Background of the Task Force
IEEE Young Professionals is a global group of around 125,000 young graduates and volunteers. IEEE is a non-profit and the largest professional body in the world. The IEEE Young Professionals Climate and Sustainability Task Force was created with the intention of carrying out the following functions:
- Create tools, resources, and support mechanisms for early career professionals to engage in the Climate-Sustainability-Technology interface.
- Serve as a focal point for young professionals engaging in the space – establish a centralized platform and network to facilitate the active participation of young professionals in this field.
- Act as the interface between young professionals and other organizational units of IEEE and provide YP support across the organization-wide efforts of IEEE.
- Act as the interface between IEEE YPs, external youth-driven entities that share a common goal, youth-supporting mechanisms, and other entities (including related UN processes, energy agencies, industrial entities, non-profit programs, etc.) in the Climate-Sustainability-Technology interface.
We are currently a group of 25 young professionals working under the motto of: “Young Professionals in Technology to Increase Global Resilience”, serving a constituency of nearly 125,000 young practitioners. This document is compiled and presented by several members of the task force whose tasks they lead align with the concepts of Climate and Sustainability.
Engagement with the IEEE Senior Leadership
A passionate subgroup of the task force is actively involved in driving impactful initiatives towards the Student Energy Summit and UNFCCC COP 28 (UN Climate Change Conference). Our team had an engaging discussion with distinguished personalities like Prof. Saifur Rahman (IEEE President), Dr. Clara Neppel (Senior Director, IEEE European Business Operations), and Karen McCabe (Senior Director of Public Affairs & Marketing at IEEE SA) to explore how young professionals (YP’s) can contribute towards climate change-related content creation, collaboratively plan an event in COP and outreach potential engagements at the COP28.
We conveyed our eagerness to bring our expertise to the table and collaborate with their team to identify current technological solutions that need to be widely deployed, as well as address technology gaps by designing, innovating, and deploying new technological solutions. Our efforts are aimed at combining education and technology-related events about climate change at COP, which we believe can create a more meaningful impact towards achieving the Planet Positive 2030 goal. This item could include our potential conversation with UNESCO, which would add a significant boost to our impact. YP’s are dedicated to making a difference and are committed to playing a crucial role in achieving a sustainable future for all.
Partnerships with Related External Entities
In order to make our engagement more impactful, we have started working with relevant external organizations who are playing a key role in the technology and energy transition. Ongoing effort on highlighting industry and academic work from IEEE Young Professionals in parallel with associated policy frameworks in renewable energy deployment and related practices from International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). As another branch of continued effort with the organization, IEEE YP CSTF will be working with IRENA to co-organize the Youth Day at the upcoming IRENA Innovation Week in Bonn.
The IEEE Young Professionals Climate and Sustainability Task Force (YP CSTF) has established a valuable partnership with the International Energy Agency (IEA) through dedicated efforts to become part of the IEA’s Global Commission on People-Centered Clean Energy Transitions. The engagement with IEA was initiated during the Town hall event on April 27th, 2023, titled “Energy Transition, Climate, and Sustainability: Engagement of Young Professionals in a Global Setting”. During this event, the IEA presented the “Benefits of Energy Efficiency and Opportunities for Young Practitioners”.
The objectives of the IEA’s Global Commission on People-Centered Clean Energy Transitions closely align with the YP CSTF’s focus on people-centered energy access. This alignment will provide the task force with a unique opportunity to gather insights and contributions from a vast network of young practitioners who possess firsthand experience in ground-level energy access. Furthermore, the task force aims to continue engaging with the IEA through sessions and meetings, leveraging the expertise of IEEE Young Professionals as industry experts.
Town Hall on IEEE and Its Work in the Climate and Sustainability Space
We conducted a Town Hall on April 8, 2023, titled ‘IEEE and Its Work in the Climate and Sustainability Space’. The event was a success, with speakers sharing their insights on climate change issues from an IEEE perspective, and engaging in a productive question-and-answer session, where cutting-edge topics related to climate and sustainability were thoroughly discussed.
The Town Hall event had several speakers who shared their initiatives aimed at promoting sustainable energy and climate awareness. Dr. Saifur Rahman emphasized the importance of providing engineers and technologists with a neutral space for discussion and action to combat climate change. Dr. Rajan Kapur discussed the IEEE Smart Village’s efforts to support local enterprises in underserved communities worldwide. Ms. Radia Sedaoui talked about the importance of the Circular Carbon Economy and introduced the 4R (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Remove) for climate change solutions. Hebert Lwanga shared the funding efforts of the IEEE Humanitarian Technologies Board to provide sustainable energy solutions in underserved communities. Dr. Celia Shahnaz highlighted the IEEE Women in Engineering Committee’s initiatives to promote diversity and organize Climate Awareness Events. The event organizers expressed their gratitude to all the guest speakers for their valuable contributions.
