No module Published on Offcanvas position


Bringing youth perspectives on food systems transformations to global platforms




The 28th Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was held from 30th November-12th December 2023 in Dubai. YPARD was one of an increasing number of youth-led organizations that sent a delegation of 8 young professionals to COP28 with the aim of representing youth voices and demands at the conference. 


At COP28, YPARD was the co-lead of the Youth co-host of the Food Systems Pavilion at the conference. The Youth Co-host for the Food Systems Pavilion is a collective endeavor of organizations dedicated to addressing the global food system crisis, promoting sustainable and equitable solutions. The organizations that were part of the Youth co-host led events at COP28 that demanded bold political climate commitments, catalyzing action and raising awareness about the urgent need for food systems transformation. You can read more about the Youth co-host here


YPARD members brought up key demands through the youth NGO constituency YOUNGO and the Global Youth Statement, but also through twelve different events throughout the two weeks of the negotiations. YPARD members consistently advocated for the importance of issues key to young professionals in agrifood systems, including generational renewal, a just transition, a food systems approach, agroecology, and the inclusion of agrifood systems issues in both climate mitigation and adaptation approaches. 


Besides this, YPARD was also a partner on the Food4Climate Pavilion, and also participated in several side events as speakers, moderators, and co-hosts. Below is a recap of all these events. 



1st December 2023

The session ‘The Great Food Debate: let them talk’ was organized by Proveg International and International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), and co-moderated by YPARD. It stressed that collaboration is essential to balance tradeoffs in increasing food production, with potential drawbacks like excessive land use and soil degradation. Panelists discussed prioritizing farmers, with a focus  on supporting their transition to sustainable and profitable climate-adaptive farming systems.

We also heard discussions on creating sustainable food systems that address social justice concerns, including the impact on vulnerable consumers worldwide. Diverse global contexts require tailored approaches to promoting nutritious and healthy diets. Solutions should be user-centric from the outset, acknowledging differences between the Global North and South, as well as variations among rich and poor populations. 

The Great Food Debate: let them talk- Link to recording

The COP28 Food Systems Call to Action event also took place on this day. This event was organized by the Youth co-host of the Food Systems Pavilion 

3rd December 2023

The first session, titled 'Decent Livelihoods for Youth in Food and Agriculture', saw interventions from Joshua Amponsem (Director Youth Climate Justice Fund, Founder, Green Africa Youth Organization (GAYO)), Genna Tesdall, (Director, YPARD), Brenda Success Mwale (Chief Operations Officer, Green Girls Platform), and Kwame Ofori (Ako Foundation).

Joshua talked about how African food systems are shaped by a plurality of small-scale actors, of which young people are a crucial part. He sees this as part of the cultural tradition of Africa, which is based heavily on community. We heard from Genna about how YPARD is capacitating young professionals globally through education, access to resources, and professional networks. Brenda emphasized on the need to transform the perception of 'farmers' so that young professionals can view the field of agriculture and food systems as engaging and professionally fulfilling.


The second YPARD session of the day was on 'Building climate and nutrition resilient societies through youth led action'. We heard from Nana YOHARI (Youth Coordinator, Democratic Republic of Congo) on how malnutrition is a pressing issue in her region and in many parts of the world. Heitor Dellasta (YPARD Brazil representative) spoke about how local communities can help in ecological conservation, sustainability, and solution building through innovative agricultural practices. Andreas Alfieri (Director INTPA/F, EU Commission) emphasized the role of society and young people in quicker, effective climate transformation. The clear link between nutrition and climate change was stressed on by Paul Garaycochea (Head of Directorate Sustainable Supply Chains, BMZ).


Decent Livelihoods for Youth in Food and Agriculture- Link to recording


Building climate and nutrition resilient societies through youth led action- Link to recording


4th December 2023

The first session of the day was titled 'Nurturing equitable food systems through innovations for farmers and youth'. In the session, several case studies about digital innovation, digital literacy, youth engagement projects and disruptive policies were presented. Speakers included Lini Wollenberg (University of Vermont), Ana Carolina Zimmermann (Farmer and Policy & Advocacy Gymnasimum Participant, WFO), Jean Sebastian Pedraza Paez (Chair, Steering Committee, YPARD), and Alexis Balimann (Switzerland Climate Youth Delegate). The moderator for the session was Sophie Healy-Thow, Founder of Act4Food.

