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Young Kiwis take climate action

UNICEF NZ (UN Children’s Fund)

Media Advisory


Young Kiwis take climate action – setting the stage for youth delegation to Copenhagen


Wellington, 22nd October 2009


UNICEF Kiwi climate ambassadors are gearing up for three days of action as part of this weekend’s international climate festivities.

The five climate ambassadors aged 15-17, from Whangarei, Auckland, Rotorua and Nelson will stage events in their schools on Friday 23rd October. 

Schools in Nelson are collecting one million milk bottle tops  to form a giant climate action mural and 350 trees will be planted at Te Rawhitiroa School in Whangarei.  Northcote College in Auckland will organise 350 students and teachers to stand together in the shape of 350 at 3.50pm and Western Heights High in Rotorua will host a hand painting 350 banner action.

“350 parts per million (ppm) is the maximum amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that scientists say is safe. We're currently at around 389ppm and rising by about 2ppm per year.  My school is trying to raise awareness about the number 350 in the lead up to December’s climate change summit in Copenhagen, Denmark” Rick Zwaan, 17.

On Saturday 24th October the ambassadors will meet in the capital to participate in Global Climate Action Day events at Wellington’s waterfront. 

The weekend’s events are preparation for the Kiwi climate ambassadors’ delegation to the UNICEF Climate Forum in Copenhagen (28 November - 5 December). The events are being organised by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in partnership with EnviroChallenge a youth environmental leadership programme.

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UNICEF International Advocacy Manager, Sarah Morris says this weekend the young people will put the finishing touches on the presentations that they will deliver at the Copenhagen conference on climate change. The Kiwi climate ambassadors will make recommendations on what world leaders need to agree at the Copenhagen talks to build a world fit for future generations of children.

“It is important for young people from the South Pacific to have a voice at this international forum.  They are the generation that will increasingly live with the consequences of climate change” says Ms Morris.

The ambassadors will also share ideas about how to raise money, to enable three young people from the Pacific Island nation of Kiribati to attend the forum in Copenhagen. Sea level rises associated with climate change are expected to take a heavy toll on the low-lying islands of Kiribati. 

The UNICEF Climate Forum in Copenhagen will attract more than 160 delegates from 40 countries. Recommendations from the children’s forum will go to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change immediately following, at which state leaders will discuss climate change issues.

The five Kiwi climate ambassadors are: Erana Walker (17) Whangarei; Rick Zwaan (16) Auckland; Phoebe Hunt (17) Rotorua; Travis Mills (14) Nelson; and Abby Ward (17) Nelson.


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