Climate Youth Champion, Metoyer Lohia

By Pita Ligaiula at COP28 in Dubai, UAE

Pacific Island Forum Climate Youth Champion, Metoyer Lohia calls for genuine youth participation, and urges global leaders, including U.S President Joe Biden, to prioritise finance and capacity building for climate action.

When asked about her motivation for participating in COP28, Lohia highlighted the power of collective impact.

“If we make a bigger number and a collective group, we can make more impact than just a few,” she asserted, emphasising the importance of youth and women’s representation beyond symbolic gestures.

Lohia challenged the prevailing narrative of representation, stating, “I think the issue of youth representation and women’s representation has just recently become more of an afterthought kind of thing, just for inclusivity more than about real practical work and real contributions and discussions.”

Addressing the hypothetical opportunity to speak with President Joe Biden, Lohia emphasised the need for action on finance and capacity building.

“This call to move to just transition and the climate change Call to Action will require a lot of capacity building and finance from the West. I call for more attention from the U.S in that sense,” she expressed.

Lohia urged developed nations to go beyond rhetoric, stating, “I feel like the developed world, the West, most of the time, this is all talk, not really much action being done there.”

As a representative of Pacific youth, Lohia delivered an empowering message to her fellow young people.

“This is our time to rise up in whatever spaces and whatever capacities that you hold,” she encouraged. Drawing on her experience as a State lawyer in Papua New Guinea, she urged youth to use their platforms, be they big or small, to contribute meaningfully to climate discussions.

“I encourage all of us to band together and use whatever capacities that you have to move forward or raise your voices,” she added, acknowledging the diversity of talents and perspectives young people bring to the table.

Reflecting on youth initiatives in her home country, Lohia applauded the efforts of young people starting their own nonprofits and initiatives across various fields.

She called for collaboration among youth with different capacities and encouraged those in influential positions to assist in bringing more youth into spaces where their voices can be heard.

“This isn’t about me. This is about our region as a whole,” she emphasised, expressing her commitment to representing the collective voice of Pacific youth at COP28.

Metoyer Lohia’s interview highlights the crucial need for meaningful youth engagement, financial commitment, and capacity building to drive effective climate action, resonating as a call for genuine representation and collaborative efforts on the global stage.