The session concluded with interventions about how a human centric design approach is needed in food systems even as technology evolves, why co-creation with and by youth is key in policy making, and how multisectoral efforts are needed to create nurturing food systems.

The next session held with EmpoderaClima, YPARD Brazil, Sitawi Finance for Good, and Engajamundo was 'Youth and Gender in Climate Finance: How to make funding more intersectional and intergenerational'.

The speakers, Isabelle Flávia Dias (Volunteer, Engajamundo) and Carmen Roberta Taboad (Research Director, EmpoderaClima), emphasized that not enough climate finance goes to women, girls, and youth. This must change in order to create action on climate change. Partnerships were identified as key to getting finance to where it is needed, especially as LAC experiences extractive relationships with the global community. Thus, external investments from international organizations and industrialized nations, as well as transparency and genuine accountability is crucial.

Nurturing equitable food systems through innovations for farmers and youth-
Link to recording

5th December 2023

On World Soil Day (5th December), YPARD had the pleasure of taking part in an engaging discussion on soil health action for nature, climate, and people organized by Coalition of Action 4 Soil Health (CA4SH) at the #cop28 conference.
The discussion had two panels, and included several distinguished speakers who spoke on the pivotal role of soil health in reshaping agricultural practices, ensuring food security, and combating climate change and biodiversity loss.

The session was moderated by Leigh Winowiecki (Soil and Land Health Research Lead, World Agroforestry), with opening remarks from Eliane Ubalijoro (CEO, CIFOR-ICRAF).

Elizabeth Nsimbanda (President, Eastern Africa farmers federation, EAFF), Genna Tesdall (Director, YPARD), Roland van der Vorst (Head of Innovation Rabobank & CEO Rabo Carbon Bank), and Paul Luu (Executive Secretariat, 4p1000 Initiative) were part of the first panel.

The second panel included Erica Johnson (Sustainability Affairs Officer, Agreena), Nikita Eriksen-Hamel (Government of Canada), Martina Fleckenstein (Global Policy Director, Food, WWF), and Naoufal Mahdar (Vice President, Climate Action and Decarbonization, OCP Group). The closing remarks were delivered by Estherine Fotabong (Director of Agriculture, Food Security and Environmental Sustainability, AUDA-NEPAD).

The panellists talked about how to include soil health considerations in policies, expand actionable research on social health practices, increase healthy soil practices with farmers, and increase financial investments in soil health.


Link to recording.


6th December 2023

The first session of the day titled 'Role of youth in capacity building and policy making for climate action in the Global South' was organized by CGIAR. The session discussed the role that universities and research institutes play in capacity building processes, how intersectional youth focus is required in research in order to create evidence-based climate mitigation processes, and if youth are adequately involved in impact pathways.

Speakers included Harry Clark (Global Research Alliance GRA), Charles Spillane (Director, Ryan Institute, University of Galway) Jean Sebastian Pedraza Paez (Chair, Steering Committee, YPARD), Raha Hakimdavar (Senior Advisor, Georgetown University in Qatar), Joaquin J. Lozano A. (Regional Director, LAC, CGIAR), and participants of the CLIFF-GRADs program by GRA.

'Evidence Generation to Inform Policy and Practice for Scaling Soil Health for Resilient Food Systems' was the second session of the day. The objective of this session was to showcase evidence and examples of the impacts of enhancing soil health on food nutrition and climate change mitigation.

The session speakers included Joy Youwakim (Agronomy Scientist, Biome Makers), Laura Cramer (Thematic Lead, Climate-Smart Agriculture Policies and Priorities, AICCRA), Tom Williams (Director, Food and Agriculture, WBCSD – World Business Council for Sustainable Development), 'Wole Fatunbi (Lead Specialist: Innovation Systems and Partnerships, Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa - FARA), Glindys Virginia Luciano (Network Engagement Coordinator, YPARD), Aisha Hassan (Co-founder, Cycle to Farms), Dhrupad Choudhury (Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodiversity and Food Sovereignty). The session was moderated by Leigh Winowiecki, and closing remarks were delivered by Satya S. Tripathi (Secretary General, Global Alliance for a Sustainable Planet).

The final session on the 6th  was on 'Connection to Territories: Youth and Land Rights'. We heard about why land tenure is important to youth for long term planning and climate sensitive management, how access to land and land degradation makes it difficult to make farming profitable, and that youth and young women are especially affected.

