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"Show that you are prepared to listen to the youth" - voices from high-level youth event at COP26

Youth from around the world gathered on 10 November 2021, online and at the UN Climate Conference in Glasgow (COP26), to officially launch the Youth Task Force for Stockholm+50.

The Youth Task Force.

Stockholm+50, which will be held in June 2022,, marks 50 years since the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment, which led to the foundation of environmental ministries around the world, and created a host of global environmental agreements.

“You (the youth) must know there are others before you that have pushed, the fact that we have cleaner air and cleaner water is because of the work of the past 50 years,” said Inger Andersen, the Executive Director of UNEP, “Today when we know that what we do now will forever set the path and the trajectory of earth, that responsibility is an awesome and a frightening responsibility at the same time.”

Youth will play an important part in the Stockholm+50 meeting where leaders will drive action to achieve sustainable development for the well-being of current and future generations. Not only will the meeting reflect on the achievements of the last fifty years but it will set a path moving forward in order to overcome the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss and pollution.

“We can’t work alone, we don’t have enough power to make that happen,” said Per Bolund, the Minister for Environment and Climate and the Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden, “We need your help, to hear your voices. We need to get the voices of young people in the room.”

The launch of the Youth Task Force drew participation from across the world including Afghanistan, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“My hope is engagement for the youth,” said Jin Tinaka, a member of the Stockholm+50 Youth Task Force, “The Youth Task Force are wanting to provide a safe space for youth organisation and action.”

This feeling was echoed by Amanda Bjrksell, a member of The National Council of Swedish Youth Organisations. “Including the youth is democracy,” Bjrksell said, “We need to be included…What we saw in Stockholm in 1972 required bravery. We need to see the bravery in Stockholm 50 years later. We need you to show that you are prepared to listen to the youth.”

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