Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Getting Out the Youth Message!

1) Youth Leadership

Top-line message

Young people from all over are coming together in a way that governments haven't been able to, even after 16 years of negotiations. We are united around the shared vision the world so desperately needs. Our leaders must do the same.


a) Our future, my future is on a timer. We need to tackle this issue quickly, together, fairly. Take our example: we are five hundred youth from fifty different countries, representing the privileged and the disenfranchised, the global north and the global south. We come together, representing millions more back home. We come together as you, the negotiators need to.

b) Half of the world's population (48%) are under 30, making young people the largest constituency at these talks.

c) We are taking action in our own lives, independent of what government does.

2) Urgency of the problem

Some of us have been born into this debate, our time to act was longer. I ask you this, what are we still waiting for? Youth have been at these negotiations for sixteen years and we're beginning to wonder if you are capable to act at all.

Young people are still shocked by the lack of urgency our governments have in the face of this global problem. It is no longer a case of stopping climate change, now we are fighting for our survival and UN Official Delegates have the audacity to negotiate our collective future, while continuing to claim that they stand for equity and sustainability. We have one year left, one year, to strike a deal that will tackle this problem, and in so rebuilding our economy and society.

We are incredibly frustrated at the tangible complacency here. Delegates just accept global temperatures will inevitably pass 2 degrees. And this scares me.

I'm tired of coming here and telling you how urgent this is. We move you to tears, but still nothing moves forward.

We are not only the leaders of tomorrow, we're the leaders of today. We're taking action in our own lives, and we have tried to get youth representation on national delegations.

IN EMERGENCIES: We want to believe in this process but your actions or rather inactions are making it nearly impossible. But know this, young people are organized, we are building movements that transcend the boundaries you are using to divide us. FLAG

We want you to lead. if you won't, stand aside

3) Solutions/ opportunities

Top line messaging

This crisis is actually a chance to change our society for the better. We can create stronger communities, more comfortable homes, better transport networks, secure employment, and a fairer, more stable global economy.


a) Solutions exist, but where is the political will? You say that the problems are too complex, you say that we have too many boundaries of race, class, cultural differences to overcome, you say that we must compromise our future and our earth, in order pass a viable solution. We say that we can tackle this problem, it is not easy, but in doing so we are presented with incredible opportunities.

b) This is not a choice between being prosperous and being green. Development and economic stability are completely dependent on a stable climate. Supporting a strong, equitable treaty is the only position that makes economic sense.

c) Equity must be front and centre throughout this process. Anything that isn't equitable is not a solution. Morality and expediency demand that this treaty provide funding for mitigation and adaptation that is additional to, and not a substitute for existing aid commitments. An equitable deal is one that by taking care of the least of us, takes care of all of us.

Our specific policy asks

1. Stabilize our atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases at 350ppmCO2e (ultimately returning to pre-industrial levels). Annexe I countries must commit to reducing their emissions by at least 40% by 2020 vs. 1990 levels

2. Dramatically increase adaptation funding through the UNFCCC (not the World Bank or IMF) and this must be in addition to existing aid commitments. Equity is key.

3. REDD must be first and foremost a mechanism for forest protection and climate stabilization, not off-setting and profit-generation for Annex-1 countries. It must guarantee the security of land and property rights of local and indigenous peoples.

* Proposed ask (approval is in-progress): Include at least one youth representative on every county's national delegation for all future negotiations

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