Today marks the first day of the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (or by its much shorter name, COP28). The conference is being held in Expo City, Dubai until 12 December 2023 and is attended by delegates from all over the world.
This year, COP28 brings the world together at a critical moment for global transformative climate action. Just recently, scientists at the United Nations warned that the world is heading towards 3°C of global heating within this century, increasing the risks of events such as heatwaves, floods and droughts.
Climate change is something children and young people talk to me about all the time. It’s something they care passionately about. In The Big Ask, the largest ever survey of children, young people across England told me that they want a society where everyone can succeed and told me they care about the environment and planet. Just over 1 in 5 children (22%) chose ‘a healthy environment and planet’ as one of their top priorities for having a good life when they grow up. Similarly, 1 in 5 children said that being treated fairly was another key priority.
This year, COP28 is making sure that children’s voices are heard through multiple young-led initiatives. The Youth Climate Delegate Program has sponsored 100 young people to attend the meeting, prioritising young delegates from less developed countries, Indigenous Peoples and other minority groups around the world.
The programs aims to:
- Ensure that youth views and proposals are fully integrated into global climate policymaking and dialogues.
- Build youth skills, capacity, knowledge, and networks, particularly in the most impacted countries, to engage in climate processes.
- Provide a model for the COP process on youth inclusion.
Young people in England also have a big opportunity to have their voice heard on issues they care about through the Children’s Commissioner’s Big Ambition! The survey is currently open to all young people in England aged 6-18 and adults can respond on behalf of children of all ages . Take part if you want to make sure that your voice is heard about climate change as well as any other issue that you care about!