Meet LearningPlanet Youth Fellow Charlize from Hong Kong. Learn of her hopes and dreams around COP28, particularly around integrating youth voices into these events.

What do you expect from this COP28? How do you feel about it?

Photo of upcoming COP28 participant, Charlize.

I am thrilled about this year’s COP and I look forward to this exciting experience. I am a member of the global leadership team for the Future of Sciences. It is a global youth-led initiative that advocates for scientific research and discovery as a pathway to innovation.

One aspect that fills me with anticipation is the opportunity to meet new people, especially those from other countries. Similar to our recent event with the UN Foundation and International Science Council for UNGA 78, the prospect of engaging with individuals who bring diverse perspectives, cultures, and ideas to the table is both enlightening and invigorating. I’m nervous about this, as it is the first time I’ll be traveling to another country for such an event. It is an honour for me and I hope to make the most out of it. 

If you were at COP28, what would you say to politicians and decision-makers? What would be your priority topic? 

My message to politicians and decision-makers at COP28 would revolve around the significance of involving youth in raising awareness and co-designing solutions for the environment through the lenses of science and well-being.

As a girl interested in science, I wish to dive into the field of environmental science and how that contributes to more in-depth research for climate change, in alignment with my work with the Catalysing Research Institute. As newer technologies emerge to solve more difficult issues, I ask how youth are engaging with these new scientific technologies to contribute to COP. Additionally, how are they ultimately engaging with experts and professionals to work towards a greater cause?

Which decisions do you think will be the most important at COP28?

The most important decision is on how to strengthen international cooperation and collaboration to address the issues of climate change. As climate change is a wide-scale issue, it affects almost everyone. Knowledge transfer, capacity-building, and partnerships can contribute to raising awareness and solving climate change and sustainability through international agreements. 

How can education and youth make a change?

The youth of future generations are the ones who are going to solve the issues we have today. Thus, their voices are critical to demand action from policymakers and engage in activism. Youth-led movements are also effective in engaging with neighbouring communities, while also encouraging others to take action. 

What do you think of young people’s participation in COP? Do you think current and future generations will be adequately represented?

I believe that COP greatly encourages it and values it. It is an honour to represent younger generations’ perspectives, ideas, and concerns regarding climate change and environmental issues.

Climate change and its consequences directly affect young people. They are also key stakeholders in shaping the future they will inherit. Again, international cooperation is a big factor. Having future generations adequately represented will be an immense benefit to strengthening international relations.

Any other thoughts?

I have rarely been to Dubai before, so it is a new and fun experience for me to experience COP in this vibrant city and be able to explore a new culture! Once again, I cannot express how honored I am to go to this prestigious event and to be able to represent the LearningPlanet Youth Fellows.

Meet Charlize

Hi everyone! My name is Charlize Fong, I’m 16 years old, and I am currently a junior studying at The Independent Schools Foundation Academy in Hong Kong. My passions include studying neuroscience and psychology, and my ambition is to advocate for the integration of people and planetary health for long-term sustainability. I have been fencing for over 10 years of my life, competing in regional and international competitions overseas. I also involve myself in advocacy work. For example, I co-organised and presented at Global Goals Week 2022 and 2023, and I am a KIDsforSDGs Youth Ambassador and a LearningPlanet Youth Fellow