Hailing from a small village Bihabandh village of Rajgangpur in Sundargarh, Odisha, Archana would never had even dreamt of becoming a part of the huge organisation, United Nations. Archana Soreng is an Environmental activist working for Climate change awareness. Recently, she has been selected among the seven members of UN Youth Advisory Group 2020 on Climate change. This particular initiative has been established by the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, as a part of UN Youth strategy.
About Archana Soreng
Archana is a girl from indigenous “Kharia” tribe. Born in 1996, she graduated from Patna Women’s College and took her Master’s degree in Regulatory Governance from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS). Meanwhile, Soreng’s interest into social work and activism takes its inspiration from her paternal grandfather as well as her father, Bijay Kumar Soreng. Her father used to help villagers to form community networks and spread education and in propagation of indigenous health care.
Archana says, “Land and forests are critical to an indigenous person’s identity. My clan name ‘Soreng’ means a rock.” Presently she is working as a Research Officer at Vasundhara, Odisha. It is an Action research and policy advocacy organisation in Bhubaneswar. The organisation works on natural resource governance, tribal rights and climate justice. Other than this, Miss Soreng is also the former National Convenor of Tribal Commission, one of the the thrust areas of All India Catholic University Federation (AICUF).
Role of indigenous communities in climate control
Even though tribal people have immensely contributed in shielding and reconditioning of nature, they are endangered and gradually extincting. The reason is non-recognition of their rights over the forest and land, which is their identity. However, with the traditional knowledge and practices indigenous people possess over the years, they are passing it onto their next generation. Thus, Archana emphasizes on the need to protect tribal rights in the face of environmental destruction and land encroachment. Adivasi people are losing the traditional lands which is a source of their livelihood. Also, suppression of their socio-economic and cultural rights is ultimately putting them into a vicious cycle of poverty.
UN Youth Advisory Group
UN Youth advisory group is a group of young leaders from different regions of the world. These youngsters provide perspective and solutions to fight with climate crisis as UN Youth leaders. The effort is to mobilize climate action as part of Covid-19 recovery efforts. There is a total of seven members representing the diverse voices of youngsters on topics like climate change, science, community mobilization, conservation and many others. Guterres on launching the Youth Advisory Group said, “We are in a climate emergency which needs an urgent action now. Young people on the front lines of climate action are showing nations and leaders what bold leadership looks like. Moreover, the advisory group will provide perspective, ideas and solutions to help us scale up climate action.”
While attending the 66th session of the CESCR at UN headquarter, Archana dressed as a tribal girl and represented her community proudly.