Two youth representatives from the 9th UNESCO Youth Forum were selected to participate in COP21 from 30 November to 11 December to ensure that youth voices from the forum were taken in board at this game-changing environmental conference.
The 9th UNESCO Youth Forum – Young Global Citizens for a Sustainable Planet – brought together almost 500 people from 159 member states to discuss issues on climate change and the post-2015 Sustainable Development agenda. At the end of the Forum, the youth participants drafted a series of recommended actions, to be presented at events ranging from COP21, to the UNESCO General Conference, to the Conference on Youth. The aim of these recommendations is to ensure that youth voices continue to be heard in international forums. This was particularly important at COP21, given the long-term impact of decisions made, which will affect future generations most of all.
Throughout the two weeks of COP21, Nasha Ayelen Cuello, from Argentina, and Rogie Aquino, from Philippines, presented the forum’s recommendations at several high-level events including the Intergenerational Inquiry, UNESCO Pavilion, the Climate change innovators session and the UN Youth Booth.
These recommendations include working with young people to develop intercontinental social innovation incubators to tackle pressing climate change issues, as well as the implementation of education programs to promote better understanding of the issues around sustainable development.
One of the most important recommendations presented at COP21 was that the climate should be regarded as cultural heritage, and that countries must recognize the importance of the role of the environment in preserving local knowledge and culture.