UCLG celebrates the new Youth Climate Action Fund launched by Bloomberg Philanthropies to activate tens of thousands of young people in driving local climate solutions in over 100 cities across the globe


100 cities will receive assistance to spur a groundswell of youth-driven climate activity 

With 84 percent of youth around the world reporting that they are worried climate change threatens people and the planet, United Cities and Local Governments celebrates and actively supports the new Youth Climate Action Fund, launched today by Bloomberg Philanthropies. The Fund will provide technical assistance and funding for 100 mayors to activate tens of thousands of young people ages of 15 – 24 years to design, produce, and govern urgent local climate solutions in their cities. The cities in the Fund span 38 countries across six continents, representing over 62 million residents. 

The programme, delivered by United Cities and Local Governments in partnership with the Bloomberg Center for Public Innovation at Johns Hopkins University, is a unique opportunity to provide cities and local governments from across the world with the tools and funding needed to raise the voice and perspectives of young people in driving scaled and purpose-led climate responses in their communities. Through micro-granting and technical assistance, it will empower young people within their communities, and enable them to become true leaders of local action and transformation, in line with the UCLG Pact for the Future of Humanity: for the People, for the Planet, for the government

Each city will receive $50,000 to distribute as microgrants to fund a groundswell of youth-led climate initiatives that meet local contexts and objectives. From mobilizing tree-planting or public education campaigns to launching recycling or waste reduction initiatives to participating in mitigation planning or preparedness programs, efforts stemming from the new Youth Climate Action Fund will advance critical community goals such as meeting decarbonization commitments or reducing consumption-based emissions. Cities that respond to the urgency of the moment and commit the initial $50,000 within six months will receive an additional $100,000 to support more youth-driven projects over the course of one year.

 “Youth today are the guardians of our future, and in bringing them together with local governments through this groundbreaking initiative, we will see cities reach newfound progress in shaping more resilient and regenerative communities that can act on the climate emergency in entirely new ways” said Emilia Sáiz, Secretary General for United Cities and Local Governments.


“Climate change is an all-hands-on-deck challenge, and it’s critical that young people – who have the most at stake – help lead the way,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Special Envoy on Climate Ambition and Solutions and 108th mayor of New York City. “This new fund will help mayors mobilize and empower tomorrow’s leaders to take action today.”


“In order for cities to catalyze ever broadening, ever more ambitious efforts, they’ll need to continue to shift away from traditional, top-down models to those that solicit ideas and crowd in energy from across the community, including and especially from young people who are so vested in solving the climate crisis,” said James Anderson, who leads the Government Innovation program at Bloomberg Philanthropies. “Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Youth Climate Action Fund will provide a springboard for mayors worldwide to put these lessons to work and launch a tidal wave of youth-driven activity that takes local climate action to the next level.” 


“The most successful climate action centers people,” said Antha Williams, who leads the Environment program at Bloomberg Philanthropies. “The Bloomberg Philanthropies Youth Climate Action Fund will help marshal a new era for cities by providing technical expertise and funds to deliver the hope, perspective, and talents of young people to help address the climate crisis head-on and build more sustainable cities for generations to come.”


The climate crisis poses an existential threat to communities, and mayors are the first and last mile of response: tackling emergencies and trialing interventions from the frontlines. Over the last decade, local governments have played a critical role in climate mitigation and adaptation – and this is only expected to grow in the coming decade. Many cities are reducing per capita emissions faster than their national governments. 


However, with more than 60 percent of young people saying that governments are not doing enough to avoid climate catastrophe or taking their concerns seriously enough, few city halls have the organizational capacity, capabilities, and confidence to unleash youth energy on solution-building. Kickstarted at the Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Innovation Studio at COP28, as a part of the Local Climate Action Summit, the Youth Climate Action Fund will provide the cities with the tools, techniques, and support to leverage innovation approaches that invite and foster robust youth collaboration in climate problem-solving and policymaking. 


Through the Fund, mayors will launch open calls in their cities for new and ambitious climate efforts led by young people. These ideas may include:


Youth-led awareness, education, research, and development initiatives, including: youth-led climate education programs; youth climate hackathons; youth-developed climate surveys and research; youth-informed clubs or curriculum; and youth-designed public art and awareness campaigns. Youth-driven climate mitigation and adaptation projects, including: youth-led community gardening, tree planting, reforestation, and urban farming campaigns; youth-managed recycling and waste reduction programs; and youth-produced climate resilience workshops and disaster preparedness programs.  Co-governed youth climate action plans, including: partnerships between city leaders and youth groups to inform climate-related policy ideas, decisions, or actions or the formation of youth climate ambassadors or advisory boards.


