This pre-COP26 roundtable explores how Indigenous youth have perceived and experienced the COVID-19 crisis, including how this crisis has compounded the pre-existing pressures of climate change on their food systems. During the roundtable, Indigenous youth-led initiatives are presented to highlight the importance of adopting integrated approaches to issues of health, climate change and food systems. The side event is based on the recent FAO publication “Indigenous youth as agents of change - Actions of Indigenous youth in local food systems during times of adversity", a document that demonstrates how Indigenous youth-led initiatives have enhanced resilience in their communities during times of adversity. With this side-event, FAO aims to provide space for Indigenous youth to share their experiences with policymakers who are responsible for international decisions that impact the livelihoods of Indigenous youth.

The COVID-19 pandemic poses a considerable disturbance on Indigenous Peoples’ food systems and these adverse circumstances both call attention to already existing stressors and make us look at how the pandemic can potentially weaken Indigenous Peoples’ food systems’ adaptive capacity and resilience to climate change. Multiple links exist between climate change, food systems and pandemics like COVID-19, as human, environmental, plant and animal health are tightly interlinked. Despite multiple and diverse challenges, Indigenous youth are known to be able to effectively navigate through different cultural systems, providingthem with key insights of resilience and innovation from different systems. By combining traditional knowledge with modern scientific knowledge they can contribute immensely to the global agenda on food security, climate change adaptations, biodiversity preservation and Zero Hunger - and play a crucial role with regards to their communities’ representation, mediation, as well as conflict resolution.

Objectives of the event:

  • Supporting Indigenous youth in bringing their voices into international climate policy arenas;
  • Providing first-hand experiences from and testimonials of Indigenous Peoples’ communities;
  • Demonstrating the unique abilities of Indigenous youth and Indigenous Peoples’ communities to adapt and react to climatological changes and crisis with traditional knowledge;
  • Encourage governments’ to listen to youth and raise their ambitions to take climate action;
  • Highlight the importance of supporting Indigenous Peoples’ communities´ practices and traditional lifestyles, and draw on lessons to be learned from them on the path towards sustainable solutions to climate change and food systems;
  • Stress the importance to include youth and Indigenous youth in decision-making processes; and
  • Inspire youth to take action in their communities.


The Center for Native American Youth, Global Indigenous Youth Caucus, YOUNGO

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