San Francisco, August 1, 2018 – Today, the Global Climate Action Summit announced Jayathma Wickramanayake, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, as its sixth co-chair.

“I’m so honored and pleased to be invited as a Co-Chair of the Global Climate Action Summit. This a recognition of the transformative power of young people as equal partners in the fight against climate change,” says 27-year-old Wickramanayake.

“We must continue to support youth-led innovative climate solutions at scale and provide spaces for young people to lead climate action globally and on the ground, mobilizing communities in support of the Paris Agreement.”

Originally from Sri Lanka, Ms. Wickramanayake is charged with leading the UN’s youth engagement and advocacy efforts across all four pillars of the organization’s work, including sustainable development, human rights, peace and security, and humanitarian issues. She also serves as a representative of and advisor to the Secretary-General.

As a Co-Chair of the Global Climate Action Summit, Ms. Wickramanayake will mobilize young people from all walks of life to step up and lead on climate change. She will also help to deliver the call to action from the Summit to the UN General Assembly and beyond.

She joins an existing five-member panel of Summit Co-Chairs:

  • Edmund G. Brown Jr., Governor of California
  • Michael R. Bloomberg, U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action
  • Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change
  • Anand Mahindra, Chair of the Mahindra Group
  • Minister Xie Zhenhua, Special Representative for Climate Change Affairs of China

The Global Climate Action Summit, taking place September 12-14 in San Francisco, will bring leaders and people together from around the world to take ambition to the next level. It will be a moment to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of states, regions, cities, companies, investors and citizens with respect to climate action.

The Summit also serves as a launchpad for faster and deeper worldwide commitments and accelerated action from countries—supported by all sectors of society—that can put the globe on track to prevent dangerous climate change and realize the historic Paris Agreement.

Furthermore, the Summit will pave the way for leaders, including heads of state and ministers, to announce more ambitious national climate plans at the United Nations General Assembly and Climate Week in New York, COP24 in Poland and the UN Secretary-General’s Summit in September 2019.

Ms. Wickramanayake has worked extensively on youth development and participation, and has played a key role in transforming the youth development sector in her home country of Sri Lanka.

Prior to taking up her post, Ms. Wickramanayake was instrumental in creating the movement for civic and political engagement of young people, especially young women in Sri Lanka named “Hashtag Generation.” Previously, she advocated for global youth development on an international level including as the first ever Sri Lankan Youth Delegate to the United Nations and as the youth lead negotiator and member of the International Youth Task Force of the World Conference on Youth 2014 where she played a critical role in mainstreaming youth in the Post-2015 Process and in the establishment of World Youth Skills Day.

Edmund G. Brown Jr., Governor of California, said: “Jayathma Wickramanayake–a world leader in her own right–will help carry the groundswell of climate action from this Summit back to the United Nations and around the world.”

Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, said: “Our youth hold the long-term vision for the future of humanity; one that considers the health of the planet, all forms of life, and the sustainable use of its resources. Their drive and creativity will be central to helping countries and communities realize the Paris Agreement. This is why I am delighted today to welcome Jayathma Wickramanayake as a fellow Co-Chair of the Global Climate Action Summit.”

Michael R. Bloomberg UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action and Summit co-chair, said: “More than half of the global population is under 30 years old. Together they are a reason to be hopeful in the fight against climate change. Young people understand that their future is at risk. They are speaking up and taking action – and they will have a seat at the table this September in California. We are glad to welcome Jayathma as a co-chair of the summit and look forward to what we can accomplish together.”

Anand Mahindra, Chair of the Mahindra Group, said: “I very much look forward to working with Ms. Wickramanayake to deliver the strongest possible outcomes at the Global Climate Action Summit. She will serve a critical role by helping to elevate and incorporate the voices of global youth in the discussions.

About the Global Climate Action Summit
The 2018 Global Climate Action Summit, hosted in San Francisco September 12 to 14, will bring together state and local governments, business, and citizens from around the world to showcase climate action taking place, thereby demonstrating how the tide has turned in the race against climate change and inspiring deeper national commitments in support of the Paris Agreement.

To keep warming well below 2 degrees C, and ideally pursue 1.5 degrees C—temperatures that could lead to catastrophic consequences—worldwide emissions must start trending down in short future.

The Summit will showcase climate action around the world, along with bold new commitments, to give world leaders the confidence they can go even further by 2020.

The Summit’s five headline challenge areas are Healthy Energy Systems; Inclusive Economic Growth; Sustainable Communities; Land and Ocean Stewardship and Transformative Climate Investments

A series of reports are set to be launched over the coming months and at the Summit underlining the contribution of states and regions, cities, businesses, investors and civil society, also known as “non-party stakeholders” to national and international efforts to address climate change.

Many partners are supporting the Summit and the mobilization in advance including Climate Group; the Global Covenant of Mayors; the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group; BSR; We Mean Business; Ceres, CDP, formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project; WWF; and Mission 2020

For more information on the Summit visit #StepUp2018