Sustainable travel habits, Green Future and Urban Regeneration were some of the themes discussed during a youth conference organised by the Energy and Water Agency with the support of the Ministry for Environment, Energy and Enterprise.

The aim of the conference was to create a space for young people to have their say on several topics concerning sustainability.

In her keynote speech, Minister Miriam Dalli highlighted the importance of youth activism as young people need to help devise policy now since they are the key to drive a sustainable transition. Minister Dalli remarked that “policy and decision-makers can benefit by including youth in the policy making process. Young people can think beyond the barriers the older generation have inflicted upon themselves. It’s important to remove barriers and start testing innovative solutions which have not yet been tested.”

Addressing the conference, Kunsill Nazzjonali Żgħażagħ representative Yacopo Baldacchino underlined the importance of understanding the Sustainable Development Goals to be able to act on them and achieve them, with active engagement of youths being highly critical in this.

Themes discussed included sustainable travel habits and urban regeneration. Panellists and participants alike highlighted the need to push for more sustainable modes of transport by prioritising commuters and cyclists on the roads, creating more pedestrianised zones, better suited infrastructure and stressing safety concerns. The importance of behavioural change was also stressed through a number of interventions of the youths present, where on one hand the citizen needs to be involved, but there is the need for government measures to induce these behavioural changes.

When discussing green jobs and innovation in sustainability, attendees stressed the importance of citizen activism to pressure positive investments to become the norm. They also expressed their concerns with regards to security in sustainability, hence the need for discussing solutions to be sure that investments are being made in the right place. Water scarcity was also an issue that was tackled through concerns that were voiced particularly in relation to the ever-increasing temperatures due to climate change.

The Agency and the Ministry have taken note of the points raised to actively include them and push them forward on their agenda.Youths at the heart of discussion at sustainability themed conference.

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