COP28 UAE: Y&R Members Madison Shakespeare and Dr Michelle Catanzaro share their expertise on a global stage

COP28UAE logoThe 28th session of the UN Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP28 UAE) has taken place in Dubai, with the high-profile annual gathering attracting over 70,000 attendees this year. It brings the international community, including Young & Resilient Members, together to reconsider how the climate agenda is addressed on a global level.

The priorities for this year include energy transition to accelerate emissions reductions, the transformation of food systems and providing solutions for vulnerable communities, says H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, COP28 President.  At Y&R we are doing our bit to ensure that youth voices are part of conversations about climate justice.

Y&R Members Madison Shakespeare and Dr Michelle Catanzaro each played a significant role in COP28 with partners Space4Innovation and GEO Indigenous Alliance. In the panel event: ‘Indigenizing Education for Climate Action: Strategies, Case Studies, and Testimonies’ (Saturday 9 December) Madison Shakespeare, Michelle Catanzaro and Caelli Jo Brooker (University of Newcastle) shared insights from a collaborative research project that brought together First Nations artists, students, academics, cultural allies and the creative industries to find ways to further centre Indigenous voices in climate action conversations. Read more about this work here >

Image: Dr Michelle Catanzaro broadcasted at COP28UAE

Madison Shakespeare also co-designed content and presentations for the session ‘Indigenous-Led Climate Action: Democratizing Space Data for Planetary Wellbeing and Education’ (Sunday 10 December). This event focused on the power of digital technologies, specifically geo-emotional mapping that she trialed in her project ‘YarnCountry’ in the 'Mapimo’ web and mobile application.

The Mapimo application, a multi-project tool created by friends and members of Y&R including Dr Michelle Catanzaro, Dr Katrina Sandbach and Madison Shakespeare, is an interactive digital tool that seeks to capture the emotive relationship between people and their environments. The Mapimo app allows user to express how they fell about a specific place and asks them to provide text or a photograph to demonstrate why or how they feel.

As a First Nations Australian Madison Shakespeare values the format of YarnCountry because “prioritising feeling over written word, through visual narratives, ensures that YarnCountry, and Mapimo itself, is a forum for cross-cultural communication that is premised on Indigenous ways of knowing”.

Users do not need exceptional English literacy skills to engage with this platform and app users have experienced a sense of connection with others through their unique experiences through shared Country.

“We want everybody involved in our yarning forum because we care about how everyone feels and their connections with our shared natural environment,” says Madison. “[We] look forward to seeing you in YarnCountry.”

Image: Madison Shakespeare broadcasted at COP28UAE

Climate action is a priority for Y&R across a significant number of projects. Here is insight into 3 of our projects on this topic. The New Possibilities: Young People and Democratic Renewal project explores the significance of young people's participation in climate change movements for democracy in Australia. Our engagement in grassroots protests shows how deeply invested people in Australia are about advocating for an increase in renewable energy sources. This project has contributed to podcasts, journal articles, public events and news pieces on topics like education, citizenship, and young people in politics.

Y&R Member Dr Catharine Fleming has engaged in presentations and collaborations both in Australia and overseas to promote her work on improving health systems to benefit children and young people around the word. She recently delivered a Thought Leadership Event titled ‘Fix My Food: Sustainable Food Systems’ that captures how 1,300 young people from over 30 countries want to be involved in rethinking food systems so a truly child-centred food system can be developed. A summary video of her work can be viewed here >

Our recent collaboration with UNICEF Australia, the Children, young people and climate change: developing child-centred indicators for climate justice project, prioritises the views of young people in NSW devastated by significant climate events in Australia. A report capturing the insights of 54 young people through 15 recommendations will be available in early 2024.

Global conversations about sustainability and inclusivity play an important role, but there’s much to be done on the local and national stages as well, and we’re proud that our team is working across all spaces, to enhance young people's resilience, wellbeing and their rights.

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