Lagi Sedu, a young delegate from the islands of Fiji, welcomed all of us to the 13th Conference of Youth taking place in Bonn 2-4 November, with a warm “Talanoa mada”. For Lagi and his people, Talanoa is a part of Fijian everyday life. It means creating a harmonizing environment for everybody. It brings people together, lets them express their thoughts and opinions.
Talanoa mada is the “motto” chosen by the Fijian islands to preside over the UN Conference on Climate Change which will be held in Bonn after the COY13. From the very beginning of the conference we have had the chance to see how many young people are interested in climate change and in the future of our planet. There are more than 1,300 students coming from 114 countries. They all share the same goal: “Climate change, now!”, three meaningful words that everybody has screamed out loud over and over during the opening ceremony. Other ten conferences have been organized all over the world at the same time of COY. This will allow those who have not been able to come to Germany to meet up, share opinions and possible solutions.
During the COY conference young people can “get in the game” and work together with experts and people interested in environmental issues. The essential part, as Lagi reminded us, is the encounter of young people with different cultural backgrounds who came here to share their viewpoint and their experience. In fact “here people can freely voice their concerns, without finger pointing, and they can take the time to offer practical solutions to climate change.”
Among the activists we have met Kamala Dickson from Tanzania. He travelled to Bonn to give his contribution and his vision to as many people as possible because “climate change is more harmful in Africa, where countries do not have many financial means to intervene.
Li Phuong, instead, did not get on a long distance flight to come here. She is German but she is motivated and interested in climate change like all of us. When her friends told her about this international conference, she immediately offered her help as a volunteer here at the IGS Bonn-Beuel high school which is hosting the event.