North Macedonia makes global pledge to uphold climate priorities identified by children and youth

President Pendarovski signed the Intergovernmental Declaration on Children, Youth and Climate Action

23 December 2021
President Pendarovski, Minister Nuredini, UNICEF Representative and young people in front of President's Vila
Cabinet of the President

Skopje, 23 December 2021: President Stevo Pendarovski signed the Intergovernmental Declaration on Children, Youth and Climate Action today as part of the Open Cabinet activity. North Macedonia is the first country from UNICEF programme countries in Europe and Central Asia region to sign the Declaration. By signing the declaration North Macedonia has pledged to uphold priorities identified by children and youth on climate action.

Young activists who took part in the Youth Climate Summit in Skopje, Minister of Environment and Physical Planning Naser Nuredini, and UNICEF Representative Patrizia DiGiovanni all attended the signing of the Declaration.

A thematic discussion was held to mark the occasion, including the impressions from this year’s Climate Change Summit COP26 held in Glasgow, activities being currently undertaken by the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning, next steps at the national level, as well as the President’s legal competences and responsibilities in the domain of climate change.

During the discussion young activists expressed interest in the measures being undertaken to protect forests, reduce and prevent waste, improve air quality, and discussed opportunities for expanding their inclusion in decision-making and policy design processes related to climate change.

President Pendarovski welcomed the enthusiasm of young people and stressed that this Declaration reminds us that one of the main motives for dealing with climate change is children and young people, i.e. their right to a safe climate and a healthy environment. “We must create space for young people as the most informed and digitized generation to be involved in tackling environmental issues and expressing their views on climate policy”, he said, adding that raising public awareness and educating young people is particularly important, which requires integration of the climatic and ecological aspects in the National Education Strategy, i.e. in the curricula.

Minister Nuredini shared the national climate ambitions and encouraged young people to actively participate in the adoption of the first Law on Climate Action, which will legally pave the path to carbon neutrality in the country. The Minister also called on young people to be active and loud to be heard, recognizing them as a driving and motivating force for building a climate-resistant state.

UNICEF Representative Patrizia DiGiovanni welcomed the signing of the Declaration and pointed out that this document demonstrates the countries’ commitments to take into account the needs, rights, and perspectives of children and young people when it comes to climate change policies at all levels.

‘The signing of the Declaration is an important milestone from the Youth Climate Summit where we listened to young people, their concerns, and calls to action for environmental protection. At the same time, it demonstrates the enormous capacity of children and youth to be powerful agents of change,’ said DiGiovanni and added that the climate crisis is also a children's rights crisis.

North Macedonia joined some thirty countries from around the world to sign the Intergovernmental Declaration on Children, Youth and Climate Action, adopted at the Climate Change Summit in Madrid in 2019.

One of the aims of the Declaration is to expand participation by children and youth in the climate change mitigation and adaptation processes through more education about climate change and the environment, as well as acquisition of knowledge and skills required to protect themselves and contribute to a safe and sustainable future.

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