by Kunzang Lhamo
September 21, 2019- The U.N Youth Climate Summit for the first time in history took place
as part of a weekend of events leading up to the U.N Secretary-General’s Climate Action
Summit on Monday, September 23.
It was a full-day program which brought together young activists and leaders from across the
world to include their voice in building paths towards a habitable planet and to demand
radical moves to fight climate change.
More than 700 mostly young activists attended the first Youth Climate Summit, according to
Luis Alfonso de Alba, the U.N. special climate summit envoy.
The 16-year old climate activist Greta Thunberg, who started the climate strike movement
with her lone protest in front of her country’s parliament about a year and a half ago, states
that the young people are united and are unstoppable. She delivered a short statement,
explaining that she wanted to leave more time for other speakers and that she would be
addressing Mondays UN summit on climate change.
Bruno Rodriguez demands “to stop the criminal behaviour of big contaminant corporations”
and said “the climate and the ecological crisis is the political crisis of our time, it is the
economic crisis of our time, it is the cultural crisis of our time. We are facing an existential
emergency, and the world leaders have an obligation to make a radical change.”
Rodriguez also made a point to address the major companies responsible for the rise of the
emission, saying “the one hundred companies responsible for 71% of world greenhouse
submission needs to transit towards the sustainable path. Enough is enough, and we don’t
need fossil fuels anymore.”
Jayathma Wickramanayake, the U.N. secretary-general’s youth envoy, called climate
change “the defining issue of our time. Millions of young people all over the world are
already being affected by it.”
Fiji climate activist Komal Karishma Kumar calls upon Duty bearers and decision-makers to
respect the rights of future generations, to respect the agency and institution of young
people and to respect the fact that everyone from low line countries to rich countries has the
right to live in a habitable planet.
Kumar said “Lost, and damage compensation and additional support for low-income
countries are still not comprehensive, to be clear, we are not insurance policies, we are a
human being, we are communities.” And she asked, “countries with high history carbon
emission and fossil fuel giants to stop hindering work towards the welfare of the planet for
their short term profits.”
After listening to Thunberg and other youth climate activists, Secretary-General Antonio
Guterres credited young people with transforming him from a pessimist to an optimist in the
fight against global warming.
“I encourage you to keep your initiative. Keep your mobilization and more and more to hold
my generation accountable,” Guterres said. “My generation has largely failed until now to
preserve both justices in the world and to preserve the planet.”
Kumar told Guterres that “we will hold you accountable and if you do not, remember we will
mobilize to vote you out.”
The youth activists brainstorm about what can be done to reform and restructure the climate
action towards a sustainable change. It’s high time now to talk the talk and walk the walk.
We have reached the point where giving up isn’t an option; we need to push the boundaries
and start making a sustainable development towards climate change.
“Our vision and our input must be allowed to influence the decision,” said Kenya activist