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Klaus Esterluß | COP17

Youth and the Future

It was Young and Future Generations Day at COP17 in Durban on Thursday, and among the many events, talks and side events that took place on that day alone, one message came across very clear and loud: it is time to act, the time for political inactions has run out. If the world doesn’t act now it might be too late.
Young people and their future are actually at the center of these talks, because it is their future that’s being talked about. They are the primary stakeholders in the outcome of this conference. So they have the right to demand more of the negotiators, and of the targets they are setting. In a session called “An Intergenerational Inquiry” UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres warned youth not to pick up the bad habits of negotiators and stay ambitious. In response, 16-year old Mokgadi Seemola silenced the room in stating, “Because of some of the wrong decisions some negotiators have made, my dream is shattered.” Drought has devastated her South African community and now she faces the harsh realities of climate change. She had hopes to share the world she grew up in with her children, and that’s now impossible.
One would hope that negotiators at this conference had heard the message: that there is no time to wait any longer on coming to a binding agreement on how to stop climate change. There is not much time left. So, what action will they take?
(Report based on Eco, the NGO newsletter by CAN at the UNFCCC meeting in Durban)


December 2, 2011



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