The UAE has selected 100 youth delegates from around the globe to help shape the debate at Cop28 in Dubai later this year.
The team of eco ambassadors, three-quarters of whom are drawn from developing nations, will help ensure young voices are heard during crunch talks aimed at protecting the planet for future generations.
The formation of the first class of the International Youth Climate Delegate Programme was announced during a Youth Stocktake session held at the Bonn Climate Change Conference in Germany, Wam reported on Friday.
Shamma Al Mazrui, Minister of Community Development and Cop28 Youth Climate Champion, and Razan Al Mubarak, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for Cop28, and Simon Stiell, executive secretary of the Official Children and Youth Constituency of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change also attended the event along with other climate campaigners and young people.
The UAE has sought to ensure young people are at the heart of decision-making at the Cop28 conference, which will be held from November 30 to December 12.
"Through this Youth Stocktake, we will identify the gaps for youth inclusion and build on efforts to enhance access, capacity and resources for young people,” said Dr Sultan Al Jaber, President-designate of the Cop28 summit
“Within the Cop28 team, nearly 70 percent of our negotiators are under the age of 35.
"The Cop28 Presidency and the Youth Climate Champion are committed to supporting and enabling greater access for youth especially from underrepresented communities through key initiatives such as the International Youth Climate Delegates Programme.”
Dr Al Jaber first revealed in March that the Emirates planned to sponsor 100 youth delegates to attend the event.
The group is comprised of 74 young people from least developed and small island developing nations in the Middle East and North Africa, the wider African continent, North and South America, Asia and Oceania.
The cohort, 56 of whom are female, includes 12 delegates from indigenous populations, 10 from conflict-hit areas and six with disabilities.
For 72 of the participants, this will be their first Cop event.
Emphasis on youth
Ms Al Mazrui outlined the importance of future generations being given a say in decisions that will impact the planet for decades to come.
“Equitable climate action calls for youth to be heard, given access and enabled to contribute to decision-making," she said.
"As we approach Cop28, our vision is clear: each subsequent Cop must surpass its predecessor. The Cop28 International Youth Climate Delegate Programme recognises that youth have a pivotal role to play in the success of Cop28 and climate progress.
“Youth hold the key to our shared future, their passion and innovation ignite change. We are committed to enhancing youth participation within the Cop28 Presidency and the Cop process, strengthening platforms that advance the youth climate agenda, formalising their involvement, relaying and amplifying their voices, and empowering them through capacity building."
Ms Al Mubarak stressed the need for an inclusive approach to addressing pressing climate challenges.
“Success is incumbent on authentic inclusivity," she said.
"Everyone is needed if we are to succeed. We need to deliver for our youth and children by mobilising support for youth-led solutions and ensuring that the non-state actors and the private sector support capacity-building, skills development and green jobs opportunities.”
The Youth Stocktake gathering highlighted improvements being made in youth participation, including the establishment of an annual conference of youth which precedes Cop meetings, and discussed progress being made on the Global Youth Statement, a set of policy proposals agreed to by global youth organisations and plans set out at previous Cop events in Egypt and Glasgow.