Young people and activists from across the world have gathered at the UN Climate Change Conference COP22 in Marrakech to highlight youth’s important contributions to climate action.

Beginning November 9, the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi, joined the various events emphasizing the role of young people in taking climate action and achieving sustainable development.

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Like every year, the UN Climate Change Conference devotes an entire day to youth and their work supporting climate action. This year’s youth day, the “Young and Future Generations Day,” took place on November 10, with a series of events led by YOUNGO supported by UNFCCC to recognize youth leadership in climate action.

Organized jointly by YOUNGO, the UN Joint Framework Initiative on Children, Youth and Climate Change, and the UNFCCC secretariat, the special day encouraged youth delegates from around the world to engage with key players on the intergovernmental climate change arena. This year the day focused on the role of young people in the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Taking part in the various activities, Alhendawi underscored the need to recognize the countless contributions of young people to climate action, urging all to move from words to tangible commitments.

Later in the day, the World Bank’s global partnership program Connect4Climate hosted the award ceremony for the youth winners of this year’s Film4Climate video competition.

Launched earlier this year, the competition called for videos emphasizing what people around the world are doing to promote action, offer new solutions and inspire change. More than 850 videos from 155 countries flooded in to compete for a variety of cash and equipment prizes.

On November 11, Alhendawi met with Ms. Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Espinosa and Alhendawi spoke of concrete ways to increase young people’s participation in climate negotiations, a point seen by both as a shared priority.

Watch as Alhendawi discusses the power of young people to mobilize and innovate for climate action:

The 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) to the UNFCCC officially opened on November 7 and will run until November 18. Hosted by the Government of Morocco, the Conference builds on the achievements made at COP21 and focuses on action items to achieve the priorities of the Paris Agreement.

In order to enter into force, the Paris Agreement, adopted on December 12, 2015 in Paris, had to be ratified by at least 55 Parties to the UNFCCC, accounting for 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The threshold of 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions was crossed on October 5, 2016, with the deposit at the United Nations of the instruments of ratification by the European Union, which counts as 1 party, along with seven of its member states namely Hungary, France, Slovakia, Austria, Malta, Portugal and Germany in addition to Nepal.

Thirty days later, on November 4, 2016, the Paris Agreement came into force on the eve of COP22.

Alhendawi concluded his visit by meeting with Moroccan youth at a special event organized by the Moroccan Ministry of Youth and Sports and UNFPA.

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