Around 400 young people from all over the world were able to present their proposals to fight climate change to Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Italian Minister for the Ecological Transition, Roberto Cingolani, President designate of COP26, Alok Sharma, and environment ministers from over 40 countries. Ministers representing the international community are tasked with reaching a decisive deal at COP26 in Glasgow next month to address the urgent global threat of climate change.
At the Youth4Climate Summit in Milan (September 28 - 30), four co-chairs representing youth delegates, Nisreen Elsaim (Sudan), Ernest Gibson (Fiji), Nathan Metenier (France) and Sophia Kianni (United States), presented the main demands of those under 30.
The hope is that Youth4Climate was not a one-off event in order to strengthen and maintain international dialogues: this was underlined by Minister Cingolani and Alok Sharma, and supported by Prime Minister Mario Draghi. Reducing inequalities, involving young people in decision-making processes, encouraging a public-private aid program, are just some of the proposals that emerged from the meetings.
Addressing the young delegates, Prime Minister Draghi said: “Your generation is most threatened by climate change. You are right to ask for empowerment, to ask for change. Ecological transition is not a choice, it is a necessity. We only have two options. Either we face the costs of this transition now, or we act later - which would mean paying a much higher price for climate catastrophe.
“We realize that we need to do more, a lot more. This will be the objective of the Rome summit to be held at the end of October. At the G20 level, we want to make a commitment regarding the objective of containing global warming below 1.5 degrees. And we want to develop long-term strategies that are consistent with this objective. "
Mr Draghi did not avoid the question raised by Greta Thunberg in her speech on Tuesday: “Sometimes 'blah blah blah' is just a way to hide our inability to act, but when you make such transformations , you have to convince people, explain that the numbers, such as the 1.5 degree increase, are not something created out of the blue but are provided by science, and people must be convinced of that ”.
Another key issue, raised with energy and passion by Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate and other delegates from developing countries, was that of financial support to poor countries and / or those most exposed to the effects of change. climate.
Mr Cingolani announced that he would encourage the government to double Italy's contribution to one billion euros.
He also underlined the geopolitical challenge: “For me, sustainability is a compromise. We need to be super-fast in mitigating the effects of climate change, but slow enough not to destroy jobs. It's not easy, it's very difficult. And it is a different compromise from one country to another. Solutions must be state-specific, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. "
All eyes are now on the Pre-Cop, which started Thursday afternoon and continues through Saturday. Ministers meeting in Milan will have to lay the foundations for a successful COP26 in Glasgow which strengthens global climate commitments.
Alok Sharma, Minister Cingolani, UN Secretary-General's Envoy for Youth Jayathma Wickramanayake, and delegates Vladislav Kaim from Moldova and Reem Al Saffar from Iraq all spoke at the a closing press conference.
After the meeting, Mr Sharma said: “The messages we have heard from young people here at Youth4Climate should serve as a wake-up call to ministers around the world. Their results, which align with many of our goals for COP26, will help inform this essential multilateral process. "
It is a generation that faces frightening consequences and will rightly judge us if we do not act. We need to be able to look young people in the eye and say that we have done whatever is necessary to protect their future.
Keeping a 1.5 ° C future alive depends on COP26 in Glasgow. So we need to make the pre-COP count, ensuring that we lay the groundwork for successful negotiations and close the gaps in adaptation, mitigation, loss and damage ambition and funding. , as well as to finalize the Paris Regulations. As the last time many of us will meet before Glasgow, I hope we can build on the sense of common purpose that was achieved at the July ministerial meeting in London.