Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Young Commonwealth Climate Change Summit

‘Tackling Climate Change: A commonwealth agenda for young people’

Foreign Office Minister Baroness Kinnock speaking at the Young Commonwealth Climate Change Summit in London, 28 October 2009.

Here’s a quick reminder of just a few of the member states of the Commonwealth:

  • South Africa

  • Maldives

  • Zambia

  • Bangladesh

Young people from these countries, amongst many others, are already feeling the effects of climate change. Representatives were invited to attend the Summit to share their stories and to develop a Youth Statement and Recommendations for Action to influence Commonwealth policies.

UNICEF were asked to run a session about the impact of climate change on children’s rights, and I was lucky enough to join Jazmin, a UNICEF youth officer, at the Commonwealth Secretariat for the morning workshop.

Meeting young people from all over the world was a great experience, and a good insight into how the Children’s Climate Change Forum will be. We heard how some countries are already suffering from increased droughts, flooding and food shortages and how young people were trying to address these challenges, which I found both frightening and inspiring.

Hopefully, by making them aware of the relationship between climate change and children’s rights, they will feel empowered to fight for those who are unable to speak out. I wish them all the luck with the challenges they face back home and hope that their statement will add to young people’s impact at the UN Climate Change Conference.

Katie x