TCI Forum Dialogue #3: What are the top climate issues for Indonesian youths?

Silvania Utami
Mon, 27 Mar 2023

On March 1st, 2023, Kota Kita collaborated with KEMITRAAN to organize the third TCI Forum Dialogue to highlight youth participation as a critical point in overcoming the impacts of climate change. As many as 80 youths attended the TCI Forum Dialogue #3: What are the top climate issues for Indonesian youths during this political year, representing community groups and movements from various sectors such as transportation, renewable energy, forestry, agriculture, and different regions such as East Java, Central Java, Jakarta, South Sulawesi, West Sumatra, East Kalimantan, Aceh, among others. 

The effects of climate change are becoming increasingly apparent daily; however, environmental and climate issues often remain outside the radar of public and government agendas. Against this backdrop, youth movements worldwide have become a beacon and a driving force in efforts to address the climate crisis. In Indonesia, these youths will also become a significant force in the upcoming general and presidential elections. 

"Concurrent presidential, legislative, and mayoral elections will be held in 2024, with nearly 60% of voters under 30. However, only a few political campaign activities prioritize climate change as a top priority issue. Youths must collaborate to raise awareness of the climate crisis, particularly given their strategic role in elections," said Inda Loekman, Head of Knowledge Management at KEMITRAAN.

The event was divided into two sessions: a talk show to highlight why youth participation is vital in the climate agenda with Adhityani Putri from Yayasan Indonesia Cerah, Tuti Alawiyah from Raoul Wallenberg Institute (RWI), Irfan Darliazi Yananto from the National Planning Agency (Bappenas) with Arif Nurdiansyah, Knowledge and Communication officer at KEMITRAAN, as the moderator; and a focus group discussion with youth-led community groups and movements.

Amplifying Youth Aspirations in Climate Issues

RWI's Tuti Alawiyah emphasized three keys to engaging and amplifying the voice of youths in climate issues: invest, include, and support. She said that investing resources in youth movements, involving youth participation in a meaningful way — not just for gimmick or tokenism — and supporting youth aspirations not just in the election but also in sustainable and long-term practices are among the critical frameworks to foster youth participation in the national climate agenda. Tuti also raised the issue of the youth's positioning in the climate agenda. "Youths are often viewed as agents of change in the efforts to alleviate the climate crisis, but at the same time, they also face a form of vulnerability, namely their opinions are often undermined [due to their age]," Tuti noted. The focus on youth participation was echoed by Adhityani Puteri, who emphasized that practical steps are urgently needed to engage and mobilize youths in advocating for climate action. She proposed integrating the climate issue with other socio-economic components, such as gender, inequality, or agricultural productivity, to communicate and engage more effectively with youths.

Furthermore, Dhitri emphasized the importance of multi-level strategies in advocating concrete actions to address the climate crisis: "It is critical to mainstream climate change issues with multiple strategies, starting from the legislative candidate in their respective electoral districts, then through the Gen Z (Generation Z) and millennials within political parties as a form of peer to peer communication, and finally through key leaders, where we communicate in a structured way through official letters and public hearing." Meanwhile, Irfan from Bappenas shared the government's perspective, elaborating on how the government has used the Penta Helix framework to engage youth in the climate crisis issue. For instance, Bappenas has involved a task force of youths in the Millennials and Generation Z to develop a long-term development concept to contribute to the preparation of Indonesia's Regional Long-term Development Plan, commonly known as RJPD.


What are the priority climate issues for youths?

In the second session, the participants were divided into five breakout groups. Facilitated by TCI partners, each group discussed three main questions: How has climate change impacted the daily experiences of young people? What is the role of young people in the climate crisis, and What are the strategies for nurturing youth movements in climate action? The groups highlighted a range of issues, such as the climate crisis's impact on youth in several sectors such as mobility, health, food, fisheries, and agriculture, the need to initiate youth participation in the policy-making and decision-making stages, the importance of strengthening youth capacity and bolstering more involvement of youth through meaningful supports. As a follow-up to the FGD, the aspirations of these youth movements will be consolidated and included in a collective positioning statement which will be communicated and disseminated to key government officials during the political year. 

With the growing urgency for collective and swift climate action, the discussion concluded with a shared statement emphasizing the youth's strategic role in making the climate agenda the focal point in this political year. Almost everyone agreed that this political year would become a strategic momentum for political parties to mainstream and structure environmental issues and the climate crisis in their agenda. 

These TCI Forum activities will continue in the coming months. Follow Kota Kita's social media channels and the channels of WRI Indonesia, KEMITRAAN, PATTIRO, and Inobu to stay updated!