Launch of Youth Climate Action Network (YCAN) of Samoa - Remarks by Ms Lizbeth Cullity, Mt Vaea ReserveFeb 3, 2016
It is a great pleasure to be here today to celebrate the launching of the Youth Climate Action Network (YCAN) of Samoa.
Today’s generation of young people is the largest the world has ever known. One in evey three people around the world is under the age of thirty and in this time of great turbulence, the lives of youth are affected by a variety challenges…unemployment, inequality, the devastating impact of natural disasters and climate change to mention a few.
In Pacific Islands Countries, the impact of climate change on young people is profound rendering youth particularly vulnerable. The use of fossil fuels, deforestation and unsustainable agriculture all contribute to climate change, which decreases the availability of nutritious food and clean water, and destroys ecosystems and secure living environments.
Luckily, youth seems to have an increasingly strong social and environmental awareness, which has the power to transform our societies towards a low-carbon and climate resilient future.
2015 was a watershed year for young people. Thanks to the most inclusive consultations ever undertaken by the United Nations and its Member States, young people’s concerns and ideas about the future of our planet have been reflected in the new Sustainable Development Goals.
When given the opportunity, young people show their leadership and power for transformational change. The implementation of the new development agenda needs the energy, ideas and commitment of young people and they are better placed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
As the UN Secretary General Ban Ki moon said: “Young people are no longer just the future, but they are the partners of today and tomorrow”.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) recognizes the key role that youth play in tackling climate change, in being part of the solution, and therefore works closely with youth-led and youth-focused organizations around the world. UNDP fully supports the engagement of youth with sustainable development and is committed to partnering with young men and women who want to shape a better future.
Last year, through the Small Grants Programme, UNDP supported the organization of the South-South Sub Regional Youth Conference on Climate Change and also the coordination of the SIDS Youth Side Event at the COP21 in Paris which resulted in this Joint Youth Agreement.
We are aware of the tremendous impact that such initiatives can generate at community level and for the society at large but we also know that more efforts need to be done to ensure that youth voices are heard.
Lastly, I would like to say that the official launching of YCAN makes us feel very proud and we look forward to seeing the impact of your projects and celebrating with you the fruits of your hard work.