Youth engagement encouraged in fight against climate change at COP 22

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    Yesterday was Youth Day at COP22 and several events were hosted by YOUNGO, the official youth delegation of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The discussion focused on the role youth can play in implementing the Paris Agreement and for the future of climate action.

    Hakima El Haite, COP22 Special Envoy and Morocco’s Climate Champion, said to the young people in attendance “we should spread your message…because maybe we are too old to re-imagine the world to change it.” She was attending an event for Youth Day at COP22 sponsored by YOUNGO, the official youth delegation of the UN climate change body.

    El Haite was excited about the upcoming Film4Climate Awards ceremony as well and reminded the young people in the room to remember what President Obama said, “Yes, we can!” when it comes to changing the environment for the better.

    Richard Kinley, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the UN climate change body, asked the packed room, “how many of you were born after February 1991?” Several raised their hands and he reminded them that the first-ever round of climate talks took place then.

    At his final COP, Kinley reflected on all the progress that has been made since then. He reminded everyone though that “youth are the driving force for a sustainable future” and that more work is still needed on climate action.

    UN Youth Envoy Ahmed Alhendawi was also on the panel discussion and spoke about the positive energy of the Conference of Youth that was hosted by COP22 organisers ahead of the actual talks. Alhendawi said that it is easy for him to explain the UN to young people, but not often explaining youth to the UN. His advice to the crowd was to “make noise” about the changes they want to see in climate policy and actions.

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