The 29th Lisbon Forum of the Council of Europe - A Contribution by a GC Alumna
«As an Alumna of the Global Campus of Human Rights, I had the privilege of being invited to participate in the 29th Lisbon Forum, which centred on the theme of “Human Rights, Environment, and Economic Crimes: Youth the Forefront.” Building on the Council of Europe’s priorities established at the Reykjavik Summit in May 2023, the 29th Lisbon Forum spanned four sessions held on 16-17 October and explored the intricate connections between economic crimes, corruption, and environmental issues; and emphasised the pivotal role that young people play as catalysts for change in the ongoing battle against corruption, particularly in safeguarding the environment.
The opening session featured distinguished guests, including the Deputy Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Portugal, the Vice-President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Deputy Registrar of the European Court of Human Rights, and the Permanent Representative of Malta to the Council of Europe. These esteemed speakers emphasized the importance of involving youth in combating corruption and addressing climate change. Keynote speakers from Mauritius and Libya shared their unique experiences and underscored the critical role young people can play, highlighting the significance of investing in youth education to tackle contemporary issues.
The roundtable on Climate for Youth featured a discussion on how various regions engaged with, and observed, youth involvement in climate change issues. Despite differing experiences worldwide, there was a consensus on the importance of youth activism in climate change and the need to listen to the voices of young people to find effective solutions.
The session on Economic Crimes and the Environment brought together technical experts from various organizations and mechanisms addressing economic crimes and environmental regulations. During the Q&A session, I had the opportunity to pose two questions. I inquired about the human rights implications associated with certain carbon credit projects and the challenges of holding governments accountable in the context of backsliding democracies where civil society spaces are shrinking.
The final session of the Lisbon Forum focused on 'Young People as Agents for Change.' This session featured youth from around the world who were actively working on issues related to corruption, climate change, youth empowerment, and human rights defense. They discussed their areas of work and stressed the importance of involving youth from across the globe in these critical discussions.
In addition to the formal sessions, the coffee and lunch breaks provided valuable opportunities for participants to network, engage in conversations, and learn about each other's work. These interactions facilitated connections and discussions about potential collaborations.
In summary, the Lisbon Forum was an invaluable platform for connecting with individuals dedicated to addressing climate change and economic crimes. It allowed me to gain insights into the youth-led movements initiated by fellow participants and expanded my understanding of the discussed topics. This event provided two days of stimulating conversations and introduced me to potential contacts for my ongoing research on climate justice issues.»
By Anju Anna John
This 29th Lisbon Forum was organised in the framework of the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe's project “All Informed, All Concerned” funded by the governments of Portugal and Spain, with the support of the joint programme of the European Union and the Council of Europe “Protecting human rights, the rule of law and democracy through shared standards in the Southern Mediterranean” (South Programme V), co-financed by both organisations and implemented by the Council of Europe.
Anju Anna John (EMA – GC Europe alumna 2022) is a lawyer from India. She has over six years of experience working on issues relating to access to justice from an intersectional perspective. During her EMA studies, Anju spent her 2nd semester at the University of Deusto where she also wrote a thesis on Climate Justice in the context of indigenous women in India. Following this, she completed an internship on climate change-induced migration at the Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3). She is currently enrolled as a PhD student at the Pedro Arrupe Institute of Human Rights, University of Deusto, where her research focuses on intersectional climate justice.