Date Published: 10 December 2008

UNICEF calls for young people to be involved in climate talks

UNICEF UK has called for greater involvement of young people in UN decision making process, following an inconclusive UN climate summit in Poznan, Poland.

David Parker from UNICEF International and Lucy Stone from UNICEF UK attended the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) talks, with 190 countries negotiating on what is hoped to be a global deal on climate change in 2009.

Youth representatives from India and Australia spoke at an 'inter-generational inquiry on climate solutions' but UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer agreed that “the youth voice is not being heard by the negotiators”.

He urged young people to press their national delegation to honour their promise for youth representation, a commitment made in the last conference in Bali, and called for increased national and international civic pressure.

I think a lot can and should and must be done on the road to Copenhagen to ensure that your voice is heard,” he added.

David Parker also raised the importance of youth participation in local adaptation projects and youth representatives spoke of their frustration “All we need now is for our political leaders to make the plans that we are already ready, willing and prepared to implement,” they said.

Approximately 500 youth participants, from over 50 countries, have been at the two-week conference in Poland but came on their own initiative. They have no official representation and limited resources. Belgium, The Netherlands and Switzerland were the only countries to involve young people in their formal delegation.

Later in the conference, UNICEF joined the Institute for Development Studies (IDS) and Plan International to discuss how best to facilitate and support youth participation in climate change plans and processes. The session was well attended, with representatives from many developing countries sharing their experiences of youth participation.

The talks will continue in Copenhagen next year. Without a strong deal to reduce carbon emissions, climate change could cause up to an additional 250,000 child deaths in sub-Saharan Africa alone. UNICEF UK is campaigning to make sure those least responsible for climate change won’t have to bear the greatest cost.


Source: UNICEF Main Website.
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