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Youth And Climate Change: Time For Action

Youth And Climate Change: Time For Action

On International Youth Day 2008, the Pan-Commonwealth Youth Caucus calls on decision makers to allow our peers to fully participate as agents of change to restore our planet. As young people, we have a particular interest in a sustainable future and a sustainable Commonwealth. We are the inheritors of the actions of those who have come before and the innovators who can rectify the consequences.

Climate change is having far-reaching impacts on young people across the Commonwealth. Young people are especially vulnerable to food shortage and the rising costs of food. Young people are disproportionately affected by conflict, including conflict caused by the inability to share natural resources. Young people feel keenly the loss of environments for both livelihoods and recreation. For these reasons, we, as young people, seek to add our voices to the call for every effort to be made by governments and international bodies towards climate stabilization.

With the support of governments and international bodies, young people can be a great force of positive change.

• We call on Commonwealth countries to follow the Commonwealth Plan of Action for Youth Empowerment (PAYE), the framework for Commonwealth action in youth affairs. We endorse PAYE 11 which encourages the engagement of young people to protect the environment by supporting educational opportunities.

• We support the recommendation of the Commonwealth Youth Forum 7 that the Commonwealth, in collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretariat, work towards the establishment of a separate Commonwealth Environmental Body to oversee Commonwealth programmes and initiatives related to sustainable development and climate change.

• We urge attendees at the 14th Conference of the Parties to Climate Convention to be held in Poznan, Poland in December this year to involve the views and concerns of young people in their deliberations and consideration of good practices.

• We encourage governments to engage in programmes that address Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 7, which relates to environmental sustainability and access to safe drinking water.

Young people can be the solution to many environmental concerns. Sixty per cent of the population of the Commonwealth are aged under 30 years. If all the young people in the Commonwealth and represented by the Pan-Commonwealth Youth Caucus representatives formed a country, we would be the second largest country in the Commonwealth (after India) and the third largest country in the world, ahead of the USA.

On this International Youth Day, we commit ourselves, as a Caucus of youth agenda advocates, to believing in generations beyond our own and to taking action now to ensure the world is cleaner for them.

We call on decision makers to recognize and engage with young people to make positive change.

ENDS

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