Panel “Multilateral solutions for a better tomorrow: the world, the future, youth”

14 March 2024
BIMUN launch event
UNICEF Srbija/2024

Your excellency First Deputy PM Dacic, dear UN colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,  

It is wonderful to see this room full of young people interested to learn about the work of the United Nations. I’m sure this event will give you also the opportunity    to practice the skills of careful listening and dialogue, articulation of compelling arguments, negotiations, conflict resolution and consensus building.  These skills are fundamental to uphold the three pillars of the UN - human rights, peace and security and sustainable development. These skills are crucial for the success of individuals and for building resilient communities.

In the next few days, you will be diving into important topics, and climate change is a decisive one for our future. Climate change has a major and multi-dimensional impact on the health, life, opportunities, and the potential of growth for every child and young people.

This issue is not confined by geographical boundaries. It is affecting children and young people everywhere – even in in high-income countries.

This is not simply a moral assertion. It is a legal commitment embedded in  the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) - the world's most widely ratified human rights treaty and the foundation for UNICEF's work with and for children and adolescents. This Convention, created in 1989 and ratified by 196 states, outlines universal children’s rights such as the right to life, survival and development, and the right to health. And recently the Committee on the Rights of the Child issued a General Comment on children’s rights and climate change.

Children and youth are directly affected by climate change, and they are also acting, claiming their right to a healthy and safe environment, and bringing solutions to the table. And we, UNICEF, support them and empower them.  

As children – you - are the generation that will inherit the consequences of the world’s actions or non-actions today. YOU, worldwide, have been leading the fight against climate change; calling on governments and corporations to take action to protect the planet and your future. It is crucial that you continue to raise your voice, to actively engage in the process, and to provide innovative solutions.  

Young people in Serbia have proven that youth, when provided with the right recourses and tools – are powerful agents of change, at local, national and global level:

At local level:

  • in Užice they have contributed to the increased demand for solutions to improve the energy efficiency of households: by visiting households, they promoted the initiative of the local self-government to access subsidies for changing individual fireplaces.
  • UNICEF Youth4Air ambassadors participated in the consultation processes for developing local policies affecting climate change and air pollution in several cities such as Subotica, Loznica, Priboj, Užice.
  • In more than 30 municipalities, young people have implemented over 25 projects for solving problems and raising awareness about the issue of climate change and air quality in Serbia. Ideas such as an AI model for identifying sources of pollution in Kikinda, bus stops with living green roofs in Zrenjanin, environmental podcasts in Kruševac, a vertical garden in Novi Sad, and others are just some of these creative ideas.

At national and global level Youth4Air Network delivered the First Serbian Youth Declaration on Air Quality after consulting with 1,000 young people.

  • Insights of our youth were channelled to YOUNGO, the official youth group of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. This reinforced youth involvement in global discussions and decision-making processes.
  • Members of our Youth Advisory Board are part of the Youth-Led Action against Climate Change, a joint initiative by UNICEF Headquarters and five country offices from different parts of the world. Partnerships like these highlight how young people in Serbia can be powerful agents of change on all levels when equipped with the right resources.

In the next few days, as you take the role of world leaders, hold these examples at the forefront of your minds. It is not enough to understand the scale of the challenge but to act, to create inclusive, innovative, and sustainable solutions. This applies not only to climate change but in any aspect of your rights.

I wish you good work and much success in your further studies and careers. And my wish is to see you soon at the table for negotiations.

Media contacts

Jadranka Milanovic
Communication Officer
Tel: + 381 11 3602 104
Tel: +381 63 336 283


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