By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp
António Gutteres announced the formation of a Youth Advisory Group in a press release on Monday. The seven young people chosen range in ages between 18 and 28. In a video message released on the occasion, the UN Secretary-General cited the covid-19 crisis which has left the world “without the luxury of time,” and the need for “urgent action now to recover better from COVID-19” and “to confront injustice and inequality and address climate disruption."
Bishops rejoice at role given Ms Soreng
One of the members chosen is Archana Soreng, a young women from India. On Thursday, the CCBI announced their congratulations in a statement. Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrão, the President of the CCBI and Archbishop of Goa and Daman, says the Bishops of India “are proud of Ms. Archana Soreng and of the great contribution she makes to this prime global concern and we rejoice at the greater role bestowed upon her of helping preserve our common home by advising and guiding the United Nations, which are committed to this cause.”
Ms Soreng belongs to the Khadia Tribe and is a member of the Diocese of Rourkela in the Odisha Region. She holds a degree in Political Science and works as a Research Officer. The Bishops’ statement adds that Archana “has been an active member of the Indian Catholic Youth Movement (ICYM) … and is also involved with indigenous youth groups to preserve, document and promote the traditional knowledge and practices of their communities.”
Acknowledging the appointment, Archana says, “our ancestors have been protecting the forest and nature over the ages through their traditional knowledge and practices. Now it is on us to be the frontrunners in combating the climate crisis”.
On the international level, Archana participated in the 66th Session of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CECSR) in October 2019 at the UN headquarters in Geneva representing India as an Indigenous Youth. In her capacity as a Member of YOUNGO (Youth Constituency of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) she participated in the first Global Youth Caucus on Desertification and Land at the UNCCD COP 14, 2019.
Youth Advisory Group members
The other members of the UN Youth Advisory Group announced by Antóinio Gutteres are: Nisreen Elsaim of Sudan, Ernest Gibson of Fiji, Vladislav Kaim of Maldova, Sophia Kianni of the United States, Nathan Metenier of France, and Paloma Costa of Brazil.