December 8 – Pacific Youth Champions Climate Action as Global Leaders Pledge Urgent Measures

Pacific Young Leaders Fight for Climate Change

Day 9 of COP28 is dedicated to Children and Youth. On December 8th, a group of young climate leaders convened a discussion at the Climate Mobility Pavilion on the impacts of climate change, inducing people’s displacement and migration. The side event is organized by the Swedish Embassy in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM). “For us in the Pacific region, the impacts of climate change are not just statistics but real,” said a young female leader from Tuvalu. “Cyclones and sea-level rise are a reality in our daily lives,” she added. Similarly, young leaders from Egypt and Mali emotionally witnessed thousands of displaced people within their countries and regions due to climate change, including children and young people.

However, young people in the Pacific do not blame or victimize themselves in such situations. “We are here not as victims but as resilient warriors for climate change,” said a young female leader from Tuvalu.

On the global stage, young people from Pacific countries are well-known as leaders fighting for climate change. They have demonstrated their leadership by committing to combating climate change and fighting for the prohibition of nuclear tests in the Pacific Sea and ocean. They take the lead in campaigning against seabed mining and free nuclear tests in the Pacific Ocean. A few years ago, some students from the Law school in Vanuatu proposed to their government to bring the issue of climate justice to the International Justice Court in The Hague, Netherlands. On March 29, 2023, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a resolution requesting an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the obligations of States with respect to climate change.

As the discussion continued, Pacific young people showcased their leadership and skills both in discussions and in cultural performances. At the end of the discussions, they demonstrated the richness and beauty of their culture by spontaneously singing and dancing, followed by other young people who joyfully danced together.

Intensive Climate Action on Expo City’s Ground

In a pivotal interview at Expo City on December 8, 2023, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, engaged with Canadian civil society groups, including Climate Action Canada, the President of Canada Climate Institute, and the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment. The interview emphasized the urgent need to transition away from fossil fuels.

Simultaneously, adjacent platforms resonated with voices from Fridays for Future, Climate Justice advocates, and those advocating for the end of fossil fuels. Both civil society groups passionately underscored the importance of reducing carbon emissions and embracing renewable energy sources. Minister Guilbeault’s commitment extended globally through a $5 million investment in the Least Developed Countries Initiative for Effective Adaptation and Resilience (LIFE-AR), empowering countries to build climate resilience. Internationally, Canada doubled its climate finance commitment to $5.3 billion, focusing on the clean energy transition, coal phase-out, climate-smart agriculture, and governance. Domestically, the National Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan outlined over 70 actions, reinforcing Canada’s dedication to a resilient future. The $16 million contribution to a global fund addressing loss and damage showcased Canada’s commitment on the world stage. The Partnership Compact for the Least Developed Countries (LDC) 2050 Vision aligned Canada with other nations in supporting the LDC Initiative for Effective Adaptation and Resilience (LIFE-AR).

As urgency mounts, attention turns to Canada’s commitment to credibility and concretization in the upcoming Climate Action Plan. The global community looks to Canada’s leadership for tangible actions in addressing the triple crises of climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss from both government and civil society perspectives.

Voices of Resilience: Climate Action Advocacy at Expo City

On December 8 at Expo City, several adaptation Civil Societies voiced their concerns. The African Adaptation NGO from Uganda, among others, highlighted the resilience of African communities, emphasizing their ability to sustain livelihoods, educate children, and maintain rural settlements through organic culture. Embracing the impactful message ‘Save Africa, Save the Congo Forest,’ this platform underscores the imperative to preserve both the environment and the intertwined cultural heritage.