“The youth is leading the way”

Peter Friberg.

It all begun in August 2018. Using a simple sign saying “School Strike for Climate” Greta Thunberg sat outside the Swedish Parliament to protest against politicians who are not taking enough action to tackle climate change. An amazing protest storm followed across the globe. Greta is leading the way and pushing the world leaders in front of her. Listen to the scientists! Do more! These are her words, and they are important and widespread; Greta has 4 million followers on Twitter. Indeed, there are several strong young people around the globe, from Africa, Asia, North and South America, to push for actions to protect our planet.

Global challenges such as the climate crisis, biodiversity loss, pandemics, armed conflict, inequalities all have dramatic effect on people´s living and health and the health of our planet. I am amazed by the energy and engagement that the young people provide in tackling these difficult challenges. It is time now for the scientific community to give her and other young counterparts across the globe our strong support!

SIGHT has the pleasure, thanks to a generous donation by the Family Einhorn Foundation and by help from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, to annually award a talented researcher within the global health field. A few weeks ago, SIGHT awarded Dr Ebba Malmqvist the 2020 SIGHT Award for her scientific contribution (You can read the interview with Ebba Malmqvist here). The event is planned and organised by several student organisations, where SIGHT student coordinators take an active part (read their report here). It is wonderful to see the profound interest and power that is involved in creating the programme. Truly inspiring and the student work gives me strong hope for creating a better world.

There is a number of various and active youth organisations globally, making their voices heard; from grass roots in civil society to the UN level, such as IFMSA, African leadership centre, the UN youth delegate programme, Youth4Peace to mention just a few examples, all working hard to ensure justice, peace, people´s health and a sustainable climate and environment. Their concerted efforts and actions further strengthen my hope for a fair and just world. And, please, continue to challenge leaders and be disruptive innovators.

It is no doubt that Greta Thunberg and the increasing and strong engagement by young people on school strike Fridays for Future, have played a pivotal role in engaging children, and adolescents to take part in working not only for climate issues, but also for peace, antiracism and social justice. In an unbelievable way Greta has caused decision makers and political leaders to seriously consider actions against the climate crisis. “Listen to the scientists” – Greta’s words clearly made impact! To build better forward is now mandatory, synergising SDGs and their targets, putting children and young people’s needs and rights at the center of the political decision-making.

Soon we can put the year 2020 behind us and start looking into 2021. A year that we hope will deliver vaccine in a just and fair way, conquering the evil Coronavirus, and slowly allowing people to get closer to each other again.

With warmest Holiday wishes to you all

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