YMCA champions youth-led solutions for climate action at COP26, Glasgow

Date: 25 October 2021

Monday 25 October 2021


The voice of the world’s oldest and largest youth organisation, encompassing 120 countries and reaching more than 65 million people a year, will be heard loud and clear at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in just six days time.

More than 20 YMCA Ambassadors will be joined by YMCA global leaders, and six films on YMCA Youth-Led Solution climate actions will be premiered in the Green Zone’s IMAX cinema, in the Glasgow Science Centre, on 12 November.

Carlos Sanvee, Secretary General of World YMCA, said: “YMCA is in Glasgow because we are the voice of young people. Young people will suffer the most because of our changing climate, and young people more than anyone else have the will to address the issue.”

“More than that, young people have many of the answers, and the tenacity and drive to implement solutions where others fall short. They will be presenting their climate action projects in Glasgow to a global audience. YMCA has been at six COPs previously, and will keep making our voice heard. All of our futures are at stake.”

YMCA is passionate about the power of youth-led education, innovation, science and advocacy programmes to tackle climate change. It launched its Youth-Led Solutions initiative to put its thinking into practice, delivering critical resources and funding firmly into the hands of young leaders, impacting more than 38,000 people and helping to develop innovative approaches to address global issues right now.

Six of these projects – spanning vermi-composting in Hawaii; inorganic waste management in Peru; training a new generation of eco-leaders in Philippines and USA; reforesting in Kosovo; creating micro-green spaces in Palestine; and even using up-cycled waste to make climate art in Zambia – will be in the spotlight in Glasgow.

YMCA Ambassadors from England & Wales, Germany, Ghana, Ireland, Jamaica, Kosovo, Palestine, Peru, Romania, Scotland, USA, Canada, Uruguay and Zambia will take part in debate in the COP 26 ‘Blue Zone’. Key figures from YMCA’s global leadership will also be joining a programme of COP26 side-events, including a special collaboration with One Young World and Extreme International.

  • Monday 8 November, ‘Moral Courage: Climate Justice and Human Rights’ panel discussion, The Extreme Hangout, YMCA & One Young World, The Ferry
  • Tuesday 9 November, ‘The Power of Investing in Youth-Led Solutions’ – panel discussion, The Extreme Hangout, YMCA & One Young World, The Ferry
  • Friday 12 November, ‘Creating Youth-Led Solutions: Sharing Stories with YMCA’, film première and panel discussion hosted by YMCA Scotland, Glasgow IMAX: Green Zone


Kerry Reilly, CEO of YMCA Scotland, said: “We want to promote the diversification and mobilisation of the climate action movement by elevating the voices of young people and the marginalised – the very voices that must be listened to in order to create real change.”

“Young people are too often excluded from the conversations most relevant to them, regardless of their potential to deliver the answers.”

“Through our access to the Blue Zone and a carefully planned programme of events, we intend to showcase and harness the power of youth-led solutions to demonstrate the unlimited potential in uniting to tackle this common and escalating threat.”

YMCA has had consultative status with the United Nations since 1947. It has previously attended six COP events, including the landmark COP 21 in Paris, where it ran ‘Camp Climate’ for young people attending the Summit to convene and share. Each time, it offers delegations of young people an opportunity to learn and engage.

Of YMCA’s 120 member countries, 70 are currently running more than 2,400 community programmes on environment-related issues, involving and impacting over 230,000 people.

For more information on YMCA’s involvement at COP26, including access to the events listed above, please visit: https://www.ymca.int/cop26/ or follow @WorldYMCA / #YMCACOP26.


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For more information and a list of spokespeople, or to make interview requests, please contact Aimee Reilly on aimee.reilly@ymca.org.uk / +44 7863 620084.


Notes to Editors

About World YMCA

Each year YMCA works with 60 million people across 120 counties. Its goal is to be the go-to global youth empowerment organisation that empowers, inspires and mobilises young people to find and share their voice on the issues that matter to them and to the world.

Across the world, YMCA supports young people for personal, community and global social impact. It provides a space to bring about transformation and make a positive impact on the world.

With 90,000 staff and one million volunteers working in more than 12,000 branches in local communities worldwide, its work touches the lives of some 65 million people every year.