Day 2: Intro

Plenary Session | Stage 1

Host: UN Secretary-General’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change

When COVID-19 brought the world to a halt, it gave the planet an unprecedented ability to breathe. It also raised a critical question: if leaders across the world could take bold action against this global threat, why have we not seen this on the environmental front? It’s clear that we need to harness this level of urgency and decisive action if we want to save the planet.


Sophia Kianni
Founder & Executive Director, Climate Cardinals

Sophia Kianni is an 18 year old climate and environmental activist, specializing in media and strategy. She is the founder and executive director of Climate Cardinals, an international nonprofit with over 6,000 volunteers in 40+ countries working to translate climate information into more than 100 languages. She represents the United States as the youngest member on the inaugural United Nations Secretary-General’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change. Sophia’s activism has been featured in news outlets including Forbes, CNN, The Guardian, CNBC, and even on the front page of The Washington Post.

Joenia Wapichana
Federal Deputy, Camara of Deputies

Joenia Wapichana, belongs to the Wapichana indigenous people, was born in the Truarú Indigenous Community, in the State of Roraima. Graduated in Law at the Federal University of Roraima in 1997, she is considered the first indigenous lawyer in Brazil to act in favor of indigenous peoples. He worked for many years in the organization Conselho Indígena de Roraima (1999-2018). In 2018, she won the UN Human Rights Award and was elected Federal Deputy for Roraima, becoming the first indigenous federal parliamentarian in Brazil.

Selwin Hart
Assistant Secretary-General, Special Adviser of the United Nations Secretary-General on Climate Action, United Nations

The Special Adviser ensures delivery of the Secretary-General’s priorities on climate change, from enhanced nationally determined contributions, fossil fuel and coal phase-out, ensuring public and private finance shifts and the transitions necessary to shift the world’s energy, transportation, land and natural systems in alignment with the goals of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. Before his appointment, Selwin Hart served as the Executive Director for the Caribbean region at the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB). He was previously the Ambassador to the United States and the Organization of American States for Barbados and Director of the Secretary-General’s Climate Change Support Team, leading the team’s delivery of the 2014 Climate Summit and the Secretary-General’s engagement in the process leading to the signing of the Paris Agreement on climate change. Throughout his career, Mr. Hart has served in several climate action leadership positions, including as a Climate Adviser for the Caribbean Development Bank, Chief Climate Change Negotiator for Barbados, as well as the Coordinator and Lead Negotiator on Finance for the Alliance of Small Island Developing States, a coalition of 43 islands and low-lying coastal States in the Caribbean, Pacific, Africa, Indian Ocean and South China Sea. He was a member of the Kyoto Protocol Adaptation Fund Board from 2009 to 2010 and was elected by the United Nations General Assembly to serve as Vice-Chair of the Second Committee of the United Nations General Assembly (Economic and Financial) during its sixtieth Session.

Alexander Rendell
UNEP National Goodwill Ambassador for Thailand

Mr. Alexander Rendell is an actor, singer, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Environmental Education Center (EEC), an organization that raises environmental awareness among kids through camps. The EEC is in its fifth year of operations and has hosted around 150 camps. Using nature as its classroom, the group organises outdoor activities and camping trips to encourage young people to help protect the earth’s resources. Mr. Rendell aims to foster environmental consciousness in kids, to tackle the environmental crisis from the ground up. He holds a master’s degree in Environmental Social Science from Mahidol University and a bachelor’s in Communication and Media Studies from Chulalongkorn University, Thailand.

Genevieve Jiva
Coordinator, Pacific Islands Climate Action Network

Genevieve Jiva is from Suva, Fiji and is the coordinator for the Pacific Islands Climate Action Network (PICAN), the Pacific regional node of CAN International. She has been a member of PICAN since 2015, participating in their activities and advocating for stronger action on climate change. She has graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Politics, and has completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Diplomacy and International Affairs from the University of the South Pacific. She is also a member of 350 Fiji and has participated in Peace Boat’s Ocean and Climate Youth Ambassador Program.


September 23, 08:00
08:00 — 08:45EST(GMT-4) (45′)


| Host: UN Secretary-General’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change |, Genevieve Jiva (Pacific Islands Climate Action Network), Joenia Wapichana (Camara of Deputies), Selwin Hart (UN), Sophia Kianni (Climate Cardinals)