GYEA Doubles Down on Children Engagement In Policy Formulation in Climate Action

The Global Youth Environment Assembly (GYEA) held in Nairobi from 17th to 18th, on the build-up to UNEA-6 later this month was rife with calls to engage the youth and children in policy formulation processes and decision-making on matters of environment and climate change.

Children and Youth Major Group constituencies and different civil societies involved in addressing climate change impact discussions and mitigation processes decried the common misconception that the youth and children do not care about the environment and climate effect caused by the older generation.

Presenting during the assembly session, Child Right Connect, an independent, non-profit network of 84 national, regional, and international organizations, networks, and coalitions that support children’s rights, and include a focus on children without parental care, highlighted that, children have a right to a safe environment. 

The organization’s pioneering presentation of Statement 26, which includes the voices of children from across more than 100 countries, talking about a clean healthy, and sustainable environment, and mental and physical health; was lauded by experts and activists for its focus on previously ignored voices.

Speaking in the assembly, Ann Skelton, the chairperson of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), said she was grateful to how children have taken up comment No. 26. She further commented on how children are taking action and responsibility concerning climate action and advised that if necessary, children should bring complaints to courts in case legislations and other avenues do not recognize the issues to support climate change in their community.

Youth and children during the Global Youth Environment Assembly

Advisor of the UN policy on children’s Rights, Mr. Rajib Ghosal, pointed out that the Member nations of the Conference of Parties were falling short of addressing the gap in climate funds as less than 5% of the funding is dedicated to children. He further reiterated that Comment 26 was a benchmark for states’ action or inaction on child rights concerning climate change.

As the world works towards an environmentally sustainable future, young people should be involved in discussions and policy-making from local to global discussions as they will inherit the future of the world. This was underscored by the significant move of children’s involvement in the deliberations amongst the youths that approve of an acceptance that their role plays in the whole spectrum of addressing climate challenges.

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