Town Hall on ‘Energy Transition, Climate, and Sustainability: Engagement of Young Professionals in a Global Setting’
We conducted a Town Hall on the 27th of April focused on “Energy Transition, Climate, and Sustainability: Engagement of Young Professionals in a Global Setting”. This event had over 100 audiences from across the globe and was a success. The objective of this town hall was to bring together entities and governing bodies in the Climate and Sustainability space to engage with IEEE Young Professionals and other like-minded stakeholders on Climate Change and Sustainability.
The Town Hall featured notable speakers who provided valuable insights and information on various organizations, initiatives, and fields of engagement for young professionals. Notable mentions of speakers and their topics included Ms.Samah Elsayed, a Programme Officer at IRENA, provided an overview of the policy transformation towards a clean energy future and discussed how IRENA saw the role and contribution of youth in the energy transition. Mr. Jal Desai discussed the Clean Energy Ministerial’s Work Streams and highlighted ways young practitioners could engage with them. He also covered the Clean Energy Solutions Center (CESC) and Nuclear Innovation Clean Energy Future (NICE Future) initiatives. Dr. Stefano Mintchev, Head of the Laboratory at the Environmental Robotics Laboratory at ETH Zurich, presented how robotics could be utilized in sustainable environmental design alongside a demonstration of some of his work prior to joining ETH Zurich. Ms.Julie Boyce, Project Coordinator of the Student Energy Career Training (SECT) Program, introduced the benefits of energy efficiency and the opportunities it provided for young practitioners. Finally, Mr. Hugo Salamanca, an Energy Policy Analyst from the International Energy Agency (IEA), discussed the benefits of energy efficiency and the opportunities available for young practitioners.
The Town Hall event provided a platform for knowledge sharing, networking, and collaboration, empowering young professionals to actively contribute to climate change and sustainability efforts in alignment with IEEE YP CSTF’s objectives.
Panel discussion on ‘Pioneering the Path to a Sustainable Future: Empowering Next-Generation Leaders in Climate Action’
This upcoming session we partner with the participants from International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), International Energy Agency (IEA), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Schneider Electric and several IEEE Young Professionals to explore the contributions from the next generation leaders towards climate action through their work in technology and policy.
Panel discussion on ‘Promoting Diversity & Inclusion in Climate Change & Sustainability
Diversity is a vital component in the context of participation within climate and energy transition processes. We need to ensure meaningful engagements while promoting diversity and inclusion. This session explores how IEEE creates an enabling environment.
Partnering with and supporting the Student Energy Summit 2023
SES 2023 will be held in the Middle East for the very first time in November 2023, hosted by New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) under the theme Reimagining the Future. The Summit will be a transformative space for intergenerational collaboration and will cultivate a space for young people from diverse homelands and unique educational and socio-economic backgrounds to network and present innovative solutions to our energy challenges. This will be the largest event that brings together young practitioners in the energy sector and therefore, a vital space of engagement for IEEE Young Practitioners.
We plan to co-organize a session focussed on concepts of Energy Efficiency to educate young practitioners and engage them in an action oriented program. Furthermore, we wish to further engage with Student Energy and plan for the upcoming UNFCCC COP 28 in UAE.
Partnering with and supporting the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Innovation Week
IRENA Innovation Week brings together leaders, experts, industry representatives, academics and policymakers to discuss cutting-edge innovations that can support and accelerate the global energy transition. In 2023, the event will build on previous editions in 2016 and 2018 which examined the decarbonisation of power systems and the integration of variable renewable energy, and the 2020 edition (held virtually) that discussed prospects for decarbonising end-use sectors.
We are co-organizing a session with IRENA to engage young innovators to present their latest innovations and discuss challenges in the start-up environment.
Education Sessions on Climate and Sustainability
One of the key deliverables of CSTF is the education and training of young practitioners. This effort is meant to create awareness among the youth and young professionals regarding the important concepts of climate and sustainability.
We envision that these programs could place IEEE as a leading guidance provider. As many young professionals at the moment are engaged in activities or professions that contribute to mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage, and enabling environments. As the next steps we are planning to create a formal training package from the IEEE YP CSTF to educate, IEEE YPs and beyond.
IEEE Power and Energy Society and LUMA Projects in Puerto Rico
In recent years, the number of weather disasters across the globe has increased considerably due to the man-made impacts of climate change. Puerto Rico, in response to Hurricane Maria in 2017, has committed to transitioning to 100% renewable energies by 2050, launched via the Puerto Rico Grid Resilience and Transition to 100% Renewable Energy Study (PR100). IEEE YP CSTF aims to collaborate and leverage the knowledge, skills, and expertise of those directly involved with ensuring these goals of PR100 are successfully met alongside the expectation that these resources are shared with the young professional community.
To that end, we are in the process of hosting a webinar to highlight the technical work of LUMA, potentially featuring substation modernization projects to reach 100% renewable energy potential. Also, IEEE Power and Energy Society Innovative Smart Grid Technologies will be hosting a conference, “Dter Recovery and Network Transformation in Times of Climate Change”, in Puerto Rico this November. Our task force is supporting this event by advertising the conference across the IEEE community as well as facilitating a micro-mentoring session. The task force is currently searching for potential panelists with relevant expertise in engineering resilience, energy transition, and building “green” infrastructure in order to host a panel session with the theme, “Engineering Resilience in Response to Extreme Weather Disasters Across the Globe”.
