Beirut, Lebanon – 450 young leaders from the world’s most climate-affected regions have spent the past week at the Climate Justice Camp in Lebanon, developing strategies and demands that call on decision makers to put climate justice at the core of policy.
Participants from almost 100 countries across the Global South came together at the camp – the largest event of its kind to take place in the region – to attend and lead sessions on topics including loss and damage, climate adaptation, and fossil fuel phase out; and build cross-border networks that can to push for change in local and global contexts.
To bring the camp to a close, attendees gathered at sunset around a sculpture of a giant hand, which was collectively constructed using more than 400 pieces of embroidery, banners, symbolic textiles and fabrics brought from their home countries.
Renowned Lebanese artist and designer Pierre Abboud worked with participants across the week to co-design the sculpture as a symbol of solidarity for climate justice. He said: “This sculpture is a creative act of solidarity crafted by hundreds of young people coming together from around the world. Each piece of material tells a personal story, and woven together they form a hand that symbolizes the unity we feel in this gathering for climate justice, in such a beautiful part of the world – my country, my soul, my Lebanon.”
Agustin Maggio from Argentina, Climate Justice Camp organizer and Program Leader of Roots, a partner of the camp, said: “We have created this space because in the face of a climate emergency, failing is not an option. Every single one of the hundreds of participants at the Climate Justice Camp are fighting the drivers of the crisis at every level, locally, nationally, and globally. Youth have a vital seat at the table. They are already playing a critical role in civic space engagement, shifting policy and the foundations of political systems in a more progressive direction. Building community and solidarity is more than just making connections with others who may share some of our values. It’s about recognizing that despite the things we may not agree on, we need each other if we are going to make real progress. When we come together as a community, we share our knowledge, our resources, our ideas, and we can achieve real systemic change.”
Camp attendee Ayisha Siddiqa from Pakistan, human rights and land defender and Climate Advisor to the UN Secretary General said: “Regions in the Middle East, which get the least attention but are arguably some of the most looted and impacted regions on Earth, first paid for fossil fuels with their life and are now paying in drought, flood, and hunger. It does not take a political scientist to understand that environmental disasters of such scale lead to political and social upheaval. The foundations of a market-based economy collapse fast and what we are left with is human suffering. More than ever we need people power, we need to unify across borders and regions, across cultures and languages, to fix what we have broken. That starts with us caring for each other and the planet like it’s the most precious resource to exist.”
Fatima-Zahrae Tarib from Morocco, camp participant, youth climate advocate and political science major, said: “What we have at the Climate Justice Camp is the power of storytelling. The beauty of this space lies in the fact that it’s dedicated to young people, grassroots movements, Indigenous communities, those living on the frontlines of the climate crisis to come together from inspiring communities around the world. We have been sharing our stories with one another every day, exchanging experiences and knowledge that can’t be found on the internet or in books. It can only be taught through people’s stories and lived realities – through people power. This helps us grow the movement. It helps us keep the motivation going to continue campaigning for climate justice. While we may feel disappointment or hopelessness about how the climate crisis is being dealt with; when you create a lasting community in a space like this, that’s how we can work together to get stuff done and keep the momentum going.”
The Climate Justice Camp in Lebanon is the second edition of this global grassroots event, building on the success of the inaugural September 2022 camp in Tunisia. More than 40 local and global organizations worked collaboratively this year to bring together young people from the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, South East Asia, the Caribbean, and the Pacific, between August 28 to September 2.
Photo and video from the Climate Justice Camp 2023 can be found in the Greenpeace Media Library.
 Climate Justice Camp 2023 partner list: 350.org, Action Aid, African Coaching Network, Africans Rising, American Friends Service Committee, Amnesty International, Arab Reform Initiative, Arab Forum for Alternatives (AFA), CAN Arab World, CAN International, CAN-Europe, CIVICUS, Climate Activists Defenders, Diaries of the Ocean, Ecowave, Ecumene Studio (Space for Dignity), Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), Food Sovereignty network, Egypt Youth Association for Community Development in Fayoum, Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, Global Strategic Communications Council, Green Generation Foundation, Greenish, Greenpeace Africa, Greenpeace MENA, HBS Lebanon, Kenya Inter University Environmental Students Association (KIUESA), Lebanese Reforestation Initiative, MENA Youth Network, Mada Association, Me & Youth, Medico International, Oxfam, Roots, Stop Pollution Gabes, Students for Earth, The Movement Trust, The Black Hive @ M4BL, Together for Future, Transnational Institute, USCAN, Women & Gender Constituency, Youth for Climate Tunisia.
Sophie Schroder, Greenpeace Aotearoa – Roots Program, Whatsapp: +64 21 086 47450, [email protected]
Linda Åström, Climate Justice Camp global communications, Whatsapp: +46 73-852 4285, [email protected]
Hiam Mardini, Middle East and North Africa regional communications Manager, Whatsapp: +961 71 533 232, [email protected]
Greenpeace International Press Desk: [email protected], +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)