Commonwealth Youth Leaders Collaborate to Address Climate Change

Commonwealth Youth Leaders Collaborate to Address Climate Change

Youths from the fifty-six commonwealth nations are banding together to fight climate change. The Commonwealth Secretariat’s Blue Charter Program is facilitating coordination between youth leaders from commonwealth countries, including Belize, to discuss strategies and interventions to address the effects of climate change. The Commonwealth Secretariat recently held a webinar for youth leaders, which was used to highlight the disproportionate impacts of climate change felt in developing countries as well as Small Island Developing States (SIDS) nations. The webinar, held on August 12, also focused on young people’s pivotal role in shaping a sustainable future. Special guest speaker in the webinar, Her Excellency Therese Rath, High Commissioner of Belize to the United Kingdom encouraged the participants by giving an honest outline of the severity of the problems they are facing and gave her thoughts on how they should go about tackling those problems.

Therese Rath, High Commissioner of Belize: “Today you are living under the thundercloud of existential threat to your homes, your ways of life, and you’re very survival. So many of us in the Commonwealth are experiencing first hand eroding coastlines, devastating droughts and then floods, heat affected corals, decline of marine species and changing marine environments in addition to a barrage of doomsday predictions in the news. Amidst global policies that seem to lumber too slowly to effect urgent change. You have your lives and the future ahead of you and this is the world that you will have to live in. So here are some thoughts to ponder while you keep up at that battle. Don’t let it go, maintain your sanity and foster hope. The Commonwealth is home to 1.5 billion youth, that’s what 60% adds up to. That is an incredible army. Openly share your challenges. Often when you’re from a smaller or developing country and have less experience in a subject you may be hesitant to speak up. Believe this, others are waiting for someone else to make the first move. Don’t focus all your efforts on speaking to the converted in like minded groups and fields that are gathered here today. That is important only for reinforcing your knowledge and to getting comfort when you feel overwhelmed.”

People under the age of thirty make up sixty percent of the total population of the fifty-six commonwealth nations, an estimated one point five billion people. SIDS nations and developing countries contribute less than seven percent of global carbon emissions but are the most affected by erosion, erratic weather patterns, and other issues connected to climate change, making advocacy at all levels a high priority in these countries.

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