Kehkashan Basu

Youth Leadership Council


Winner of the 2016 International Children’s Peace Prize, 17-year-old Kehkashan Basu,
has been impacting the global fraternity since she was 8 years old with her work on
climate justice, children’s rights, education for sustainable development, gender
equality and peace. 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. In 2013, at the
age of 12, she was elected for a 2 year term as the Global Coordinator for United
Nations Environment Programme’s Major Groups for Children & Youth making her the
youngest person and the first minor, ever, to be elected into this position in the history
of UNEP. A passionate advocate of children’s rights, Kehkashan is a United Nations
Human Rights Champion and lends her support to the UN’s StandUp campaign. The
UK Youth Climate Coalition named her as one the 8 global Climate Heroines of 2014
and in June 2017, rock band U2 featured her as one of powerful women changing the
world at their Toronto concert. Kehkashan is the founder of a youth organization, Green
Hope Foundation, which seeks to educate and empower children and youth globally and
engage them in the SDG2030 process through ground level community centric projects
on climate justice, stopping land degradation, promoting sustainable consumption,
biodiversity conservation and gender equality, promoting renewable energy and social
justice. Green Hope now has over 1000 members across Canada, the Middle East and
the Indian sub-continent and has engaged thousands of young people and adults through
their workshops and conferences in the implementation of the sustainable development
goals. In her role as the voice of children and youth, she has spoken at over 75 United
Nations and other international summits, travelling to over 20 Countries. Her
internationally acclaimed work on sustainability has resulted in her appointment as the
Youth Ambassador of World Future Council, Honorary Advisor for the NGO
Committee on Sustainable Development – NY, 2018 World Oceans Day Youth
Advisory Council member, Global Advisory Council member of Young Men 4 Gender
Equality -USA , a Climate Reality Leader and a member of KidsRights Youngsters. She
is a prolific poet and author and her maiden book on sustainability, “Tree of Hope”,
was launched at the 2015 United Nations Children’s Summit in New York and is now a
part of many school libraries. She also had a reading session at the 2016 Emirates
Literature Festival in Dubai. For her advocacy at a global level, Kehkashan has
received international awards from UNCCD (United Nations Convention to Combat
Desertification) in 2012, the 2012 Korea Green Foundation award, the 2013
International Young Eco-Hero award from Action for Nature, USA, the 2014 Kids are
Heroes USA award, 2014 GESS award as Ambassador for the Environment, the 2014
Solar Pioneer Award , the 2014 Non-Resident Indian of the Year award and the 2015
International Diana Award, the 2017 Energy Globe Award, 2017 Turner Social Change
Prize and was chosen as one of the five Caribbean & the Americas Region Winners for
the Commonwealth Youth Awards for Excellence in Development Work 2018. She has
also been named as one of Toronto’s most inspiring change-makers.