Have young people the real opportunity to give their contribution?

I’m sitting in the SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) Pavillion at the COP25 in Madrid and I see the empty chairs of the speakers. I’m asking if there will be space for young people as me in the UNFCCC framework and if they will have the abilities to face complicated topics, such as climate change. The answer appears clear and definite after having participated to this workshop. It regards the role of young people in the implementation of the Agenda 2030.

The speakers are Piotr, who is the Young United Nations Coordinator from Poland, and 3 Young UN Delegates: Simone, 22 years old from Italy, Barbara, 20 years old from Czech Republic, and Agneska from Poland. They tell the audience that their role is guaranteed by the United Nations Programs “Youth Delegate” for a three-years term, in particular 2018-2020. Their main task is to encourage young people to participate in the awareness raising activities regarding the Agenda 2030.
They set the target to implement the Paris Agreement and to choose some Sustainable Development Goals, in order to develop them more deeply and to promote them. Simone, with a degree in International Studies, has chosen the Goal 13 (Climate Change). From the COP25 he wants to bring back new information in Italy, especially new knowledge in high school. Also Barbara, who is studying financial mathematics, has chosen SDG 13.

She would like to have access to new documents at the COP25 and to succeed in talking to the diplomats of various countries. Agneska, besides Climate Change, adds SDG 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions). All of this not because there are conflicts in Poland, but because she thinks that there shouldn’t be wars in any part of the world. Her collegue Piotr, instead, is focused mainly on the cooperation between NGOs (Non Governmental Organizations) and Governments; he takes responsibility for communication at the COP25.

During their debate they reiterate to the audience that it would be important to have a knowledge of the United Nations. Moreover, they suggested to the people to contact the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the case the “Youth Delegate Programme” hasn’t been activated in their country yet. They know, in fact, that the majority of the project’s participants are European countries. In conclusion, they dwell on their participation in the COY15, where they focused on the awareness of the National Determined Contributions (NDCs). Moreover, they say that they collaborated with the movements Global Climate Strike and FridaysForFuture in this last year and that they are going to join their forces in order to organize the COY16 in preparation for the COP26 in Glasgow.What I have understood during the event is that these young representatives really have big communication skills and a great knowledge of the topic. They deserve to be members of the Official UN Delegation of their country.

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