The 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) began at the Egyptian coastal city of Sharm el-Sheikh on 6 November 2022, where the Children and Youth Panel has been created for the child activists to hold discussions and conduct policy briefings. The pavilion is already a hotspot at the conference which will continue till 18 November 2022.
Active Engagement from the Children
Child activists at the conference have joined the demand for climate action and have shown immense enthusiasm and active engagement at the conference. Not to mention, YOUNGO – the official youth constituency of the UNFCCC, commemorated securing official recognition as stakeholders in drafting and implementing climate policies on Friday night.
Hayleigh Campell, YOUNGO’s ACE (Action for Climate Empowerment) ‘working group’ co-lead, expressed her joy, ”We all cheered and cried at the end,” and expressed her disappointment on the fact that ACE’s significance generally goes unreported on and it is also overlooked by the heads of delegations. Another Committee set for the young minds at COP27 is the Climate Youth Negotiator program (CYNP) which has around 55 teens, children and young adults negotiating for grants and thus encouraging youth inclusion around the world.
Child Climate Activist from India
11-year-old Licypriya Kangujam from India is one of the many child climate activists at COP27. She voices the concerns of the other children at the conference as she calls upon the global leaders to take action to save the planet and the future. In her interview with Outlook India she says, “Fighting climate change means fighting for our safe future.
It’s all about inspiring each other to save our planet and our future.” She elaborates on her role at the conference, “I am at COP27 to tell the world leaders to deliver concrete climate action on loss and damage caused by climate crises to the global south. We want climate justice now. Act now to save our planet and our future.” Kangujam is also the founder of ‘Bachpan Andolan’ or ‘The Child Movement’ similar to Greta Thunberg’s ‘Friday for Future’ that was founded for children who miss schools on Friday to demand climate action.
Need for Children Pavilion at COP27
All over the world, millions of children suffer in high-risk countries according to UNICEF’s The Climate Crisis Is A Child’s Rights Crisis: Introducing the Children’s Climate Risk Index, 2021. The extent can be derived from facts such as 820 million children across the world suffer from heat waves, 400 million children suffer from cyclones, and 920 experience water scarcity according to the aforementioned report.
The numbers are alarming and the fact that global leaders fail to understand the gravity of the situation, especially for the future generations, is a disappointment for children who trust the leaders for such issues.Thus, they are being provided with the opportunity to point out the problems and solutions to climate change themselves at a global level.
What do the Young Climate Activists Want from COP27?
The young leaders at the conference are all determined to get the global heads to understand their concerns and draft policies to protect areas worst protected from climate change. As Hayleigh says, “What has brought young people to this space is not necessarily social media, it’s other young people sharing the word of this space that they feel comfortable in, connecting in, being their true selves, advocating for action and meeting others in.”
The activists believe that their participation will bring forward a positive change which is necessary for sustainable development and improved climate conditions. The world looks forward to more of such youth inclusion in the significant conferences to come and the role the young minds will play there and make their presence known.