The voice of young people gains prominence in a COP28 marked by controversy

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  • The Climate Summits are annual meetings organized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Source: Youngo The Climate Summits are annual meetings organized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
    The Climate Summits are annual meetings organized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Source: Youngo The Climate Summits are annual meetings organized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Source: Youngo.

The youth organization YOUNGO, which brings together youth organizations fighting the climate emergency, has presented the Global Youth Declaration for Climate Justice in Dubai.

During the session 'Youth and Education - The latent force of 'climate action' at the World Climate Action Summit in Dubai (COP28) the YOUNGO organization has presented the Global Youth Declaration: A Declaration for Climate Justice (GYS). This declaration, which collects the demands and aspirations of children and young people from more than 160 countries, highlights their collective demands on climate policy. a>

The GYS is the result of intense political consultations carried out by YOUNGO, the official group of children and young people of the United Nations Framework Convention United on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which has taken into account the contributions of the local and regional Youth Conferences, as well as those organized in the Conference of the United Nations Youth on Climate Change (COY18).

With more than 750,000 inputs collected worldwide, involving approximately 53,000 hours of work by 1,500 volunteers, the GYS synthesizes the collective climate policy demands of children and young people, with the support of tens of thousands of signatories.

Shamma Al Mazrui, Minister of Youth of the United Arab Emirates, has emphasized the importance of including the voices of young people in the fight for the future of the planet. "Young people are the future of this world; it is essential that their voices are heard in the fight for this future", he stressed.

YOUNGO, the voice of children and young people at climate summits

YOUNGO is the official children and youth group of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The word "YOUNGO" comes from the combination of the words "Youth" (youth) and "NGO" (Non-Governmental Organization). This group aims to represent and defend the interests and concerns of young people in the international negotiations on climate change

Since 2005 in Montreal, YOUNGO has been preparing annual position statements, evolving towards more holistic and multilateral proposals that represent the global voice of people under 35. This year's edition of the GYS is the largest and most inclusive statement to date, with representation from several countries and the availability of condensed versions in different languages.

The YOUNGO policy team has stated that, faced with the existential threat of the climate emergency, children and young people around the world have united their voices through the GYS. At COP28, these young climate action advocates will advocate for the adoption of their demands, calling for immediate action, intergenerational equity and meaningful engagement with youth voices.

The demands of the GYS for COP28 embrace crucial areas such as the mitigation of global warming, adaptation to new climate scenarios, financing to deal with this crisis, the consumption model energy and climate justice. The need for an inclusive approach to climate governance is highlighted, recognizing the disproportionate impact of the climate crisis in the Global South and in the vulnerable communities.

A COP with controversy

With the prominent participation of heads of state, delegations, heads of the United Nations and other organizations, the World Climate Action Summit aims to transform key decisions into concrete actions to be taken facing the climate emergency. Despite these ambitious goals, the Summit has begun with controversy. The first controversial point of this COP has been the decision to locate it in Dubai, a city that is part of the United Arab Emirates , one of the countries that produce the most oil in the world.

The appointment of Sultan Al-Jaber as president of the COP28 has aroused the indignation of global environmental movements: Al-Jaber is the chairman of the state oil company of the United Arab Emirates , ADNOC.

But the controversy did not end there. Information has come to light, published by the BBC, which would indicate that Al-Jaber and his delegation would be taking advantage of COP28 to do business and close commercial deals to sell more oil and gas with delegations from other countries. A few days before the start of the summit, President Al-Jaber also stated that "there is no scientific evidence to corroborate that in order to avoid the worst part of climate change, fossil fuels must be phased out."

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