The 100 cities selected to participate in the Youth Climate Action Fund include: Accra, Ghana; Allentown, Pennsylvania; Allerød, Denmark; Alor Gajah, Malaysia; Athens, Greece; Atlanta, Georgia; Avellaneda, Argentina; Banjul, The Gambia; Belmopan, Belize; Billund, Denmark; Bo, Sierra Leone; Boise, Idaho; Borongan, Philippines; Bristol, United Kingdom; Broward County, Florida; Bulawayo, Zimbabwe; Casablanca, Morocco; Cerro Navia, Chile; Chefchaouen, Morocco; Cincinnati, Ohio; Columbia, South Carolina; Columbus, Ohio; Córdoba, Argentina; Cuenca, Ecuador; Curvelo, Brazil; Despeñaderos, Argentina; Dubuque, Iowa; Embu, Kenya; Esteban Echeverria, Argentina; Flint, Michigan; Freetown, Sierra Leone; Glasgow, United Kingdom; Guarulhos, Brazil; Guatemala City, Guatemala; Guelph, Canada; Haderslev, Denmark; Halifax, Canada; Hang Tuah Jaya, Malaysia; Hastings-on-Hudson, New York; Hobart, Australia; Hoboken, New Jersey; Hudson Valley, New York; Irbid, Jordan; Kampala, Uganda; Kerewan, The Gambia; Kitchener, Canada; Kitwe, Zambia; Kumasi, Ghana; La Crosse, Wisconsin; Lansing, Michigan; Long Beach, California; Luján de Cuyo, Argentina; Lusaka, Zambia; Madison, Wisconsin; Madugandí, Panamá; Maipú, Chile; Mansa, Zambia; Masaka City, Uganda; Melbourne, Australia; Mendoza, Argentina; Menjez, Lebanon; Mesa, Arizona; Mogi das Cruzes, Brazil; Montego Bay, Jamaica; Mykolaiv, Ukraine; Nansana, Uganda; New Orleans, Louisiana; New Westminster, Canada; Newcastle, Australia; Norddjurs, Denmark; Nouakchott, Mauritania; Oakville, Canada; Oberlin, Ohio; Paterson, New Jersey; Pérez, Argentina; Pikine, Senegal; Puerto Barrios, Guatemala; Quelimane, Mozambique; Quillota, Chile; Recife, Brazil; Reykjavik, Iceland; Rosario, Argentina; San Francisco, Camotes, Cebu, Philippines; Santiago, Chile; Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana; Skopje, North Macedonia; Sobral, Brazil; Tandil, Argentina; The Blue Mountains, Canada; Tirana, Albania; Tolhuin, Argentina; Trujillo, Honduras; Turin, Italy; Turku, Finland; Vejen, Denmark; Walvis Bay, Namibia; West Palm Beach, Florida; West Sacramento, California; White Plains, New York; and Zanzibar, Tanzania.


“Joining forces with mayors through the Youth Climate Action Fund is an incredible opportunity for us, the world’s youth, to step up, make our voices heard, and scale our impact at the local level,” said Florencio Venté, Co-Director for Migration Youth and Children Platform of the United Nation’s Major Group for Children and Youth and Member of United Cities and Local Government Youth Caucus. “As a member of the United Cities and Local Government Youth Caucus, we have always raised the need to collaborate with cities to include youth in initiative design, implementation, and funding. I commend Bloomberg Philanthropies and its partners for launching this new program—ensuring cities tap into the unbridled power of youth, a guarantee of tackling the climate crisis head on—paving the way for a greener, more sustainable future by changing how this work gets done in our communities.”


“I am thrilled that Freetown will join Bloomberg Philanthropies in their Youth Climate Action Fund, participating with mayors from around the world in harnessing the creativity, skills, and viewpoints of young people to lead the next generation of climate action in our community,” said Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr of Freetown, Sierra Leone. “Youth are at the forefront of the climate movement, and this novel program will help ensure our city fosters engagement from young people in developing solutions that move our community’s climate ambitions forward.”


“Kitchener is committed to working together with our youth to tackle some of our city’s and our planet’s biggest challenges so I am thrilled that Kitchener has been selected to join more than 100 cities from around the world to be part of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Youth Climate Action Fund,” said Mayor Berry Vrbanovic of Kitchener, Canada. “This program will provide us with the resources and expertise needed to move our youth’s perspectives and ideas forward—whether through participatory policymaking efforts and budgeting or in designing new mitigations and solutions—encouraging and elevating youth-led actions by the generation that will be most impacted.”


Read the full press release: LINK


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