Why young entrepreneurs need to be at COP28

23 November 2023
ITC News

Five youth representatives are attending COP28 with the International Centre, through the Ye! Community of entrepreneurs. Among them are the finalists of the ITC’s Youth Ecopreneur Award Mawuse Christina Gyisun, Max Fontaine, and the winner, Mashrur Hossain Shurid.  

ITC believes that young people play a central role in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Youth & Trade Programme ensures that young people are not only equipped with essential skills but also actively engaged in trade and entrepreneurship. The ITC's mandate positions the programme as a connecting force between these two crucial goals, key elements of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Frederico Perez, Ye! Advisor, Colombia

Federico is a Ye! Advisor who has benefited from several trainings through the Ye! Community and participated in ITC-sponsored leadership training. He also attended the Young Founders Programme of the Westerwelle Foundation through ITC/Ye! Support and partnership. 

Our generation is at the forefront of experiencing and addressing the impacts of climate change, making our participation at COP imperative. 
In my work, within initiatives like the ITC Ye! Community, YOUNGO and CIFOR Youth in Landscapes, I have seen how innovative thinking and youthful energy can bring transformative solutions to environmental challenges. My role in these initiatives has not only contributed to the climate dialogue but also inspired my peers to engage actively in environmental efforts. For example, in my work with Selvitas, a company I founded to co-create nature-based solutions in Colombia, we have revolutionized community development projects. By focusing on carbon markets and forest restoration, Selvitas not only aids in biodiversity regeneration but also provides sustainable livelihoods, addressing the root causes of deforestation and demonstrating the power of youth-led environmental action. Our perspective is unique – we are motivated not by the world as it is, but as it could be. This optimism drives us to explore new technologies and sustainable practices that will define the future of environmental policy. Our participation in COP28 is crucial to ensure that these innovative ideas are heard and incorporated into negotiations.

Mashrur Hossain Shurid, winner of the Youth Ecopreneur Award

Mashrur, is from Bangladesh, where a lack of information on soil, weather, and climate-smart farming practices causes poor profitability of Bangladeshi smallholders. That’s contributed to a 38% decline in the agricultural workforce, creating roughly 35,000 climate migrants every year. Mashrur developed a precision agronomic advisory system to provide timely, actionable information services to farmers. 

As a young Bangladeshi, I have always felt a strong connection to my country's rich culture, diverse landscape, and, unfortunately, its vulnerability to climate change. Bangladesh, the 7th most climate-vulnerable country in the world, with its low-lying coastal areas and densely populated cities, is particularly susceptible to the devastating effects of global warming. That is why it is crucial for young people like me to participate in COP28 and shape our collective future actively. 

Young people are often at the forefront of innovation and technological advancements. We possess fresh perspectives and creative ideas that can drive sustainable solutions to combat climate change. Our involvement can accelerate developing and implementing innovative technologies and practices that can mitigate its effects. For instance, I am working to make climate action profitable for small farmers through my agri-info-tech startup, and by participating in COP28, if I could share my experience and challenges in doing so with other participant-youths from around the world, our chances to get better results will be even higher for sure! 

In the era of social media and interconnectedness, the youth voice is more potent than ever. By participating in COP28, we can utilize our online platforms to share our experiences, concerns, and solutions with a global audience. Our advocacy can inspire others to act and influence decision-makers on a larger scale. 

What is the Ye! Community? 

The Ye! Community, facilitated by the International Trade Centre’s Youth & Trade Programme, supports young innovators aged 18 to 35. This initiative connects budding entrepreneurs with opportunities, mentors, and resources, fostering collaboration among over 30,000 members and 300 expert mentors spanning 170 countries. 

What are the Youth Ecopreneur Awards? 

Youth Ecopreneur Awards, powered by the Ye! community, is a green business competition for young entrepreneurs whose companies offer innovative solutions to environmental challenges. Winners receive cash prize, capacity building from the International Trade Centre and partners such as Google StartUp for Sustainable Development, WIPO and Sidley.