More countries affirm commitment to Declaration on Children, Youth and Climate Action during Bulgaria-UNICEF event at COP28

08 December 2023

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 Bulgaria-UNICEF event on the Youth, Children and Skills Day at COP28.

Young people from Bulgaria and Spain and leaders from across Europe and Central Asia shared knowledge and discussed best practices for implementing the Declaration on Children, Youth and Climate Action.

Opened by Julian Popov, Minister of Environment and Waters of Bulgaria and Kitty van der Heijden, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director, the high-level panel saw interventions from , Dubravka Šuica, Vice-president of the European Commission, Commissioner for Demography and Democracy, Zakia Khattabi, Belgium Minister for Climate, Environment, Sustainable Development and Green Deal, Anna Lührmann, German Minister for State of Europe and Climate, and Ann Skelton, Chair of UN Committee of the Rights of the Child.

Yevhenii Fedorenko, Ukraine Deputy Minister for European Integration and Jurriaan Middelhoff, Dutch Ambassador for Youth, Education and Work made interventions from the floor.

During the discussion, representatives from Germany and Ukraine committed to sign 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.

“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 Regina De Dominicis, UNICEF Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia.

“Signing the Declaration is a critical first step, but it must be operationalized to have any impact. UNICEF is supporting governments to scale up and accelerate investment in child- and youth-responsive adaptation, disaster risk reduction and mitigation measures, involve children and young people in climate change actions and build their capacity so they can be part of the solutions."

UNICEF urges all Member States across the region to sign and implement the Declaration on Children, Youth and Climate and calls for the Declaration to be placed on the agenda of the next Environment Ministers meeting at the Council of the European Union for discussion.

“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.

UNICEF works across the region with governments and partners to adapt and strengthen existing systems that children rely on – including education, social protection and health care – to ensure services can withstand and respond to the effects of climate change and mitigate the risks.

###

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 

Media contacts

Boryana Gidikova
Communication Officer
UNICEF Bulgaria
Tel: +359 893 52 52 40
Georgina Diallo
UNICEF Europe and Central Asia
Tel: +41 76 320 68 14

About UNICEF

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.    

For more information about UNICEF and its work, visit: www.unicef.org/eca 

Follow UNICEF on X (Twitter), Facebook, Instagram, YouTube