Young people should have active role in combating climate change – Ban

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

12 August 2008 – Young people, who are adept at spreading new habits and technologies, are well placed to contribute to the fight against climate change, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said as he marked International Youth Day.

“They are adaptable and can quickly make low-carbon lifestyles and career choices a part of their daily lives. Youth should therefore be given a chance to take an active part in the decision-making of local, national and global levels. And they can actively support initiatives that will lead to the passage of far-reaching legislation,” Mr. Ban stressed in his message for the Day, which is observed annually on 12 August.

The Secretary-General warned that, left unaddressed, climate change could unravel the progress made toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of anti-poverty targets that world leaders have committed to meet by 2015.

“Unless we make radical changes in the way we live, by the time the youth of 2008 reach my age, the world may well have become a rather inhospitable place,” he said.

Mr. Ban added that young people will bear the consequences of climate change “thanks to the unfortunate legacy of their elders.”

“In many developing countries, in particular, youth – especially girls and young women – are often responsible for farming, finding water and collecting fuel wood. These tasks will be rendered more difficult – and will take even more time away from education or productive activities – as climate change affects the availability of water, agricultural productivity and the survival of ecosystems,” he said.

In a related development, 50 people, including school and college students, were invited to the headquarters of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal (OHCHR-Nepal) in Kathmandu as part of International Youth Day. The visitors were given a tour of the office and put questions to OHCHR-Nepal’s representative and deputy representative.


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