The 29th Lisbon Forum, a two-day annual event organised by the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe and co-funded by the European Union, took place yesterday at the Ismaili Centre Lisbon. This year's deliberations focussed on the theme “Human Rights, Environment, and Economic Crimes: Youth at the Forefront.”

Ambassador Francesca Camilleri-Vettiger, chair of the Centre’s Executive Committee, welcomed delegates to “the beautiful premises of the Ismaili Centre,” and spoke of her hopes for the event to serve as a launchpad for environmental action, with young people leading the way.

“Their relentless drive and motivation to address and combat climate change,” she said, “is a great asset that we must recognise, embrace and utilise for building a climate resilient – and ultimately liveable future.”

Discussions at the Forum underscored the role of young people as advocates for addressing the climate crisis. Key topics included exploring opportunities and challenges for youth involvement in climate governance; deepening understanding of the connections between economic and environmental crimes; and the urgent need for global collaboration to combat corruption and economic crimes that exacerbate environmental degradation, such as illegal logging.

Notable participants included Francisco André, Portugal’s Secretary of State of Foreign Affairs; Edite Estrela, Vice-President of the Portuguese Assembly; and other high-ranking representatives from international organisations, national governments, parliaments, local and regional authorities, as well as civil society organisations from across Europe and the developing world.

The Ismaili Imamat and the North South Centre have enjoyed a long relationship centred on shared values, explained Nazim Ahmad, Diplomatic Representative of the Ismaili Imamat to Portugal.

“Both the Ismaili Imamat and the North South Centre have their Seats in Lisbon, a city which has an environment that enables one to see beyond borders and foster dialogue,” he said in his welcome remarks. “I am extremely happy that the reflection you are about to start takes place here, at the Ismaili Centre, designed to serve as a place for sharing knowledge and intellectual development, and to celebrate our shared values.”

The Lisbon Forum is a flagship event of the North-South Centre. It serves as a platform for promoting inclusive, intercultural dialogue and exchanging experiences and best practices between Europe and other continents, with a specific focus on the Middle East, Africa, and southern Mediterranean countries.