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Dubai schoolgirl moderates renewable energy discussion at the UN

2015-08-01 08:43:44

A Dubai teenager featured prominently at the United Nations headquarters in New York this week in moderating a panel discussion she had devised and organised.

Kehkashan Basu, a 15-year-old from Deira International School, Dubai, headed the panel on Wednesday as experts from Unicef, the UN Environment Programme and UN Women discussed renewable energy for future generations.

Kehkashan Basu at the UN headquarters in New York.

The Grade 10 pupil, the founder and president of the environmental youth group Green Hope UAE, moderated the event during the ongoing Inter-Governmental Negotiations on Sustainable Development forum.

Over the past four years, Kehkashan has attended more than 45 international summits. This year she was recognised with the Non-Resident Indian of the Year award, which is organised by the Indian media company Times Group and ICICI Bank. It honours exemplary non-resident Indians who have contributed to society.

Since the end of June, Kehkashan has been in New York where she was the youngest delegate at the high-level political forum on sustainable development, which ran from June 26 to July 8.

“I was very disappointed with the slow pace of implementation of the sustainable development dialogue and was concerned about its impact on us young people, since we are the future generation,” Kehkashan said.

“As a young person, I wanted to take some positive steps to press our views and planned to hold a side event at the upcoming inter-governmental negotiations on sustainable development.”

Along with an international youth group IDEAS for US, which is based in Florida, Kehkashan applied to the UN for permission to hold a side event on the renewable energy theme. Their proposal was accepted and the event was held on Wednesday.

Her environmental group campaigns for sustainable development through young people, conducting events such as tree planting, fund-raising, roadshows and beach clean-ups.

Kehkashan has also twice won the Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Distinguished Academic Performance, with her extra-curricular work focusing on the right to education, gender equality and combating climate change.