At the Climate Conference, the message of young people

Today at COP25 the Day of Youth and Future Generations is celebrated. The youth of Latin America and the Caribbean have launched a document to the “big” of the world. Here is the full document.

LAC YOUTH IN THE CONTEXT OF COP25 STATEMENTDecember 5, 2019

The Latin American and Caribbean youth present at COP25, declares its first statementwithin the context of this Convention. This statement was obtained through discussion,dialogue and consensus, carried out horizontally and collectively, regarding the situation ourregion within the climate and environmental crisis.

1. In view of the fact that our region is home to a greater part of the biodiversity existingin the world and with awareness of the environmental, cultural relevance and thevalue that this presents for the entire planet as a mitigation site of Climate Change,we pronounce and demand, as young people, as citizens of the world and of LatinAmerica and the Caribbean that the public, private, academia, civil society and othersectors commit themselves to act jointly with us in the protection of biodiversity.

This commitment must be crystallized through the implementation of mitigation andadaptation measures in natural areas for their preservation, combined to a strongimpulse of nature-based solutions, since they not only represent a great opportunityto mitigate emissions carbon, but also, promote social and environmental justice fromwhich we all benefit.

2. We strongly reject the policies and practices that encourage the continuity of acarbon dependent economy, based on the extraction of oil, natural gas and otherfossil resources for the energy and economic support of the nations that integrateLatin America and the Caribbean. We believe that nations and governments, byencouraging these practices and opening their way to their development plans andpolicies, not only lack their commitment to compliance with the Paris Agreement andNationally Determined Contributions, but also become a threat to their ownpopulations and thus betray the entire region. This is because the consequences thatfossil industries and economies have on the effects of climate change do not knowborders, extending and affecting unevenly in different populations and countries thatintegrate this region.

3. We also extend a strong rejection towards extractive and environmental deteriorationpractices with serious socio-environmental consequences and extremely unfair to theenvironment and people. We especially emphasize the practices that are developedand depend directly on the intervened spaces, where the consequences representcrimes and human rights violations of people who depend on the ecosystems thatthese practices destroy.

4. We make a commitment and erect an uncompromising stance towards theelimination of oppressive relations with different groups of society, starting with thosethat exist towards groups of native people, towards women and dissidents,african-americans, migrants , among other. We recognize that it is urgent thatoppression is extinguished from our territories and that it is only through a trueinclusion of these groups, that we can make an effective front to solve theenvironmental problems that we all share. In general, we demand a stop to all forms of oppression, discrimination and exclusion of all oppressed groups, even those notexplicitly mentioned in this document.

5. We demand that gender factor is incorporated when referring to climate change. Bothmitigation and adaptation policies should consider the different roles andresponsibilities that this structural differences represent. We must not allow climatechange policies to exacerbate existing gender inequalities. On the contrary, we arepresented with a great opportunity to reduce the existing gap.

6. Although we understand that young people are occupying everyday more space onthe public agenda, we believe that there is still a need for us to have a real impact ondecision making. We are about 20% of our region’s population and we are notproperly represented in the political system. This is why we ask on one hand to bepart of the international negotiating groups but also to foster the conditions so that wecan fully participate in our political and parliamentary systems.

7. Our region is highly vulnerable to socio-environmental conflicts to which climatechange effects have a positive feedback. For this reason, we urge the action of ourgovernments, the companies that work in this region, society, youth, academia,intergovernmental and civil society organizations to act together to stop thesenegative impacts with catastrophic environmental and social consequences.

8. One of the areas that need more focus because of its vulnerability to climate changeare marine ecosystems, coastal and island areas. Particularly, mangroves, coralreefs, marshes and seagrasses offer numerous benefits that contribute to theenvironment. It is necessary to attend and implement better conservation andprotection measures for coastal areas and island areas. In addition, these systems,known as blue carbon ecosystems, are crucial carbon wells for mitigating emissionsthat cause climate change but are extremely scarce on the global marine surface.

9. We invite governments, youth and other parts of civil society to start building togethera circular economy that decouples resource use from the growth of our region’seconomies. We also require our governments to implement public policies to reducethe production of plastics, particularly single-use plastics and microplastics.

10. We demand a reform of the food production system. The agro-industrial productionmodel is devastating ecosystems and communities. An immediate agro-ecologicaland cultural transition is needed to ensure food security. We demand the stop ofindiscriminate use and release of new agrotoxics, deforestation, transformation ofecosystems, and the destruction of communities and animal and plant populationswith the ecosystem services they provide. We propose the creation of projects forenvironmental recovery and sanitation of degraded areas. It is necessary to transitionour diet to one that gradually reduces consumption of animal products and proposeto accompany this transition with a diet based on agroecological integral vegetables,without animal exploitation. Enough animal industrialization.

11. We must stress that both the food proposals and the generation and management ofwaste at this Conference of the Parties do not comply with the measures promoted inthis same space and in the IPCC reports. For the next meetings we see the need forthis to be changed, providing many more vegetarian and vegan food options andreducing the use of disposables, particularly single-use plastics and paper.

12. We demand that all countries in the region declare the climate and ecologicalemergency, starting with a government-level declaration backed by an official and/orlegal document. The implementation must fall heavily on the action of theadministrations and local communities, contemplating in all their actions the sectorsof society as a whole. These declarations must transcend words and documents andbecome real actions for the achievement of the Nationally Determined Contributionsof each country, and the carbon-neutrality of the region towards 2050.

13. We insist on the importance of climate policy decisions that include, respect andprotect human rights, and that any action taken does not result in additional damageto the most vulnerable communities, increasing the inequality that already exists inthe region. We also extend our profound solidarity and support to the peoples ofBolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua and Venezuela,who today are going through social upheavals with just citizen demands. We urgegovernments to immediately stop human rights violations committed in the context ofrepression of the legitimate social mobilization of these peoples, recognizing that thesocial crisis is also an ecological crisis.
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4. We strongly demand an end to murder, physical and psychological threats and allforms of violence and oppression against environmental leaders in the region. In thiscase, we would like to highlight the murder cases of: Julián Carrillo, indigenousleader in Chihuahua (Mexico), Luis Arturo Marroquín (Guatemala), Macarena Valdés(Chile), Arnulfo Ceron Soriano (Mexico), Berta Cáceres (Honduras), Paulo Paulino Guajajara (Brazil), among many others murdered and persecuted for their activismand tireless commitment to our struggle. For the youth of our region, thenormalization and perpetuation of these cases of oppression and violence isunacceptable.

For this reason, we demand that governments and authorities initiateprocesses and actions that grant justice to those affected, as well as theimplementation of necessary and sufficient methods of prevention to guarantee thesafety of all those involved in the causes and movements of environmentalprotection, of protest against extractive industries and climate action. We raise ourvoices on behalf of all those who fought and are no longer here: Whoever fights forlife never dies.

15. Therefore, we conclude with a call, a demand, a petition and an urgentproposal to the governments of the countries of the region to sign and ratifythe Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation andAccess to Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and theCaribbean, better known as the Escazú Agreement, as soon as possible. Wedemand its immediate ratification before December 2020.

The youth of Latin America and the Caribbean present at the COP25 closes here it’s firstdeclaration, which, it is worth mentioning, was achieved through the consensus of all theparticipants. Please remember that those of us who are here today in this Conference do notdo so because it is a right, but because we have a great privilege, which is why we call forthe continued expansion of these spaces of participation for all the youth of our countries.

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