UNEP Major Groups Facilitating Committee, former Global Coordinator for Children & Youth.
Kehkashan Basu, the Youth Ambassador for the World Future Council, is a 15 year old environmental and social activist living in the United Arab Emirates whose sole objective is to involve and mobilise children and youth in the movement for a sustainable and green future around the world.
Born on 5th June which is also World Environment Day, she feels that it was pre-ordained that she should grow up to be an eco-warrior. Spreading the message of peace and sustainability has been her passion since she was only 8 years old and she has worked tirelessly to enlist the support of children and youth across geographical boundaries. She was the youngest participating international delegate at Rio+20 held in June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. While in Rio, she won a global award from UNCCD and she was the only child to be a part of a UN press conference there, held to mark the World Day to Combat Desertification. At Rio+20, she conducted several workshops on sustainability and also launched the first Asia Pacific Youth Water Summit. She was chosen by UNCSD MGCY to be the voice of the children and youth at several forums and reached out to the children of Rio’s favelas to integrate them in the march towards sustainability.
Kehkashan is the founder of a youth organization, GREEN HOPE UAE, which seeks to provide a networking platform to children and youth in the region to carry forward the Rio legacy. She is a Climate Justice Ambassador for Plant-for-the-Planet and in her role as the Academy Coordinator conducted the first Plant-for-the-Planet in the UAE which inducted scores of school children in the fight for climate justice. Kehkashan is a youth ambassador for the World Future Council and she also holds positions such as Regional Ambassador of TUNZA Ecogeneration, UAE Country Coordinator of TARUMITRA & GREEN The GENE. She is an active member of United Nations Major Groups for Children & Youth (UNCSD MGCY) , UNEP TUNZA and the Emirates Environmental Group. She is currently the Chairperson of the UAE chapter of the International Youth Council. She has actively pursued a number of ground level projects on the environment and biodiversity conservation. She plants a tree on every birthday as a symbol of her solidarity to the green cause. She has planted over a hundred saplings in the UAE, Indonesia, Kenya and Brazil. Public speaking, debating and leadership are Kehkashan’s forte and she was the Head Girl of her Junior School and is currently a Student Representative Council member. Kehkashan is a proficient musician and she sings, plays the piano and guitar .She has won several quiz, art, poetry and photography competitions.
Kehkashan was the Global Coordinator for Children & Youth and a member of UNEP’s Major Groups Facilitating Committee. She is the first minor, ever, to be elected into this position. In 2013 she has also been elected as Global President of the Children’s Board of Plant-for-the-Planet.
In 2010 and 2013 Kehkashan won the highest educational award of the gulf region, the prestigious HH Sheikh Hamdan Award for Distinguished Academic Performance.
On July 1, 2013 Kehkashan won a prize at the 2013 International School Essay Competition held by The Living Rainforest, UK, competing against a total of 831 entries from 65 countries.
Because of her impressive engagement UN Women recognised her for this unique initiative and invited her to speak at the “Leaders Forum on Climate Change” held in New York on 22nd Sep2014.
The UK Youth Climate Coalition named her as one of the Climate Heroines of 2014. As the youngest member of Middle East Solar, she has been a speaker at its forums as a voice of her youth constituency & part of “WOMEN IN SOLAR” group, which seeks to encourage women in the solar industry. She works with UNICEF and UNHCR , conducting relief campaigns for migrants, refugees and disaster victims.
For her inspiring work, she is the recipient of the 2014 Non Resident Indian of the Year award, the 2014 GESS Award as Ambassador for the Environment and the 2015 Diana Award for Active Campaigner.