- COP President Alok Sharma urges ministers to consider youth priorities in COP negotiations and national climate action
- Young climate leaders join ministers and senior figures in Glasgow
- 23 countries decide on commitment to climate education, including net zero emission schools and put climate at the heart of national agendas
- Views of over 40,000 young climate leaders presented to ministers, negotiators and officials
Young climate leaders gathered today in Glasgow with negotiators, officials and ministers from around the world, making their voices heard and demanding the action needed to prevent catastrophic climate change in our lifetime.
COP26 events focused on harnessing the expertise of young people and presenting their views directly to negotiators and officials working to agree on global action on climate change.
The day was chaired by YOUNGO, the official working group of children and youth of the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), which opened with a session entitled Unifying for Change: Global Youth voice at COP26.
The United Nations framework convention on climate change was adopted during the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 by 154 States to which must be added all the members of the European Community. It entered into force on March 21, 1994, and is headquartered in Bonn, Germany (1)
YOUNGO also presented the COY16 Global Youth Position statement, representing the views of over 40,000 young climate leaders from around the world. The declaration presented their priorities directly to ministers, including measures relating to climate finance, mobility and transport, right down to conservation and wildlife protection.
COP26 President Alok Sharma said:
“Everywhere I have been in the world, I have been struck by the passion and commitment of young people to climate action. The voices of young people must be heard and reflected in these negotiations here at the COP. The actions and scrutiny of young people are essential to keeping the 1.5 ° C target alive and creating a net zero future.
“I am also aware of the fear and anxiety that many of them feel about the future of the planet, including my own children. This is why we must take into account the demands of the young people of the COY16 and the manifesto of the Youth4Climate Summit in Milan and act accordingly. "
YOUNGO representatives Heeta Lakhani and Marie-Claire Graf said:
“YOUNGO worked closely with the UK Presidency and the UNFCCC secretariat to co-design Youth and Public Empowerment Day. We have successfully brought together the voices of young people from around the world through the COY16 Global Youth Declaration and brought together four generations to collectively share examples of best practice in achieving climate justice.
At the end of the day, the president of the COP26, Alok Sharma, and the Italian Minister for the Ecological Transition, Roberto Cingolani, will join the young people and the ministers to discuss the manifesto drawn up by 400 young people during the Youth4Climate: Driving Ambition summit which was held in Milan in September.
Today the UK also announced its draft sustainability and climate change strategy aimed at empowering young people and equipping them with the skills they need to drive the future of climate action. This includes the introduction of a model primary science curriculum, which emphasizes nature and species recognition, helping younger students develop conservation skills.
Education ministers around the world have also pledged to do the same with countries such as South Korea, Albania and Sierra Leone who agree to put climate change at the heart of their agendas. .
COP26 follows a wide range of events and conferences for young people across the world, including the Youth4Climate Summit in Milan in September and the 16th United Nations Conference on Youth (COY16) in Glasgow last week.
The UK and Italy, in partnership with UNESCO, Youth4Climate and Mock COP, have coordinated new global action to equip future generations with the knowledge and skills to create a net zero world.
As education ministers and youth gathered, more than 23 countries put forward impressive national commitments on climate education, ranging from decarbonizing the school sector to developing school resources.
The event also unveiled a new declaration entitled “Learning for our planet: acting for the climate” which called on countries to review the progress made in the implementation of their commitments before COP27.
The UK also announced a new research grant of £ 85,000 to help the Internal Displacement Tracking Center produce better information on the educational needs of refugee children and enable a more effective international response.
The announcement was made by Helen Grant MP, Special Envoy for Girls' Education, at an event with Sierra Leonean Minister of Education, Honorable Dr David Sengeh, Education Cannot Wait, and the UNHCR.
Civil society, business leaders and ministers also gathered in a special session to discuss how all parts of society should be involved in the necessary action against climate change.
This event coincided with the negotiations on Action for Climate Empowerment , a UNFCCC agenda item aimed at setting direction on climate education and public empowerment, and facilitating coordination between countries and non-state actors.
Today's events sent a strong signal and showed how young climate leaders are an unstoppable force, equipped to bring together young policy experts from the diverse communities who are on the front lines in order to recall the urgency and highlight their climate priorities.