We Need Real Commitments – Youth Delegates at COP26

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COP26
COP26

Young delegates attending the Youth and Public Empowerment Day at the UN Conference on Climate Change (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, told leaders to make “real commitments” to protect the planet for future generations.

“What we need to hear from you is what you are going to do now. We need real commitments, so today is your big chance and we would really appreciate if you take on that chance,” Clara, a young girl from Germany, told a panel that included COP26 president Alok Sharma, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) executive secretary Patricia Espinosa and Scotland´s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Before giving them the floor at the session Unifying for Change: The Global youth voice at COP 26, she made clear that the leaders had been invited to the discussion “not because we necessarily want to, but because we need you.”

“You have the power to make youth and our demands the priority, not only in the spaces that you control but also in the spaces that you have friends and colleagues in,” the climate activist said.

Sharma said he understands the anger young people feel regarding climate change, but claimed that most of their demands on energy transition, land and forest restoration and climate funding are being addressed at COP26.

“Many of the issues you raised are the issues we´re discussing at this COP. We are actually on the same page, and we´re trying to do the same thing,” the UK´s former business minister said.

He also pledged to make sure that countries and leaders stick to the commitments made at the conference.

The UNFCC executive secretary promised to “make sure” their demands are considered and youth is included in the decisions.

Coinciding with the Youth and Public Empowerment Day, hundreds of young activists were taking part in Glasgow in a protest organized by the Fridays for Future global movement to demand climate justice.

The Glasgow summit, due to finish on November 12, is seen as the last chance to tackle climate change and adopt meaningful commitments to keep global temperature to 1.5 degrees.

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