Young people fight for the climate
The commitment and contributions of young people in the fight against climate change were in focus for His Royal Highness The Crown Prince on his final day at UN High-level Week in New York City.
Youth also took centre stage on Wednesday, with Swedish activist Greta Thunberg speaking at an event highlighting a new special report on sea and ice by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The initiator of the first of a growing number of "climate strikes" by school pupils, Ms Thunberg has come to personify the commitment of young people around the world to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
“The reason we have taken to the streets is because of science. We must listen to the scientists,” Thunberg said in her remarks.
Greta Thunberg speaks during the event “Blue Leaders Call to Action on Ocean and Climate”. Photo: UN Foundation.
On Thursday, youth leadership and commitment were again in focus. Youth delegates to the UN Climate Action Summit presented the outcome document of Oslo Pax 2019, a recent international gathering on peace and climate where young climate activists met with decision-makers, experts and peace prize winners and drew up recommendations for the UN Climate Action Summit.
Time for action
The commitment of young people to preserve the climate has grown in strength, as the school demonstrations have shown. The purpose of Thursday’s event was to highlight ways young people can help to bring about change and assume leadership in the climate debate.
Crown Prince Haakon and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide with Sofie Nordvik (centre), Norway’s youth delegate to the UN Climate Action Summit. Ms Nordvik spoke at the meeting today. Photo: The Royal Court
Crown Prince Haakon was the meeting’s keynote speaker. He pointed to the young people’s high level of interest and enthusiasm regarding climate issues and underscored the importance of including them in decision-making processes:
Future generations must not be an afterthought.
- Young people - our future generations - are not, and cannot be, an afterthought. They are not simply inhabitants of the future. They must be part of the leadership and decision-making processes now. And not only in a tokenistic way. We need their creativity, resilience and resourcefulness. As well as their leadership as problem solvers and innovators.
UN Security Council Resolution 2250 recognises this and emphasises the importance of youth as agents of change, the Crown Prince noted. He then drew attention to youth delegate Sofie Nordvik’s upcoming presentation, titled "Call for Action on Peace and Climate Change".
"This is about people,"she said. "About boys and girls who live amidst crisis and war – who confront many challenges when climate change prevents them from being able to live where they live. We have created a problem that we must solve together."
Sofie Nordvik is Norway’s youth delegate to the UN Climate Action Summit. Photo: Gjermund Øystese, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Funds for development
The Crown Prince also attended the UN High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development on Thursday. Efforts to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals are not adequately funded. Norway gives high priority to development funding, including through the presidency of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which is held by Norway’s UN Ambassador, Mona Juul.
Thursday’s summit was intended to highlight the need for funding and to discuss how public funds and private capital can be mobilised on behalf of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Crown Prince attended the UN High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development. Photo: The Royal Court
The group of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) meets annually during the UN General Assembly session. Norway engages in close, long-term cooperation with several of these countries, and this year’s meeting provided a good opportunity for dialogue.
Crown Prince Haakon spoke at the meeting and had three messages from Norway: We hear you. We support you. We need you. If we are to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals and succeed in combating climate change, all countries will have to stand together. Sustainable development in LDCs makes not just those countries, but the world at large a more stable and peaceful place.
Concluded with SAMOA
Crown Prince Haakon also participated in a midterm review of the SAMOA Pathway – an action programme for small island developing states focusing on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The programme addresses matters related to climate, clean energy, poverty reduction, health, gender equality, security and a variety of other important areas.
The Crown Prince visited the Pacific Ocean states of Samoa, Fiji and Tonga earlier this year. There he saw for himself how climate change is affecting the island states and how their populations are working to prepare local communities to withstand the impacts.
The SAMOA Pathway meeting ended four hectic days at UN High-level Week in New York City.
The King and Queen opened the new MUNCH
"I think that I speak for all of us when I say that we have been looking forward to this day! It is finally possible for us to gather together, and soon the great doors will open up a new attraction – not just for our capital city, but for Norway, and for the world," said His Majesty The King.
Congratulations from His Majesty King Harald to His Excellency Mr Alar Karis, President of the Republic of Estonia.