New York, 01 October, 2019 – It was a week which kicked off with millions of youth across the globe marching for climate action followed by a powerful speech to the 74th United Nations General Assembly by Greta Thunberg, the teenage climate activist from Sweden calling world leaders to account. “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words,” she said. “The eyes of all future generations are upon you”.
UN-Habitat in partnership with the Nobel Peace Centre, hosted an event to explore the intersection between Climate Change and Youth, Peace and Security. The High-Level event included VIP guest speaker Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Executive Director of UN-Habitat Ms. Maimunah Moh’d Sharif and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Kailash Satyarthi, followed by a youth speaker, Sofie Nordvik. Sofie is Norwegian youth delegate who was chosen among her peers to carry forward the recommendations developed during the Oslo Pax Summit earlier this month to the UN Climate Change Summit. "This is about people," she said. "About boys and girls who live amdist crisis and war - who confront many challenges when climate change prevents them from being able to live where they live. We have crated a problem that we must solve together."
In the opening remarks, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway said “The message from youth around the world is clear, we need to Step-up, Scale Up and Speed-Up. Young people’s urgency, voices and leadership have played a crucial role in advancing climate action and climate justice”. This is especially relevant in urban settings. Cities have become younger – most of the three billion people under the age of twenty-five live in urban areas, and it is estimated that 60% of urban populations will be under the age 18 by 2030.
Climate change is a threat multiplier interacting with multiple pressures, social conflict, leading to horizontal and vertical inequalities, large scale migration and competition for land, resources and increasing the likelihood of instability or violent conflict. The most vulnerable groups, including children and youth face the brunt of climate insecurity, yet still often left out the decision-making process.
“Greta’s words to world leaders of their “betrayal” of young people through a lack of action on the climate crisis will stay with me for the rest of my life” said Ms. Sharif. “My generation has not done enough in protecting our environment, this is why we need investment in transformative youth resilience to achieve peaceful societies and face the consequences of climate change”, she noted in her remarks. UN-Habitat and the Government of Norway have partnered to support young women leaders working on climate change. Over the last 10 years the Government of Norway has supported UN-Habitat’s Youth Empowerment Programmes through the One Stop Youth Resource Centre and Urban Youth Fund.”
The event also highlighted ways young people can help to bring about change and assume leadership in the climate debate. To watch the full event please click on the link here.