At its Council of Members meeting, taking place this weekend in Madrid, the European Youth Forum’s member organisations have agreed a resolution, ahead of the upcoming global climate change negotiations in Paris (COP21) calling on governments to commit to immediate action and an ambitious and binding agreement to adequately mitigate and adapt to climate change in a way that truly involves young people.
Young people already carry a heavy socio-economic burden, which the impact of climate change will only make worse. As young people are heavily affected by climate change, the European Youth Forum warns in its resolution, “Climate matters: the vision of European youth for COP21”, about inter-generational injustice. Inaction by leaders on climate change today only leaves the problem for future generations.
The Youth Forum also demands that the voice of youth is properly included in the negotiations and, therefore, it calls for a more democratic and equitable process for the climate change negotiations, which both includes young people and also tackles inequalities. Commitments must also emphasise human rights and share the burden of climate change, in order to safeguard the rights of the most vulnerable. Young people’s access to education and information on sustainable development is also vital.
As climate change is mainly due to our way of life, global transition to a green, carbon neutral and circular economic system is also called for. It should also be seen as a tool to create new quality jobs for young people and promote innovation. The Youth Forum puts the onus on EU leaders to create an integrated EU Energy market and Energy Union that moves away from non-renewable sources.
As the COP21 is about to begin, the European Youth Forum wants to highlight a few principles that it sees essential for the process:
* a legally binding agreement including accountability measures;
* a commitment to cap the increase in global temperature to 2°C, based on a common time-frame for all countries;
* a European Union and other countries of Europe leading the process by example, setting ambitious goals that exceed the existing 50% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions target1 such as being carbon-neutral by 2050;
* a financing solution for every political decision taken at COP21;
* a commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals at COP21.
Bérénice Jond, board member of the European Youth Forum, comments:
“The European Youth Forum calls for the voice of young people to be truly heard in these vital climate change negotiations. We, and those generations to come, are among the ones who will be hit the worst by climate change, but we do not have a seat at the table! We demand strong commitment from governments to a binding, ambitious agreement, which shares the burden of climate change and reduces inequalities. If we do not act now, we betray not only our planet and all its inhabitants, but also future generations.”