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Yuv Sungkur: A proud climate advocate

Unwavering? Absolutely! Having recently graduated from Canada's McGill University with a Bachelor's in Political Science and International Relations, and a Master's in Global Environmental Governance from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, 24-year-old Yuv Sungkur is on a mission: to defend the climate.

Hello Yuv! You define yourself as a “climate advocate.” Tell us more about that.

My role as a climate advocate is to raise awareness of the impact of climate change on Small Island Developing States (SIDS). It's something I've been passionate about for quite a while, as SIDS are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, yet they emit only 1% of the world's greenhouse gases. I see this as a form of injustice from historical, social, and environmental standpoints. Therefore, I aim to amplify the voices of Mauritians and young people at the highest levels, sharing our message at international summits. The most recent were the AIS High-Level Summit in Bali in 2023, and COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh in 2022.

Tell us how you became a climate advocate.

I decided to become a climate advocate when I realised the consequences that SIDS would face if we ignored climate-related issues. During my university years, I wasn't afraid to get out there, knock on doors, and speak up because I deeply believe in my message. Doing this gave me the opportunity to speak about climate change education alongside the UN Secretary-General António Guterres during the Transforming Education Summit in New York in 2022. But this is just the beginning; there's still a long way to go.

How do you encourage people from all generations to join this fight?

By writing in newspapers, running workshops, participating in discussion panels, or giving speeches like TEDx. I position myself as a mediator. I don't want to pigeonhole anyone, but one generation grew up focusing on economic objectives, and the other wants to live in harmony with the planet. These viewpoints are not irreconcilable; we need to work together to make progress on this issue.

Tell us about your latest project, Ocean Governance

In October, I went to Bali with 26 representatives from islands across the world. We voted in favour of the Archipelagic Island Forum Youth Declaration, which deals with climate action for the oceans, tackling marine pollution, promoting a blue economy, and enhancing ocean governance. I had the honour of personally presenting this statement to the President of Indonesia. It's a huge step forward for the island youth, and I am very excited to be part of it.

Any other projects on the cards?

I work with the Climate Overshoot Commission as a Youth Advisor (there are six of us worldwide) on the issue of global warming. We propose strategies to mitigate risks in case the 1.5 °C target set at COP21 is exceeded. I am honoured to be able to work on these issues alongside former ministers and presidents. This opportunity isn't given to everyone, and I am all the more motivated by the fact that a Mauritian is in this position!

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