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Youth at the UN Climate talks

The future is ours

The COP19 negotiations have come to an end and do have barely produced any concrete outcome. Only one thing is crystal clear - the importance of young people as a key partner during the climate negotiations. These negotiations have shown that young people clearly grasp the magnitude of the challenges they will have to face as a result of climate change over the next decades. Young people have also made very clear that they are willing to struggle for a real commitment from this COP19, recognising fully the current and future risks and effects associated with climate change.

"NGOs, youth organisations, student networks and other youth stakeholders have over the last few days taken part in countless actions, demonstrations and marches, all with intention of reclaiming what is very often forgotten at these climate talks - that by talking about climate change we are indeed talking about the future, and especially the future of young people and future generations. This is what will be left to them", states Raül Romeva i Rueda, co-coordinator of the Greens/EFA Youth Campaign.

Since the very beginning of these negotiations, youth organisations took to both the Warsaw streets and the COP building's corridors to defend what they believe to be their rights and their future. The YOUNGO delegation, composed of young people from youth organisations all over the world, has been standing for the youth approach within these negotiations. Young activists, NGOs and members of Youth climate platforms such as Federation of Young European Greens (FYEG) have been fasting for more than one week in solidarity with Filipinos as well as working on collecting signatures from people standing with the Philippines, denouncing the fact that big polluting groups sponsored this conference, carrying out marches and street actions against the Coal Summit organised by the Polish government and pushing for a real commitment to finance - with campaigns such as Where are The Finances? (WTF?). Young people have also pushed for the development of a mechanism on Loss and Damage, which would help countries affected by natural disasters such as the recent tragedy in the Philippines.

In the words of Karima Delli, also co-coordinator of the Greens/EFA Youth Campaign:

"Young people are taking to the streets to reclaim what is theirs: the future. And they are also pointing at those decision-makers blocking and trying to derail these negotiations, carrying out actions like the Fossil of the Day, which is a daily award going to the country with the worst performance at the UN Climate Talks. Young people are acting, getting involved and making their voice heard during these negotiations - too many years have been already wasted and finally now there is a concrete objective for the end of 2015. Negotiators and governments should take heed: young people are watching very closely, and they have proven themselves able to take action".

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Karima Delli
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