Youth plea for more action to combat climate change in their own words – UNDP

11 August 2008 – A new United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report showcases the voices of young people worldwide on how they view climate change and what they believe are the best means to tackle the issue.

The publication, launched today in New York, was produced entirely by young people between the ages of 16 and 25 worldwide and is a companion to UNDP’s Human Development Report (HDR) released last November.

“All the locals can do here is watch their homes being washed up by storm surges, rising seas and torrential rainfalls. They have no means to limit these effects which are a result of others’ actions,” wrote Casper Supaporo Village of the Solomon Islands.

In the new publication, Karimon from Bangladesh, hard hit by global warming, expressed anger about the phenomenon which impacts the world’s poorest the most. “Don’t we have the right to food, treatment, education, and financial security? Aren’t we human?”

The title, “Two Degrees of Separation Between Hope and Despair,” refers to the HDR’s warning that temperatures must not rise more than 2 degrees Centigrade above pre-industrial levels, meaning that greenhouse gas emissions must be slashed.

Backed by both UNDP and the non-governmental organization (NGO) Peace Child International, the report also points out every day steps youth can take – such as recycling and conserving electricity – to taking action by lobbying governments to implement feed-in tariffs, which would encourage people to produce enough renewable energy for their homes through solar or wind power and sell the excess to the national electricity grid.

The youth version of the HDR highlights the importance of engaging young people to promote “good governance in order to have good citizenship that is well-informed at a very young and early age,” Cecilia Ugaz, Acting Director of the UNDP’s Human Development Report Office, told reporters at the publication’s launch.

The publication – which includes stories, drawings, poems and testimonials from young people from around the world – will also be presented tomorrow on International Youth Day in Quebec City, Canada, during the World Youth Conference.

In a related development, more than 1,000 people are expected to attend the next round of UN climate change talks from 21-27 August in the Ghanaian capital, Accra.

“At the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali in 2007, the international community embarked on a two-year negotiating process which is both critically important and under severe time pressure,” Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said today. “We are now eight months into these negotiations, and while progress has been made, there is no doubt that we need to move forward quickly.”

Negotiations to conclude a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, whose first commitment period ends in 2012, are expected to wrap up at the end of 2009 in Copenhagen.

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