UN high-level week: Youth, Climate, Peace and Security
Excellences, ladies and gentlemen,
No one needs to explain the devastating effects of climate change to young people. Youth don’t ignore the science – as some others do.
Whether it is organizing a climate strike, or picking up plastic from our beaches, young people around the world are taking action - big and small - to protect their future.
Young people’s voices, agency and leadership have played a crucial role in advancing climate action and climate justice. And they have made themselves seen, and heard, in New York City this week.
The message from youth around the world is clear. "We need to step up, speed up and scale up".
In April, I had the pleasure of visiting Tonga, Fiji and Samoa. There I met people who are fighting every single day to stop soil erosion, and prevent seawater from destroying their land. They are among the people who have contributed the least to climate change, yet they risk losing the most.
This trip left a deep impression on me.
To the people of these small island developing states, climate change is not merely a weather statistic. It is existential. It is a daily struggle against forces undermining their livelihoods and is a threat to their security.
What will the future of their children be?
We know that children, and youth also face the brunt of climate insecurity. And yet, they are often left out of decision making processes and not recognised as a partner, or a force for change.
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.
This has been recognised by the Security Council in its Resolution Twenty-two Fifty (2250) on Youth, Peace and Security. Highlighting the importance of youth as agents of change.
An agenda Norway hopes to champion if elected to the Security Council in 2021-2022. But we also need to make clear the nexus with climate change and the YPS agenda.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
Peace, security, climate action and sustainable development are all interlinked. The severe impacts of climate change undeniably pose a threat to our common security. It is a threat to human wellbeing, and puts the rights of future generations at risk.
This was also a clear message from the Oslo Pax Summit on Peace and Climate Change earlier this month. I look forward to hear one of the young norwegian voices, Sofie Nordvik presenting the Call for Action on Peace and Climate Change later today.
I believe we must acknowledge that we are all connected. To each other, and to nature. What we do to our planet, we do to ourselves.
We must all work together to ensure that our future generations have the opportunity to experience, enjoy and prosper from the vast beauty and wonderful diversity of this nature – just as we have.