happening after the conference, for us and for the future. Shared Anoka Abeyrathne, Climate Officer for the Royal Commonwealth Society, who delivered the inspiring opening session.

The research is part of the British Council’s Climate Connection program, which aims to bring together people from around the world to address the challenges of climate change, through arts and culture, education and the English language. The conference preceded the United Nations Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, from November 1-12, 2021, with the United Kingdom chairing the summit.

Commenting on the collaboration, Malin Herwig, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Sri Lanka, said: “COVID-19 has brought people around the world to the fragility of life on earth. Thanks to UNDP’s tremendous work to help Sri Lanka achieve its climate priorities, young people are essential to play a key role in this transformational path – to place nature at the heart of sustainable development. It is encouraging to hear that 70% of the young people surveyed think they can play the role of advocate on climate change. Let us call on the young for the necessary transformation. ‘

The findings of the report were also used to draft a global youth letter, an action plan outlining the aspirations and recommendations of young people regarding climate change. The letter is addressed directly to policy makers and world leaders attending the United Nations Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP26).

Maarya Rehman, British Council Country Director Sri Lanka, said: “The climate emergency is the biggest crisis facing our planet, so it’s no surprise that British Council research has found that it was the number one priority for young people around the world. I am convinced that the research will be powerful work that can be integrated into the national action plan at the political level and, more importantly, the results should send a strong message on the importance of including the voice of young people in the climate action. conversation.’

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