Young Professionals Partnership with IEEE Women and Engineering (WIE)
The objective of the collaboration between IEEE Women in Engineering (WIE) and IEEE YP CSTF is to leverage the expertise, skills, and knowledge of both groups to work towards achieving a common goal of promoting climate and sustainability initiatives while also advancing the representation and professional development of women in the engineering field.
Through collaboration, the two groups can pool their resources and efforts to organize events, programs, and initiatives that create awareness and encourage action on critical environmental and social issues, while also promoting gender equity and diversity in the engineering profession. The overall objective of this collaboration would be to create a more sustainable and equitable future for all.
IEEE Vehicular Technology Society (VTS) YP organized a webinar on the topic “IEEE YP CSTF: Exploring Our Mission, Objectives, and Opportunities for Involvement.”
This engaging webinar not only highlighted the significant contributions of IEEE youth towards climate change but also included an informative overview of crucial aspects such as understanding climate change, the Paris Agreement, and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Furthermore, the webinar emphasized the role of IEEE in addressing climate challenges, aligning with the objectives outlined in Article 10 of the NDC. Attendees gained valuable insights into the mission and objectives of the IEEE Young Professionals Climate and Sustainability Task Force (CSTF), as well as the diverse opportunities available for active involvement.
Contributions to the (External) Position Paper Presented to the SDG7 Global Expert Group Meeting of the United Nations (UNHQ, May 2023) (Lead: Sajith Wijesuriya)
A number of the IEEE YP CSTF members contributed to the “Position Paper From Young Practitioners in Energy Technology and Contributing Practices Towards Implementation and Monitoring of SDG7 2023-2030” which was presented to the Global Expert Group Meeting in Support of the Mid-Point Review of SDG 7 at the HLPF 2023: Ensuring Universal Energy Access and Advancing Just, Inclusive and Equitable Energy Transitions at the United Nations Headquarters, New York on May 11-12, 2023. IEEE YP CSTF Chair made three interventions from the floor covering the topics. 1) Challenges faced in providing energy access under humanitarian conditions. 2) Action required in the context of the youth workforce in the energy transition, and 3) Way forward suggestions for the young practitioner workforce and the energy transition processes for UN Energy and the member states. The position paper can be found here in the UN web portal. https://bit.ly/SGDS_UN_Position_Paper
Partnerships with key international forums on grid edge technologies
We are partnering to host a session titled “6G Communications for Sustainable Energy Management and Net Zero” at the IEEE International Conference on Communications, Control, and Computing Technologies for Smart Grids scheduled to be held in Glasgow, Scotland. We will be making key interventions at this event on next-generation communications to assist the advancement of renewable energy.
Training on Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Goals
We have designed a training package on climate change to train the young practitioners of IEEE YP, IEEE Student constituencies as well as the global youth. We aim to reduce the knowledge gap of young practitioners in technology in the status quo of the climate process and sustainable development goals process. While we have started training sessions we continue to develop and improve this content.
Supporting the Planet Positive Initiative by IEEE (Lead: Pooja Shah)
We are partnering with the Planet Positive 2030 initiative of IEEE to contribute to their work and promote their message.
IEEE Young Professionals Representation at the Arab Forum for Sustainable Development
The Forum, organized annually by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), brought together Arab Governments and stakeholders to discuss sustainable development priorities in the region. The goal was to find solutions and inspire action for accelerating the recovery from COVID-19 and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the Arab region, which is in line with the focus of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) and enhances the Arab Region’s presence.
The talks and sessions focused on the 5 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under review at the HLPF 2023, particularly SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation), SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy), SDG 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities), and SDG 17 (partnerships for the Goals). Other regional goals were further discussed, mainly poverty and gender inequality.
Overall, the forum was an opportunity for our team to meet industry leaders and UN professionals working together for a sustainable future.
IEEE Young Professionals Session at Africa Youth Climate Assembly (AYCA) at the Africa Climate Week (ACW) 2023 in Nairobi, Kenya
IRENA engagement during NY Climate Week
Sajith Wijesuriya orchestrated a pivotal meeting with IRENA’s Director General (DG), co-moderated by IEEE YP CSTF member Shree Narasimhan and SDG7 Youth Constituency Delegate, Asma Rouabhia, aligning goals for a sustainable future. With the recommendation of IRENA’s DG, IEEE YP will submit a brief proposal on engaging young practitioners with IRENA’s impactful initiatives.
YP Dialogue @NY Climate Week
- Organizing high-level conference events working with the multilateral system
- Organizing thematic Town Hall events, webinars, and workshops addressing energy transition and climate change related thematics
- Drafting and defending position papers
- Publishing cutting-edge research at many levels and a range of technologies
- In-depth knowledge of the energy transition process
- Technical expertise in diverse topics in technology and beyond
- Extensive experience in youth constituencies and related work