Fridays For Future youth protest at COP26, Glasgow, UK, November 5, 2021. Credit: Save the Children.
YOUTH DAY AT COP26: WELCOMED, BUT NOWHERE NEAR ENOUGH
FAIRFIELD, Conn. (Nov. 5, 2021)—In response to today’s ‘Youth Day’ at COP26, Yolande Wright, Global Director of Child Poverty and Climate at Save the Children, said from Glasgow:
“While it’s a positive step to see the organizers of COP recognizing young people with a dedicated ‘Youth Day’ today, the phrase ‘Don’t talk the talk unless you can walk the walk’ sadly comes to mind.
“For decades, children have been routinely excluded from and overlooked in decision-making on the climate crisis. Despite promises that this COP would be the most inclusive ever, young activists have already described it as the complete opposite. What we have seen this week is that COP26 is anything but a child-friendly environment.
“The inclusion of children and young people has not been made a priority, even with major barriers to attendance like vaccine inequity and global inequality. But even those who made it here have struggled, with many young activists in Glasgow telling Save the Children this week that as well as being excluded from negotiations, they have even had trouble finding and following them online. It seems much more could have been done, even with COVID restrictions, to create opportunities for meaningful inclusion.
“The climate emergency, created by adults, is an intergenerational child rights crisis to which children themselves have contributed next to nothing. It is children from low- and middle-income countries, as well as those already experiencing inequality and discrimination, who bear the brunt of it.
“While we’ve seen some progress six days into COP26, we’re dismayed by the failure to meet the essential commitment to mobilize $100 billion in climate finance per year by 2020 to support vulnerable countries. We are also concerned by a distinct lack of progress on loss and damage funding, and would like to see more of a sense of urgency from historical emitters and high-income countries to limit warming temperatures to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
“So it is no wonder that children and young people in Glasgow are striking and demonstrating today to have their voices heard at a conference where many feel their voices have been shut out.”
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