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At a glance: Denmark

At Copenhagen conference, using music to combat climate change

© UNICEF Denmark/2009/Donovan
At the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, FAO Goodwill Ambassador Anggun (left) and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Angélique Kidjo join young UNICEF Climate Ambassadors from eight countries to discuss 'Music and Building Bridges'.

By Kate Donovan

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, 7 December 2009 – As the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009 formally opened here today, eight newly named UNICEF 'Climate Ambassadors', aged 14 to 17, launched a dialogue on how music bridges generational and cultural divides in the fight to stop climate change.

Their special guests were two renowned musicians, Angélique Kidjo and Anggun, Goodwill Ambassadors from UNICEF and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), respectively.

"Music is a universal language, and the environment is a universal place for every human being," said Ms. Kidjo. "I've travelled around the world with my music and I've seen the power of music bringing everybody together despite language, color – despite the culture where we come from."

Protecting the planet

Several of the young people agreed with Ms. Kidjo about the urgent need for more allies in the climate change struggle.

© UNICEF Denmark/2009/Aaen
FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf (far left), UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Angélique Kidjo (third from left) and FAO Goodwill Ambassador Anggun (fifth from left) join UNICEF Climate Ambassadors at a news conference in Copenhagen.

Mohamed Axam Maumoonax"I believe that some bridges have been built through the Children's Climate Forum. When I get back home, I will ensure that I engage entertainers, my friends and my family so that we can engage in the fight," said Kondwani Banda, 17, of Zambia.

The children's forum mentioned by Kondwani was held in Copenhagen last week. At the forum, about 160 young people from 44 countries negotiated and finalized a Climate Declaration on protecting the planet from the impact of climate change.

In the process, they deepened their knowledge of climate issues and practical applications for making real change at the local level. They also established a social network to better stay in touch and share lessons with each other.

Accomplished youth activists

FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf noted at today's news conference that young people are the motivators of change in their local communities.

For their part, the Climate Ambassadors are all accomplished activists in their home countries. In addition to Kondwani, youth participants in this morning's panel included Toriqul Momen, 15, of Bangladesh; Darwin Peña, 17, of Bolivia; Marie Moïse Louissaint, 16, of Haiti; Lourine Oyodah, 15, of Kenya; Mohamed Axam Maumoon, 15, of the Maldives; Khadidiatou Diop, 17, of Senegal; and Cindy Makhubedi, 16, of South Africa.
"You go around and you look in your country at things that have changed and ... disappeared because of climate change," said Ms. Kidjo. "We are going to touch people by showing them this. By example, we are going to change their minds."




Children's lives are disproportionately affected by climate change, but children are also our best hope for stopping it.
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