Planeteers Attend the UN Civil Society Conference in Nairobi

This May 9th and 10th, funding from the Laura Turner Seydel Living Legacy Fund provided scholarships for three Planeteers from Captain Planet Foundation to attend the United Nations Civil Society Conference (UNCSC) in Nairobi, Kenya. This annual conference gathers UN System officials, prominent civil society organizations, academia, public opinion makers, youth changemakers, and international media with the goal of putting a global perspective on a variety of issues.

From left: Tanui, Naphtali, and Natalie attend the UN Civil Society Conference

The UNCSC, which is hosted by the UN Department of Global Communications, was notably held in Nairobi, Kenya, making it the first of its kind to be hosted in Africa since the UN’s establishment in 1945. “This milestone not only holds significance for the African community but also symbolizes the growing recognition of countries within the Global South,” says Naphtali, a leader of CPF’s Planeteer Alliance, Climate Activist, and Founder of Climrenew. Wonderfully, 70% of registered attendees were from Africa, with 40% representing youth aged 18 to 34, highlighting the diverse representation of communities.

Natalie Bullut (22) of Kenya, Ruth Tanui (22) of Kenya, and Naphtali Obed Akudung (27) of Nigeria, attended the conference to represent CPF – which is a UN Civil Society Organization – and to learn from and engage with professionals in the field. 

This specific conference was themed, “Shaping a Future of Global and Sustainable Progress,” and focused on raising awareness, ambition, and accountability for the UN Summit of the Future scheduled for September 2024. Some of the global issues discussed included Youth Participation, Digital Governance and AI, Climate Change, and Earth Governance.

“As a member of the Intergenerational and Youth Sub-committee, our focus centered on advocating for sustainable solutions that cater to both current and future generations,” Naphtali shared about his experience, “We emphasized the importance of the Declaration for Future Generations, promoting collective action across all levels. Additionally, we championed the #WeCommit challenge, encouraging individuals to commit to actionable steps aligned with the Pact for the Future. It was inspiring to bridge the gap between generations.” 

Naphtali Obed Akudung at the UN Civil Society Conference, hosted at the United Nations Office in Nairobi

Tanui, an environmental advocate, Planeteer, and Co-founder of Mviringo Africa, also found herself engaged in conversations surrounding amplifying youth voices, “Young people represent the next generation, and their perspectives are crucial for creating sustainable and progressive policies. To ensure that our views are considered and integrated into international policies, I argued that young people and children should actively participate in policy discussions and decision-making processes.” 

Tanui had the opportunity to participate in discussions about the importance of responsibility and policy enforcement thus advocating for a culture of responsibility so that efforts can lead to big changes and make a significant impact.

“At first, it was kind of intimidating to talk to people from different backgrounds, but it turned out to be really eye-opening,” Tanui shared, “The Captain Planet Foundation’s support really boosted my confidence and allowed me to freely exchange ideas with people from all walks of life. It opened my eyes to global issues and showed me just how important it is to have open conversations to come up with real solutions.”

Ruth Tanui representing Captain Planet Foundation at UNCSC in Nairobi

Natalie, a Law Student, Planeteer, and Co-founder of Mviringo Africa is a strong advocate for youth involvement in global decision-making. 

“I got to talk about Planeteer Alliance which is a global community of young people transforming their impatience for climate inaction into action,” Natalie shared, “A key case study I gave was how Planeteer Alliance has catapulted young people into global spaces enabling them to advocate for projects they are passionate and knowledgeable about. I was fortunate enough to talk to a few stakeholders during the side events where I emphasized that youth inclusion should be meaningful and not just mere tokenization— young people should have their ideas considered and where they are not, given feedback on how best to improve them.”

Natalie Bullut at the United Nations Civil Society Conference in Nairobi.

“I think it is important to acknowledge that the responsibility of safeguarding future generations extends to us all—not confined to any single group,” Natalie shares, “We should all work collectively to ensure that future generations receive a planet through which they can live a sustainable life… We can do this by borrowing from the different perspectives of each generation.”