Youths at COP28: We will inherit the consequences of decisions made today

Within the Caribbean region, many countries secured entries as part of the official country delegation for youth participants, including students, non-governmental organisations and civil society representatives, some of whom were interviewed by Guardian Media in Expo City, Dubai.

On Children, Youth, and Education Day at COP28 on December 8, H E Shamma Al Mazrui, the COP28 Youth Climate Champion, said, “Young people are the future of this world; it is essential that their voices be heard in the fight for that future.”

YOUNGO, the official children and youth constituency of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, also said, “Confronted with the existential threat of climate change, children and youth from across the globe have united their voices and perspectives through the COP28 Global Youth Summit.”

The youth, historically used as tokens at these climate summits, have taken a prominent role at both COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, last year and at COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) this year, with the UAE also selecting and sponsoring 100 youth delegates globally to shape the debate at the international climate conference.

Within the Caribbean region, many countries secured entries as part of the official country delegation for youth participants, including students, non-governmental organisations and civil society representatives, some of whom were interviewed by Guardian Media in Expo City, Dubai.

Why is it important for youth to be present at COP28?

Youth will Inherit climate consequences
Muskaan Kemani

Muskaan Kemani, 23, Curaçao

“We are facing climate change impacts now. We’ve been facing it since we’ve probably gained consciousness and are the closest to the future. Our voices and experiences must be included in the dialogue about climate justice.”

Youth will Inherit climate consequences
Riddhi Samtani

Riddhi Samtani, 27, Sint Maarten

“It is so important for us to sit at the table at international conferences like COP because we are experiencing the climate crisis today. The climate crisis is not tomorrow or in the immediate future. It is happening right now. In order to hold governments and decisionmakers accountable, they need to take our perspective into account because we will inherit the consequences of decisions made today.”

Youth will Inherit climate consequences
Maya Thompson

Maya Thompson, 21, Jamaica

“The youth are the peacekeepers of the world. We are responsible for making the changes we want to see. COP28 allows students to learn and be involved in these conversations that are going on right now. We can give the youth perspective on the changes we want to be done, mainly because we’ve been so negatively affected by climate change, and it’s really impacting our lives. Having the youth here opens up this conversation about what change we want to see and how to make that happen.”

Alex Simon

Alex Simon, 18, Grenada

“Youths, we know, are the future of our generation, and these negotiations don’t make sense if the people who implement them are gone while we are the ones to suffer the negative consequence of those negotiations. Youth must be a part of the decision-making process. Many youths are advocating for that very thing, and youths today need to know about COP. They need to be participating so that they, in return, will benefit from any negotiation implemented.”

Youth will Inherit climate consequences
Quianna Watson

Quianna Watson, Grenada

“We want our voices to be heard. We want to be a part of the tomorrow that we will advocate for. We want to show everyone we know what’s happening, and we want to be involved. We must, as youth, share that body of knowledge with others as well. So that’s, in essence, the importance of being at COP, sharing knowledge, education, conservation, outreach, and all of that. It’s interesting and important, and we need that.”

Youth will Inherit climate consequences
Christianne Zakour

Christianne Zakour, 27, Trinidad and Tobago

“Whatever happens here now will influence what we do in the future. It could determine if we have kids, if we stay in the country, and even if we live. We are stakeholders of the future. We will make a change. We are passionate and energetic. We must be included because we make up 30 per cent of the world. And that’s a very significant population to leave out, so we don’t just need to be included; we need to be included meaningfully. So not to be tokenistic actions, but to be included, to be heard, and to be validated.”


This story was published as part of Climate Tracker’s COP28 Climate Justice Reporting Fellowship

Share:

Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
LinkedIn
Kalain Hosein

Kalain Hosein

Kalain is an award-winning multimedia journalist based in Trinidad and Tobago. Since 2014, he has reported on weather, climate, and the environment for his online media company, Trinidad and Tobago Weather Center.

In 2019, Kalain joined Guardian Media Limited in Trinidad and Tobago as their Weather Anchor, producing compelling weather, climate, and environment coverage across television, print, digital, and radio. He has led Guardian Media’s coverage through inclement weather events like tropical cyclones and floods, as well as international climate conferences such as the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP27.

See more stories

Follow us on social media

Recent stories

Stay up to date on the latest climate news and opportunities in the Caribbean!

Subscribe to our newsletter

Caribbean Climate
Justice Brief

Categories and tags