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Our future, our decisions: young activists call to sit at the climate table

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MILAN (Reuters) – Young activists attending this week’s climate talks in Milan are asking for a table seat at the upcoming UN COP26 summit in Glasgow to have their say in how decisions shape their future is taken.

A combined photo shows climate activists Gyuree Lee from South Korea, Hoor Ahli from the United Arab Emirates, Steven Setiawan from Indonesia, Daniele Guadagnolo from Italy, Mark Muravec from Slovenia, Archana Soreng from India, Kamaal Hassan Adnan from Somaliland , Marie-Claire Graf from Switzerland, Ignacio Villarroya from Argentina, Elizabeth Wathuti from Kenya, Eduarda Zoghbi from Brazil, Jeremy Raguain from Seychelles posing for a photo during the pre-COP26 Youth4Climate conference in Milan, Italy on September 28, 2021. REUTERS / Guglielmo Mangiapane

Thousands of young activists, including Sweden’s Greta Thunberg, converged on Milan this week to make their voices heard and end what she described as “30 years of blah blah blah” in the nearly three decades of talks on the climate.

“What we really want is to be part of the decision-making process so that we can draft the documents, so that we can channel our thoughts into them,” Eduarda Zoghbi, 28, a delegate from Brazil, told Reuters.

On Wednesday, they tabled a list of proposals to be included in the COP26 agenda which will be considered by climate and energy ministers over the coming days.

“Our thoughts should definitely be shared … we are the future generations,” said Hoor Ahli, 16, from the United Arab Emirates.

Their concern is that much has been promised but little done to combat global warming. Those fears were exacerbated by a UN report in August that warned the situation was dangerously close to spiraling out of control.

Glasgow conference aims to get more ambitious climate action from the nearly 200 countries that signed the 2015 Paris Agreement and agreed to try to limit man-made global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“My message to world leaders is that they include young people,” Zoghbi said, adding that each delegate represented the particular challenges countries face as a result of climate change.

Among them, Jeremy Raguain, 27, of Seychelles, who called for more funding for small states, and Acana Soreng, 25, a member of the Kharia tribe in eastern India, who advocated for more rights for communities. indigenous people in the debate.

“We need these views to be reflected in the main texts and we need the leaders to listen to us,” Zoghbi said.

Writing by Agnieszka Flak; Editing by Raïssa Kasolowsky


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