Opened by the violin and voice of Earth in Brackets, the ’Intergenerational Inquiry’ panel was one of the main events of yesterday at COP 20: the 4th of December is indeed the Young and Future Generations Day, an entire day devoted to young generations’ aspirations and need.
Being one third of the entire world population, young generations inherite our planet and because of this they deserve a special place in UNFCCC events. Running for the seventh year, the ’Intergenerational Inquiry’ debate served this time primarily to illustrate the enourmous work undertaken during COY10, the Conference of Youth, which run immediately before COP20 in the near campus of La Molina University.
Panelists highlighted the fact that COY10 occurred thanks to the efforts of more than 80 Peruvian students, entirely volunteering for the event, often experiencing dealing with international meetings for the first time, and most of them not even being English speakers; after 10 months of preparation, they have been able to manage a three days event hosting approximately 900 peers from all over the world.
The final goal of COY10 was to build a comprehensive and detailed “Declaration of Youth” in 14 points explaining youth positions on all topics that would have been negotiated some days after in the official negotiations, the most powerful tool throught which youth can directly engage in the UNFCCC process.
Raquel Rosenberg from Engajamundo (Brasil) emphasized the efforts that have been taken to reach this result: apart for coordination, overcoming language barriers – the vast majority of people in Latin America doesn’t speak English – which have often been an extraordinary tool for segregating a big part of society, including youth, from the discussions.
Things have been changing since RIO+20, when youth from Northern and Southern emispheres united their energies and shared their knowledge to set and reach their common goals: youth direct participation and a common position in order to increase the power of dialogue.
“We do not pretend to be negotiators: we act in order to make youth demands explicit and to leave a legacy to future generations. Negotiators don’t understand the most important point: that it’s our lives and their children lives that are at stake” said Raquel. A general praise of consense arised amongst the public after she claimed: “Negotiating on climate change it’s not a business. We need to cut 80% fossil fuel consumption.
Nowadays, men of papers are the new men of war. Words, sentences and statements are their weapons. They are hidden between lines and brackets. But our life is not for sale”.
One of the speakers, responsible for COY11 Paris, also announced the keywords for the youth strategy in Paris, where ultimate decisions about a Final Agreement on Climate Change will be taken. They are : solidarity across nationalities, inclusiveness of all and intergenerational action, since an immediate change is urging and it requires “holding hands” of current generation of politicians and delegates.
Unfortunately running out of time, the panel couldn’t host the voice of indigenous youth people: was it a sign of our times? Hopefully not.