In 2019, leaders from all around the world took part in the 25th Conference Of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), also known as COP25, to discuss and take action on climate change. A group of governments joined youth activists in Madrid, Spain, to sign an Intergovernmental Declaration on Children, Youth and Climate Action.
Representing an historic step forward, the governments of Chile, Costa Rica, Fiji, Luxembourg, Monaco, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Uruguay, Sweden, Slovenia and Spain have signed the Declaration.
They united around a strong commitment to accelerate inclusive, child and youth-friendly climate policies and action at national and global levels, including the need to enhance their participation in decision-making.
Even amid the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, young people have been raising their voices to demand climate action. Learn more about climate action in the times of coronavirus here.
Declaration on Children, Youth and Climate Action
Read the Intergovernmental Declaration on Children, Youth and Climate Action, which reflects priorities identified by children and youth throughout the world, signed by a group of governments on December 9th:
Considering that children face heightened and specific risks due to climate change, that these impacts are already occurring, and that the most disadvantaged and marginalized children bear the heaviest burden;
Acknowledging the global leadership and calls of children and young people for urgent and immediate climate action, as well as their critical role as agents of change;
Acknowledging also the Joint Appeal from the UN System to the Secretary-General’s 2019 Climate Action Summit for Member States to increase ambition and take concrete action to limit global temperature increases to 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels and adapt to the effects of climate change,
Reaffirming the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and all human rights instruments relevant to the protection, promotion, respect and fulfilment of the human rights of all children and young people;
Recalling the Paris Agreement commitment by States to respect, promote and consider their respective obligations on human rights, including the rights of children, and intergenerational equity, when taking action to address climate change;
Recalling also Human Rights Council Resolutions 37/8, 35/20 and 40/11 which address the rights of children and young people with respect to environmental harm and climate change, and that a safe climate is a vital element of the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment and is essential to human life and well-being;
Recalling also, inter alia, the Global Youth Climate Action Declaration, the Kwon Gesh Pledge, the World Declaration on the Survival, Protection and Development of Children, the ongoing work of the Global Initiative on Advancing Children’s Right to a Healthy Environment, and the Declaration of the People’s Summit on Climate, Rights and Human Survival;
Commit, therefore, to:
1. Advocate for global recognition and fulfilment of children’s inalienable right to a healthy environment, and to take steps to enshrine this right in regional treaties and frameworks, national Constitutions and/or legislation;
2. Scale up efforts to respect, promote and consider the rights of children and young people in implementation of the Paris Agreement at all levels, including recognition of their specific vulnerabilities, as well as their status as key stakeholders and implementers, in countries’ national climate adaptation and mitigation measures, Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), National Adaptation Plans (NAPs), and long-term greenhouse gas emissions development strategies, including consideration of the particular role and responsibilities of the private sector;
3. Urgently scale up and accelerate investment in child- and youth-responsive adaptation, disaster risk reduction and mitigation measures, with a particular focus on reaching children most at risk, and advocate for child-sensitive criteria to be mainstreamed in multilateral funds;
4. Strengthen the capacity of children and young people on climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts by establishing and investing in climate change and environmental education, and equipping children and young people with the knowledge and skills required to protect themselves and contribute to a safe and sustainable future, ensuring that such efforts reach marginalized children and youth;
5. Enhance the meaningful participation of children and youth in climate change processes, including through the Action for Climate Empowerment dialogue, by participating in the Youth Delegate Programme in the UNFCCC, and supporting the YOUNGO Global South Youth Scholarship;
6. Consider and actively explore measures to establish an international Commission for Children and Future Generations, as well as mechanisms at the national level to ensure the effective participation of children and youth in decision making on climate change;
7. Adopt institutional and administrative measures, as well as partnerships, at national and international levels to actively pursue the above objectives, and to enhance coherence and a cross-cutting focus on children and youth in climate action, including with respect to UNFCCC decision-making processes and workstreams, and implementation of the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals.
Are you the representative of a UN member state that would like to sign on to this declaration? Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Take action on climate change
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Do you also want to write about how climate change is impacting your community or what steps are you taking in your daily life to fight it? Share your voice on social media using the hashtag #VoicesOfYouth or learn how to submit a blog post here.