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Youth Voices Connect to Climate Negotiations

Youth Voices Connect to Climate Negotiations

Young people from across the globe came together today to highlight the under-representation of youth at the COP18 United Nations climate change negotiations in Doha. Negotiators and heads of state were confronted by a vibrant display of flags as they made their way to the plenary hall this morning. ‘Connected Voices’, a project launched by the New Zealand Youth Delegation (NZYD), utilises a collaborative ‘partnership-system’ to communicate views of unrepresented youth to the negotiations.

“For every country with direct youth representation, there are three countries without. This is unacceptable.” said NZYD spokesperson, David Gawith.
“We are determining their future, without hearing their voice.

Approximately 50 countries have direct youth representation in Doha, leaving over 140 countries without a youth advocate present. The unrepresented youth are predominantly from the Global South - developing nations that will be most affected by damaging climate change.

Youth representation is also highly exclusive, with financial constraints limiting the ability of largely self-funded youth to attend the negotiations. The majority of youth delegations in Doha are from wealthy, developed nations.

“Connected Voices highlights this injustice and works towards redressing it. In total, 83 unrepresented countries were partnered with attending youth delegations in an effort to connect their voices.

“Although the Secretariat has highlighted the importance of stakeholder involvement, very little is done to actually include the most relevant stakeholders - youth from developing countries, in these climate negotiations.

This exclusion also perpetuates the inability of unrepresented youth to attend future negotiations, as they do not have access to the expertise and skills, and are unable to build the capacity that attending delegations enjoy.

“We have known for decades that urgent action needs to be taken on climate change, yet we continue to ignore those most affected by it.


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