At the United Nations COP25 climate conference in Madrid, the United Nations has said that young people are central to dealing with the climate crisis.

Swedish climate campaigner Greta Thunberg, aged 16, was among a group of young cimate cmapaigners speaking at the start of the second week of the COP25 conference to put pressure on negotiators to come up with a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Countries including co-hosts Spain and Costa Rica joined with Chile and several other countries to put forward a declaration that the climate emergency was a crisis for the rights of children.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said,  “I understand the despair and rage that so many young people.... are feeling. All of us know the facts and so far there has been far too little real action. Children and young people have a right to participate."

Norwegian 15-year old climate activist Penelope Lea was chosen as a Unicef ambassador and is the first climate activist, and the second-youngest person ever to have been given this role.  She has been involved in climate issues since she was eight years old and was elected to the board of Eco-Agents, an environmental organisation for children, at the age of 11.

Over half a billion children live in areas judged to be at high risk of floods as a result of cyclones, hurricanes, rising sea levels and storms.  Over 760,000 children have been displaced by extreme weather events from 2014-18 in the Caribbean alone.

Meanwhile, over 160 million children live in areas badly affected by drought.  Based on current trends, one in four children will live in areas of extreme water stress in the future.

Michelle Bachelet went onto say, "We owe a debt of gratitude to all those millions of children, teenagers and young adults who have been standing up and speaking out more and more loudly about the crisis facing our planet."

Photo:  Hans_Chr/

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