Statement on Young and Future Generations Day COP23

09. 11. 2017

At the Youth Day of the UNFCCC COP23, the European Youth Forum, representing 104 youth organisations and together tens of millions of young people from all over Europe, calls on the European Union (EU), its Member States and other European countries to ensure ambitious plans to implement the Paris Agreement. Vulnerable people, especially in the global South, are already suffering the impacts of climate change. As the gravity of this global climate crisis will only increase, the future of young people and generations to come are at stake. Therefore, we call for action in the following ways:

Greater and more meaningful youth participation: Long-term action requires the involvement of youth. The right for participation of young people is enshrined in international human rights law, but while climate change concerns our generation the most, our right to participate is not guaranteed. Many countries have not included youth representatives in their delegation, and space for non-state actors including young people to get involved is limited. Moreover, young people do not even have their own space at Conference of Parties (COP) to participate informally through side events. Young people are entitled to meaningfully participate in the negotiations. The European Youth Forum urges governments to include youth in their delegations, through cooperation with the National Youth Councils and equivalent youth organisations. We also demand that UN agencies include youth in their decision-making processes, which can be done by opening up spaces for formal participation. To achieve this, we call for stronger cooperation among constituencies of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Young people in YOUNGO, the official youth constituency at the UNFCCC, are showing tremendous energy, and together with other groups, can amplify our positive impact.

Fighting corporate capture: The ongoing conflict of financial interests within negotiations must end. While taking into account the importance of broad participation in the negotiations, we witnessed that certain corporations with strong financial interests in the Convention are undermining reaching ambitious outcomes. We condemn these harmful practices and call for greater transparency in decision-making.

Strengthen climate policies: More youth involvement and strong cooperation among civil society organisations will be even more important during the upcoming year, when COP24 will take place under the Presidency of Poland, still relying largely on coal. This makes it even more important to reach results during the current negotiations. The Parties have started to negotiate the rulebook of the implementation of the Paris Agreement. To protect our fundamental rights, it is crucial that these rules are ambitious and lead to the pursuit of a maximum increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre- industrial levels. Hence, we support the resolution of the European Parliament calling for further commitments to reduce greenhouse gases that go beyond current commitments under the Paris Agreement. While the European Commission and Member States lack the ambition to act accordingly, there is an urgent need for strong action to bridge the emissions gap.

Sebastiaan Rood, Board Member of the European Youth Forum:

Young people will suffer the consequences of global warming, and we are stakeholders in finding solutions. We are partners in the fight against climate change by governments, international organisations and NGOs and our right to participate should be fully acknowledged. Only with youth participation we can successfully tackle the worsening global climate crisis.

The European Youth Forum calls upon the EU, its Member States and other European countries to stand up for youth participation in the structure of the 2018 Facilitative Dialogue, to fight corporate capture and to demand an outcome of the negotiations that does justice to the magnitude of the problem. We need climate justice now!

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