Young Cop28 delegates aim to make better world for future generations

Teenagers from around the world gather in Dubai as they seek to influence climate action

Anette Guzman's goal in attending Cop28 is to create a generation of leaders with a vision of change. Photo: Rana Afifi / The National
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Young people from all over the world are attending Cop28 to help build a better tomorrow.

They told The National what they believe it is going to take to win the fight against climate change.

Annette Sanchez Guzman, 18, from Mexico, is part of a UN youth delegation and represents universities from North and Latin America.

She believes it is important for young people to participate at the summit in Dubai, because young adults have a role to play in influencing policy decisions and putting pressure on global leaders to take action.

“I have attended the past three Cops and I have seen this type of youth presence in every single Cop," Ms Guzman said. “We don't have a strong voice at these type of conferences, so I believe that getting involved and having a presence at the beginning is a good start."

She emphasised the importance of not giving up and ensuring world leaders "understand that we are the present and we're also going to be the future".

Technology could be the key

Kaloina Melodie, 19, is representing the UN Population Fund in Madagascar as a young delegate. She is also looking forward to learning more about how technology can aid the fight against climate change.

“We cannot avoid technology-based solutions. We all use technology nowadays," said Ms Melodie, who is studying information technology.

She also plans to use the summit to reveal two apps aimed at educating people about the damage caused by climate change.

Getting the message across

“As a poor country, people [in Madagascar] don’t always prioritise climate change," she said. "They mostly care about how to stay alive and find some money to live. It is hard for them there to be active.

“It's really important for young voices to be heard in Madagascar because 60 per cent of the population are young. The youth needs to be encouraged by doing something concrete."

Jahzara Ona, 19, from Brazil, is representing young people from her community at Sao Paulo. “I live in a community that is affected by floods, so I grew up with social environmental problems,” she said.

“I am here today to find solutions for the loss and damage in my community."

Ms Ona, who is studying geoscience and environmental education, believes her community needs to improve its awareness of the effects of climate change.

“I have a project where I go to schools to talk about climate change with young people and the community, because I think they need to understand what is happening, and how to act on it," she said.

“I really hope we will have a lot of youth participating at Cop30 in Brazil. Taking action in a local perspective is important but it is also important to see it from an international perspective, too.”

Updated: December 08, 2023, 3:00 AM