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The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) has awarded Bangladesh Youth Environmental Initiative (BYEI) the 1st prize in the “Youth Green Skills Accelerator Challenge Call” for the proposed project on Empowering Youth on Green Transition. The project aims to nurture innovation on zero waste circular economy to achieve the SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production. The announcement was made at the COP27 side event at Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. 

Empowering Youth on Green Transition project seeks to improve the economic condition of 100 climate-vulnerable marginalized youth by providing them access to better employment and entrepreneurship opportunities in the green economy transition. The projects aims to do so by establishing Green Skills Innovation Hubs within TVET institutions, as well as by mapping skills gaps in the Solar Home System and in the Commercial Solar System, identifying potential beneficiaries for vocational and on-the-job training, as well as job matching and entrepreneurship training.

BYEI Founder and Executive Director Shamir Shehab received the award at a ceremony in COP27. “Climate change is affecting the livelihoods of young people in coastal Bangladesh,” said Shamir Shehab, Executive Director of the Bangladesh Youth Environmental Initiative at the awards ceremony. “At BYEI, we are excited to be one of the winners and implement the ‘Empower Youth on Green Transition’ project to build skills, capacity, and business enterprise in zero waste circular economy. It will ensure climate justice by empowering the youth from climate-vulnerable districts of Bangladesh and help achieve the SDG Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production,” Shehab said.

IsDB and ILO has launched this Global “Youth Green Skills Accelerator Challenge Call”  to recognize the leadership that young people have demonstrated in the fight against climate change and their key role in driving climate innovation, including amid the COVID-19 induced jobs crisis. A press release from the ILO read, “the call was aimed for projects to build skills required for green jobs and promote youth participation in a just transition to a green economy.”

Bangladesh has been deploying solar energy systems since the early 2000s. It has been estimated that by 2025 to 2060 the decommissioned solar PV wastes could reach 5.5 million tons including 874,134 tons of glass, 77,206 tons of plastic, 121,407 tons of aluminum, 39,487 tons of silicon, and 6,719 tons of copper. Bangladesh also generates 3 million tons of e-waste every year and only 3% of the waste are properly recycled. The informal recycling plants expose the informal workers to significant health hazards.

The Empowering Youth on Green Transition project will create new opportunities for youth entrepreneurs to turn Solar PV and electronic wastes into economically useful products. Moreover, there are chemical effluents from agriculture fields and plastics from packaging that has immense potential for recycling that this project is going to catapult through building the skills and nurturing the ecosystem of the youth entrepreneurs.  

BYEI with technical and implementation support from its strategic partner Catalyzing Sustainable Transformation (CaST) Network is going to start implementing the project in 2023.

For any further information, please contact Syed Muntasir Ridwan at [email protected] 

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