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Hello, this is Kasmira, and today we’re meeting an entrepreneurial group of young people - six in fact - who have come to the UN to present their work and inspire others to find solutions to global challenges. We spoke to two of the activists doing great things on land and at sea - one saving corals and the other promoting sustainable farming through cacao. We ask them what the UN in Geneva can bring to their cause.

And in keeping with our Friday focus on “what works”, we’ve also picked two stories from further afield but that very much resonate with work here at the heart of international Geneva – one examining how a simple water treatment could slash child mortality in poor countries and the other asking, ‘should air conditioning should be a human right?’ and why there may be other more sustainable solutions.

photo journaliste

Kasmira Jefford


Six young entrepreneurs, six solutions to global crises

Photo article

Young Activist Summit, Palais des Nations, 18 November. (Credit: Kasmira Jefford)

“Do you like to breathe?” The question, put to the audience by one of the young activists sitting on stage at the UN in Geneva, sinks like a rock in the ocean.

There’s a pause. Titouan Bernicot, the 22 year-old founder of Coral Gardners, an ocean conservation organisation working to restore dying reefs in the French Polynesian Islands and beyond, continues:

“More than half of the oxygen that we breathe, wherever we are, is coming from the oceans with healthy coral reefs. But over the last three decades, we have lost 25 per cent of the world’s reefs and they could be the first ecosystem collapse on our planet.”

In short, no coral reefs, no oxygen. His message, along with those of five young entrepreneurs selected as laureates of this year’s Young Activist Summit, is one of urgency. And they, along with the millions of youths that have sat out in the streets on Fridays over the last few years, are not waiting until they hit 18, or to be handed a degree or a promotion, to take action.

Read more on Geneva Solutions

Here's what else is happening

What's working, what's not

Photo article

Water containers used by residents at a slum near Nairobi. (Keystone/EPA/Stephen Morrison)

🚰 How a simple solution slashed child mortality in rural Kenyan villages. A new paper investigates the effects of chlorine treatment at water sources in some Kenyan villages. The findings were astounding.

Vox (EN)

🆒 Should air conditioning be a human right? Air conditioning has been proposed as a human right by human rights groups as some regions become increasingly unlivable due to extreme heat. Yet few see it as a sustainable long-term solution. Alternative strategies to manage heat in countries like Iraq could provide the answer.

Hothouse (EN)

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