“Act now so that we still have a future to live in.”
While the World Leaders Summit took place in the Blue Zone this week, we asked visitors to our Green Zone what their message was for global leaders across the river.
— COP26 (@COP26) November 5, 2021
More real action, less ‘greenwashing’
Swedish activist Greta Thunberg was the last to appear on the protest’s stage, where she criticized world leaders for their continued “blah, blah, blah” after 26 years of climate conferences and put in doubt the transparency of the commitments they have made during this COP.
“The leaders are not doing nothing; they are actively creating loopholes and shaping frameworks to benefit themselves, and to continue profiting from this destructive system. This is an active choice by the leaders to continue the exploitation of nature and people and the destruction of presents and future living conditions to take place”, she said, calling the conference a “greenwashing event”.
Other Friday for Future members, speaking to UN News, asked for more participation and better youth representation in the negotiations that are underway at COP26.
“Every year we have been disappointed by COP, and I don’t think this year will be different. There is a sliver of hope but at the same time we don’t see enough action, we can’t achieve anything with just pledges at empty promises”, said a representative of Youth Advocates for Climate Change in the Philippines
“Negotiations are happening and yet we are here in the street, because we haven’t been included. The richest people come in their private jets and take the decisions. We are here and we won’t be ignored. We will make our own space”, another climate advocate added.
The Youth Statement
The same call was made inside the Blue Zone of the conference, where climate activists from YOUNGO, the Children and Youth Constituency of UN Climate Change, delivered to the COP presidency and other leaders a statement signed by 40,000 young people demanding change.
The statement raises several points of concern, among them inclusion in climate negotiations. They also asked Patricia Espinosa, the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to support their efforts to have a paragraph mentioning the importance of the youth included in the final declaration that is expected to be adopted at the end of COP26.
“We will be bringing these issues and demands to the attentions of the delegations, all of them are absolutely reasonable and justifiable,” she vowed during a panel discussion with young leaders.
The statement, which was handed over to Ministers, also asks for action on climate finance, mobility and transportation, wildlife protection and environmental conservation.
“Wherever I have been in the world, I have been struck by the passion and the commitment of young people to climate action. The voices of young people must be heard and reflected in these negotiations here at COP. The actions and scrutiny of young people are key to us keeping 1.5 alive and creating a net-zero future”, said Alok Sharma, COP26 President.
Meanwhile, the UK and Italy, in partnership with UNESCO, Youth4Climate and Mock COP coordinated new global action to equip future generations with the knowledge and skills to create a net-zero world.
As Education Ministers and young people gathered, over 23 countries put forward national climate education pledges, ranging from decarbonizing the education sector to developing school resources.