UNICEF UK response the outcomes of COP26 for children and young people
Responding to the outcomes of COP26 for children and young people, Joanna Rea, Director of Advocacy for the UK Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK) said:
“COP26 was a chance for world leaders to recognise the climate crisis as a child rights crisis and agree ambitious and concrete action to tackle climate change.
“For the one billion children around the world already affected by the climate crisis, the outcomes of the Summit have fallen short of the urgent action needed to protect them today. Many of them will feel their futures remain at risk.
“Barely keeping the 1.5°c target within reach, watered down language on the phasing out of fossil fuels, and the ongoing failure to meet climate finance commitments from rich to poor countries, shows the world still has a long way to go to tackle climate change and protect children’s futures.
“Beyond the negotiations there were glimmers of hope as 29 nations signed the Declaration on Children, Youth and Climate Action recognising the need to accelerate child- and youth-responsive climate action, policies, and their meaningful participation.
“Children and young people must be present and involved where decisions are made that directly affect their lives and futures. Within and outside the halls of COP26, we’ve been told repeatedly by young people that they did not feel listened to or included at the Summit.
“The call on Parties as part of the conference outcome to ensure meaningful youth participation and representation is a step in the right direction and must be implemented urgently and continuously. This will ensure their views and rights are considered and acted upon at all times. To do so is to recognise and uphold their right to a healthy environment, including a safe climate.
“UNICEF UK is urging the UK and all governments to act on the urgent calls made by children and young people at COP26. Listening to them is critical and all governments should commit to this by signing the Declaration on Children, Youth and Climate Action.
“COP 26 was the world’s best last chance to tackle the climate crisis. With so much at stake, world leaders should be doing the most they can, not the very least – children and young people deserve nothing less.”
Responding to the outcomes of COP26 for children and young people, the Youth Advisory Board for the UK Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK) said:
“COP26 gave us hope. Not because of the commitments made by Governments – these are still too little, too late – but because of all the activists and advocates and leaders we met and listened to. Their stories were so inspirational and empowering; it felt incredible to be part of a global movement pushing for climate action, justice and human rights.”
“The conference wasn’t youth-friendly or inclusive; as young people we still feel ignored. Yet COP26 gave us hope and resolve to keep fighting.”
“It is obvious to young people that the government is not only green washing but youth washing too. Our voices need to be used to make real change as the government doesn’t understand the urgency of the climate crisis or the fact our future is at stake”
For more information, contact UNICEF UK’s press office:
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.
The UK Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK) raises funds for UNICEF’s emergency and development work for children. We also promote and protect children’s rights in the UK and internationally. We are a UK charity, entirely funded by supporters.
United Kingdom Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK), Registered Charity No. 1072612 (England & Wales), SC043677 (Scotland).