Article / 10 Nov, 2017
Fijian COP23 Presidency and Youth Unite for Climate Action

At the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn (COP 23, to 17 November), young people are pushing for more climate ambition and a stronger role for youth in helping shape climate policies and implementing the Paris Climate Change Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals – and they are being strongly supported by the Fijian Presidency of COP23.

The Fijian COP Presidency intends to place a greater focus on education and how its elements need to translate themselves into funded work programmes.The Presidency is pleased that negotiations relating to education under the Paris Climate Change Agreement have started. This is part of the “grand coalition” of the Fijian Presidency, which aims to engage all stakeholders, and recognizes the pivotal role of children in climate action among other actors. Nazhat Shameem Khan, Climate Ambassador of the Fijian Presidency, said:

“We cannot emphasize enough the increasing vulnerability of young people to the impacts of climate change, notably children. At the same time, children are some of the loudest advocates for climate action. The creativity, the energy and the drive of children and young people can accelerate climate action now to enhance the ambition of the Paris Climate Change agreement.”

Deputy Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change, Ovais Sarmad said: “If we are to bring about societal change, a change that is sustainable, a change that is meaningful, that needs to happen at an early stage and cannot happen without education and the engagement of youth and children. Youth have an extremely important role to play and what you are doing here is essential.”


Deputy Secretary of UN Climate Change, Ovais Sarmad

At the so-called “Intergenerational Inquiry” at COP23, the highlight of the Young and Future Generations Day at COP23, youth delegates spoke of concrete examples climate change impacts happening today, and of their work to bring about change.

One of these young people is Fredrick Ouma from Kenya. He mentioned the grave impact that climate change has on cattle farmers in Kenya, with more severe draughts impacting livestock and food security. Addressing the policymakers in the room, he said “it’s not enough to have capacity building and training. Climate change affects us, our countries, our food security, our economies, our future. We try to adapt, but we need to do more.”


Fredrick Ouma and Iulah Pitamama express their concerns on food security in the Global South

Iulah Pitamama is 29-years old and works for the government of the Solomon Islands on fisheries. “We face a lot of challenges, for example coral bleaching less fish. It is hard to catch fish now. That is why we help communities to organize their marine resources, so that the fishery has a future,” Pitamama also represents the Pacific Voices in Unison, and is keen to help reduce disaster risk to other small island developing states (SIDS).

Education, training and public awareness on climate change - "Action for Climate Empowerment" (ACE) – is also the focus of Article 6 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Action for Climate Empowerment team worked alongside UN agencies, youth organizations and Connect4Climate to host the Young and Future Generations Day at COP23.

Watch this video to get an insight of the events of the Young and Future Generations Day.

More events to watch out for at COP23:

Education Day - 16 November 2017

High-Level Event: Uniting for Climate Education- 11:30-13:00

Dreaming Big in Education! The partnerships we need for scaled up adaptation and mitigation, 11:30-13:00

Award Ceremony of the Global Youth Video Competition on Climate Change - 16 Nov 2017 18:30–20:00