Youth activists in Albania exchange ideas on gender equality in the context of climate crisis


Youth activists at the Youth Forum on Gender Equality, Climate Change and the Environment organized in Tirana, Albania. Photo: UN Women
Youth activists at the Youth Forum on Gender Equality, Climate Change and the Environment organized in Tirana, Albania. Photo: UN Women

UN Women, in collaboration with the Municipality of Tirana and the OSCE Presence in Albania, organized a Youth Forum on Gender Equality, Climate Change and the Environment, in the context of celebrating Tirana as the 2022 European Youth Capital. The event was attended by more than fifty youth activists, local government representatives and partners and was an opportunity to exchange ideas and solutions on how to tackle the greatest challenges of our time, climate change and gender equality, in the context of Albania.

“If until recently we thought that environmental policies were not something to be addressed by the local government, I believe that now we have demonstrated with concrete actions how important this issue is for us and we have also reflected this in the new Gender Equality Strategy 2022-2024”, said Deputy Mayor of Tirana Anisa Ruseti at the opening of the event.

Participants were introduced to the key conclusions reached at the 66th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, which, among other things, highlighted the importance of promoting youth participation, especially of young women and girls in shaping decisions on climate change, countering environmental degradation and reducing from disasters that may affect their future.

“When it comes to climate change and gender equality, be it globally, regionally, or locally, we can discuss a lot regarding the achievements and the good work and the challenges lying ahead of us. The reality is that we still have a lot of work to do and the clock is ticking,” highlighted Michele Ribotta, UN Women representative in Albania.

Sihana Nebiu, Head of the Democratization Department at the OSCE Presence in Albania also noted that “every single action of ours, every day, impacts global developments. How can we drive change if we are not able to say how climate change is influencing women and men differently,” said Ms. Nebiu.

“I want to show young people that we can take action, no matter how small, to tackle climate change. We can provide local solutions to this great global problem,”

Frenkli Prengaj, REC Albania
Frenkli Prengaj

“I would urge young people to insist on being part of roundtables and to be involved in decision making,”

Eneida Rabishta, Ministry of Environment
Eneida Rabishta

The youth are a force that can bring innovation in environmental issues and today, more than ever, we must use all the means to achieve the goals that society wants and expect from us,”

Erjon Lleshi, youth activist
Erjon Lleshi

During a group session, the discussions of the participants revolved around three main topics: Violence against women and girls in the context of climate change; participation of women and youth in climate and environmental governance; technology, education, and the green economy for addressing climate change.

The participants made concrete proposals for priority actions, ideas, and tools for the promotion of gender equality and addressing climate change in their context and surroundings. Some of the main suggestions included: raise awareness on climate change and gender equality in rural areas and create spaces for women’s and youth participation and inclusion; promote formal education and role models on climate change and gender equality issues; provide financial support for women-led eco-friendly and textile businesses across the country; and create hubs of technology-focused education for social change and tackling climate change.

The participants also came up with a set of recommendations for improving the informal employment situation and providing better services and support to rural women, women living in contaminated areas and those working in traditionally male-dominated industries.