Young climate champion urges Cop28 president to ensure children's voices are heard

Licypriya Kangujam, 11, met Dr Sultan Al Jaber at a conference in Berlin this week

Climate activist Licypriya Kangujam met Dr Sultan Al Jaber, President-designate of Cop28, at the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue conference this week. Photo: Licypriya Kangujam / Twitter
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An 11-year-old climate champion has urged Dr Sultan Al Jaber, President-designate of Cop28, to ensure children's voices are heard in the global campaign to safeguard the planet.

Licypriya Kangujam, from India, has travelled the world on a mission to effect change she first started at the age of six.

She met Dr Al Jaber at the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue conference this week.

The determined activist said she called on Dr Al Jaber to "make sure to give larger space to children at the upcoming Cop28".

"Children's voices must be represented by real children, not by youths or adults. Our voices matters," she wrote on Twitter.

Cop28 will be held at Expo City Dubai from November 30 to December 12.

Organisers said they welcomed the support of young campaigners such as Licypriya in their quest to provide a platform for better future for all in Dubai later this year.

"Climate change poses a major threat to humanity, especially our children, with impacts on their health, nutrition, education & future opportunities," the Cop28 team wrote on Twitter in response to Licypriya's plea.

"Cop28 welcomes the views of young climate champions, like 11-year-old Licypriya Kangujam, as we seek to drive inclusive climate action."

Dr Al Jaber has already made clear the UAE's intention to ensure young people are at the heart of the crucial climate summit.

The country is set to sponsor 100 international youth delegates to attend the global gathering.

It will prioritise those from the least developed countries, small island developing states, indigenous peoples and other minority groups from across the world.

“I am excited to announce the International Youth Climate Delegate Programme for Cop28,” said Dr Al Jaber at an event held earlier this month at Expo City Dubai to set out the road to Cop28.

“This initiative will give a special focus to least developed countries and small island states. And it will give all participants the training, resources and opportunity to advocate on behalf of their countries and communities.

“We may not know what the future holds ─ but we know who holds the future. It is you — our young people.”

Spreading climate message to the world

Dr Al Jaber's visit to Berlin was the latest stop on his global listening tour – a series of international visits to engage with and listen to the views of partners from governments, the private sector, civil society and international organisations.

During the trip, he held talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

"They discussed strengthening the strategic UAE -German relationship and co-operation on energy and transformative climate action in the lead-up to Cop28," the official Cop28 Twitter account stated.

The UAE and Germany signed a landmark agreement in September aimed at accelerating joint efforts to boost energy security, decarbonisation and combat climate change.

The major deal was struck in the presence of President Sheikh Mohamed and Mr Scholz, during his visit to the Emirates.

Dr Al Jaber has raised the alarm over the vital need to accelerate efforts to achieve key climate goals.

“The world is losing the race to keep temperatures from rising 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels,” Dr Al Jaber said during the Berlin conference, referring to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report issued this month.

“We have a small window of opportunity to make a massive course correction. There is still time but we must act now and we must act together, and we must anchor our response with a rapid, well managed and just energy transition.”

Cop28 will bring together heads of state, finance and business leaders, and members of civil society, to take stock of what has been achieved since the Paris Agreement of 2015.

Updated: March 31, 2023, 11:40 AM