Panellists for this session included RICHARD KACHUNGU (BKMC Agriyouth Champion), Elizabeth Sariah (Media Journalist, and Negotiator from Niue), Juan Carlos Mendoza (ECG Director, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)), Simon O'Connell (CEO, SNV), H.E Hailemariam Dessalegn (Chair, AGRA Board of Directors), Jennifer Crall (Global Partnerships - Growers and Youth Engagement, Bayer), and Laureen Ongessa (International Land Coalition (ILC)). The moderator was Dainalyn Swaby (World Farmer's Organization), and the session was organized by the Youth co-host.



Role of youth in capacity building and policy making for climate action in the Global South- Link to recording


Connection to Territories: Youth and Land Rights- Link to recording


8th December 2023

YPARD held the session titled 'Culture, Values, and Spiritual Perspectives: Mobilising Action Towards a Just Food System Transition' in collaboration with Baha'i International Community, BUDDHIST TZU CHI GENERAL HOSPITAL, and World Vision. The panellists engaged in discussions that illuminate how the values and missions of their respective organizations synergize to mobilize collective action in pursuit of an equitable transition and transformation of our food systems.

Speakers included Ingrid Jacobsen (Brot Für Die Welt), Jenice Achieng (YPARD Kenya Representative), Jialuen Goh (BUDDHIST TZU CHI GENERAL HOSPITAL), Mishelle Mitchell (World Vision), and Taissa (Indeginous Youth activist). The session was moderated by Gabriela Rawhani (Baha'i International Community), and organzied by YPARD on behalf of the Youth co-host.


Culture, Values, and Spiritual Perspectives: Mobilising Action Towards a Just Food System Transition- Link to recording


10th December 2023

On COP28’s Food, Agriculture and Water Day, the FAST Partnership was officially launched in the Presidency Roundtable, Al Saih room at Expo City Dubai. This partnership is the culmination of the FAST Initiative which was launched at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. The Presidency of COP27 tasked the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to operationalize the FAST Initiative into the FAST Partnership and host the Task Force acting as a Secretariat. 

The goal of the FAST Partnership is to improve the quality and quantity of climate finance to agrifood systems, and it will operate through three pillars: Access to finance, Knowledge and capacity, and Policy support and dialogue, with a view to foster sustainable agricultural transformation.The inception meeting held at COP28 saw interventions from Ministers and high-level representatives of Countries and Organizations supporting the work of the FAST Partnership. Genna Tesdall delivered her intervention on youth inclusion in agriculture and food systems transformation on behalf of YPARD. During her intervention, Genna emphasized the importance of involving youth in partnerships like FAST. She stated that 16% of the global population is made up of youth, even by conservative definitions of the term, and that the majority of youth in developing countries are already involved in agriculture. She concluded by affirming youth support in intergenerational cooperation and action. 


On this day, YPARD also participated in another side event organized by the International Forestry Students'​ Association (IFSA). The session was titled 'Climate Trailblazers: Harnessing the Power of Youth-led Initiatives on Sustainable Land Management and Climate Action' and provided a platform for dynamic youth organizations to present and discuss their projects. Speakers shared initiatives that address the urgent challenges of climate change through sustainable land management and climate action.


Isabelle Claire Dela Paz (International Forestry Students'​ Association (IFSA)), Alexa Beaucamp (School Forest Project), Thomas Westhoff (IAAS (International Association of Students in Agricultural and Related Sciences)), Oluwaseun Adekugbe (Youth4Nature), Heitor Dellasta (Global Youth Biodiversity Network), and Kofi Kisiedu Acquaye (YPARD Africa Coordinator) spoke at the session.



11 December 2023

Our last speaking engagement at COP28 was held on 11th December, titled 'Rooted Resilience: Youth-led Small Table Talks on Global Agroforestry Innovations'. This session aimed to provide a platform for young agroforestry practitioners to share their innovative approaches and experiences, and encourage participants to apply insights gained from the event in their own contexts, promoting the adoption of agroforestry practices for climate resilience.

The panellists for the session included Xiaoshang Deng (YPARD China member), Thomas Westhoff (IAAS (International Association of Students in Agricultural and Related Sciences)), Matthew Azure Awini (Care About Climate) and International Forestry Students'​ Association (IFSA) members Isabelle Claire Dela Paz, Violet Low-Beinart, Anna Stemberger.


Rooted Resilience: Youth-led Small Table Talks on Global Agroforestry Innovations- Link to recording