Good morning everyone. I'm Shaun Nixon from the United Kingdom. I'm here today to represent the participants of the recent Youth Conference and to convey their thoughts and views to you, the delegates of CoP 6.
Thanks must go to the organisers of that Youth Conference. The people behind the last few days deserve recognition for what they have achieved - bringing together young people from all over the world to sunny Holland! Not only that, but for the first time in history!
We have been hammering on the door for years. Finally we have been let in and have been working to produce something of use to everyone here this week. The fruits of our labour, in the form of a declaration, will be distributed to you all. Please read it. Please take note. Please act.
It is vitally important that young people be involved in decisions about Climate Change, because it will affect them more than any others. Young people should also be involved in the development and facilitation of international policies, as they have different perspectives to offer. We live for today and tomorrow - not for yesterday. I am not saying we abandon our past, but that we should learn from the mistakes made in order to improve life in the future
Young people are largely indifferent. We have far more in common than any number of politicians you care to name. It's sad but true... we all have a tendency towards junk food - much to the liking of Macdonalds. We all like very loud music - no matter where in the world it was made. And we all like to dance to these horrific compilations - even if none of us can actually dance! We're all in the same boat, drifting on a sea of intolerance, traditions and censorship, yet we're buzzing with energy, enthusiasm and a willingness to change things for the better and do it now!
Action speaks louder than words, yet after 8 years of conventions, treaties and protocols, we, the young people, see hardly any real changes in the world at all. Lifestyles have not changed. Attitudes have not changed
In fact... the only thing that has changed is the climate! And this trend is likely to continue, unless concrete agreements and decisions emerge... and fast.
During the Youth Conference, many people have asked, "What needs to be done? What action must there be?" Our reply is this...
Why should we need to sit around talking about what needs to be done? Surely 8 years, thousands of fancy documents and hundreds of meetings after Rio, there are plenty of solutions floating around in this ever-deepening sea of ours!
Despite our declaration centering around 4 major subject areas, we believe the various problems associated with Climate Change are all interlinked - they cannot possibly be discussed in isolation. Obviously, there is also a need for integration of solutions, which can only be done if countries work together.
CoP 6 should be the end of the planning stage. It is no good going back to the drawing board each and every year. You need to stop being the architects and become the construction workers. Up to date, we have seen no evidence of this - and therefore recommend that youth participation becomes a more permanent fixture at Climate Change Conferences, lessening its immense reliance on politics, history and image-making.
Governments should also try to involve youth as much as possible in the implementation of policies. The education of young people is the main way to achieve this. Once people find out more about the effects of Climate Change, particularly when they are relevant to their local area, they themselves will want to act. We know this because we see it ourselves.
The Earth is an awfully big sand pit to be playing in... over 6 billion people are relying on us to get it right, and before all those precious little bits of sand trickle away between our fingers.
Youth Statement (Yvonne Khamati, Kenya)Good morning your Excellency the president of CoP6, honorable ministers, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen. I am Yvonne Khamati from Kenya, spokesperson of the world youth delegates.
For the first time ever in the history of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, youth have a voice. I am honoured to be the first to represent the opinions of approximately 150 youth from over 60 countries. My role is to represent the feelings and opinions of the youth of the world, which if I may add are subjective because they are not based on knowledge tagged by university degrees and huge UN or governmental posts but we are driven by fear.
Fear of a world we are about to inherit. We are fighting a war against climate change and we want you to stop negotiating with the enemy and fight it. Not only are we driven by fear but also by knowledge.
For so long we have sat unnoticed and unheard in the corner, waiting for you to come up with solutions. We have realised that perhaps it is not as simple for you because you are also driven by fear. Fear of conforming to the rules and regulations of your governments, we feel underlying tensions among the delegation members. We have come together as the youth of the world, with the common belief that the era of bullying and coercing by more powerful states, the role of power play in governments is over.
This is an emergency; it is time to put our differences behind. We would like Environment Councils everywhere to have Youth representatives so that they are aware of what our fears are and to help them chart the right way forward. But we (the youth) need more education on these problems that are threatening to destroy our future and we need opportunities to discuss among ourselves, be advised by experts, and be heard. We cannot be neutral observers, as we might say we are in politics. And this goes for the young as well as the old
We young people want a better future, it is ours after-all, so we more than you are best placed to do the right thing, with your help. In our declaration we did not mention the role of women as environmental managers. A lot of emphasis has been put on large industries and governments and none on the role of the individual. If each household was to promote clean energy, a tremendous change would be noticed. In developing countries where the woman's role includes management of energy in the home, women need to be given incentives and recognition to promote clean energy. I hope to see you at the next Cop7 this time as WYOCC. World Youth Organisation on Climate Change!
The youth would also like to add their thanks especially to the president of CoP6 Mr Pronk for his support and his promise to keep supporting us. We feel that he is very brave for getting all the youth from over 60 countries, with our reputation of being irate, irrational and hyperactive and giving us access to the information that our future is bleak! But we have proven beyond reasonable doubt that we can work together to reach solutions.
See also • dates for your diary • CoP 7 • CoP 6+ • WYOCC CoP gallery