More countries affirm commitment to Declaration on Children, Youth and Climate Action during Bulgaria-UNICEF event at COP28
Bulgarian government and UNICEF unite European countries at #COP28
DUBAI, 8 December 2023 – Countries from across Europe and Central Asia affirmed their commitment to accelerating inclusive, child and youth-centered climate policies and action at a UNICEF - Bulgaria event on the Youth, Children and Skills Day at COP28.
Young people and leaders from across Europe and Central Asia attended a UNICEF and Government of Bulgaria co-hosted event on the Declaration on Children, Youth and Climate Action.
During the high level panel, co-hosted by Mr Julian Popov, Bulgarian Minister of Environment and Waters and by Mrs. Kitty van der Heijden, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director, measures and best practices of the implementation of the Declaration were shared by young people (from Bulgaria, Spain, Albania, Romania and Turkiye), Mrs. Dubravka Šuica, Vice-president of the European Commission, Commissioner for Demography and Democracy, Mrs. Zakia Khattabi, Minister for Climate, Environment, Sustainable Development and Green Deal, Belgium (upcoming EU Presidency) and Mrs. Ann Skelton, Chair of UN Committee of the Rights of the Child.
Following the panel, Mrs. Anna Lührmann, German Minister for State of Europe and Climate and Yevhenii Fedorenko, Ukraine Deputy Minister for European Integration announced that Germany and Ukraine are also signing the Declaration, joining more than 40 other signatories globally, including Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, The Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Sweden, Slovenia, Spain and Uzbekistan from Europe and Central Asia. Dutch Ambassador for Youth, Education and Work made interventions from the floor.
“Making this commitment is a critical first step, and we encourage governments to also operationalize it. UNICEF stands ready to assist them in this task. My appeal today is for signatories of the Declaration to translate their commitments into action and for countries that have not yet signed the Declaration to do so.”, said Kitty van der Heijden, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director.
“It is encouraging to see growing momentum behind the Declaration. It shows an acknowledgement that children and young people, who are the least responsible for climate change, are carrying the heaviest burden of its impacts.”, said Christina de Bruin, UNICEF representative in Bulgaria.
“European Union Youth Strategy guides youth policy cooperation across Europe. Out of the 11 European Youth Goals, one is specifically dedicated to achieving a ‘Sustainable Green Europe” and seeks to empower young persons to be environmentally active, informed, and impactful in their daily lives.”, said Mrs. Dubravka Šuica, Vice-president of the European Commission, Commissioner for Demography and Democracy.
“Earlier this year, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child issued a new General Comment, Comment 26 to the CRC on children’s rights and the environment with a special focus on climate change. We urge all Governments to implement this landmark guidance and to take action to protect children in the face of the climate crisis.” - Ann Skelton, Chair of UN Committee of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
“We appeal to world leaders to place children and young people at the center of the climate agenda, to actively include them in discussions, initiatives and policies addressing climate issues. We need to be given a platform so those in power hear our voices. We need to be part of the solution,” said Denis Urumov, Bulgarian youth climate activist.
“We are deeply committed to implement the Declaration of children, youth and climate action with the Bulgarian government and what we were discussing with my colleagues is the importance of science education. But I can promise you today that my next step is to bring the Declaration on the agenda of the next Environment Ministers meeting at the Council of the European Union for discussion.”, said Mr. Julian Popov, Minister of Environment and Waters.
UNICEF is calling all governments across the region to sign and implement the Declaration on Children, Youth and Climate action to accelerate effective climate policies.
Notes to editors:
The Declaration on Children, Youth and Climate Action is the first-of-its-kind commitment to accelerate inclusive, child and youth-centered climate policies and action at national and global levels. It was launched by governments and young people in Madrid at COP25.
For more information visit: https://www.unicef.org/environment-and-climate-change/climate-declaration
UNICEF works in some of the world's toughest places, to reach the world's most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.