07 December 2023

Sri Lanka Youth Statement to COP28

We, the youth of Sri Lanka, acknowledge the urgent need for immediate climate action and are dedicated to ensuring our voices are heard at the global level. Our collective statement echoes both local and global imperatives, rooted in our nation's commitment to environmental preservation and sustainable development. We recognize COP28 as an…, 1. Action for Climate Empowerment, Inclusive Climate Education: We firmly believe climate education is the foundation for effective action. We demand to incorporate comprehensive, accessible, and language-inclusive climate education into national curricula. This should be mandatory and encompass topics such as, but not limited to, climate science, climate justice, sustainable…, 2. Adaptation and Resilience, National Adaptation Plans: Sri Lanka must review and realign its National Adaptation Plans, taking into consideration the socio-economic crisis that was faced by the Sri Lankan people. We demand that the National Adaptation Plans be fully aligned with local and global development agendas, incorporating diverse forms of knowledge and participatory…, 3. Markets and Energy, Preserving the 1.5°C Guardrail: As the youth of Sri Lanka, we recognise the urgency of restricting the rise in global temperatures to the 1.5°C threshold. We urge the GoSL and all parties to take a firm stance and bolster local, regional, and international initiatives that promote climate resilience, clean & renewable energy adoption, and…, 4. Nature and Biodiversity, Protected Areas Expansion: Urgent action is needed to conserve critical ecosystems for endemic and endangered species, ensuring protection from encroachment and exploitation. The GoSL must implement robust conservation strategies, engaging local communities and indigenous groups, to safeguard these biodiverse regions for future generations. The…, 5. Ocean and Water, Investment in the Tropical Belt: Recognising the Tropical Belt's pivotal role as a climate modulator and environmental “shield” for the earth, we urge the GoSL to work with Annex 1 parties and secure climate finance for the Tropical Belt. In doing so, the GoSL must enhance sustainable ocean and water management practices, fortify resilience…, 6. Global Stocktake, Enhancing Mitigation Commitments: Recognising the critical misalignment of global emissions with Paris Agreement goals, the GoSL and all parties must elevate ambition. We encourage the GoSL to engage in this year's Global Stocktake meaningfully and raise its ambitions in the successive NDC that will be submitted by 2025. Moreover, stringent…, 7. Loss and Damage, Urgent Need for Financial Resources: Recognising the critical importance of new, additional, and predictable financial resources to aid vulnerable developing countries in addressing both economic and non-economic losses linked to climate change-induced loss and damage, especially in the face of extreme weather events and slow-onset events. We call…, 8. Women and Gender, Meaningful Participation and Representation: We advocate for the meaningful participation of marginalised genders across all levels of climate decision-making. Out of the 110 heads of state and government at COP27 last year, only seven were women. Empowering these voices and ensuring their representation within government bodies is crucial to…, 9. Health and Rights, Human Rights-Based Approach (HRBA) to Climate Action: The Paris Agreement acknowledges in its Preamble ‘the responsibility of the Parties to respect, promote, and consider their respective obligations on human rights, the right to health, the rights of indigenous peoples, local communities, migrants, children, persons with disabilities, and people…, 10. Climate Justice and Finance, Debt Crisis and Climate Risks: We acknowledge the pledge made by Sri Lanka to establish a Climate Justice Forum in coalition with the climate-vulnerable Global South countries. We recognise the urgent need for equitable climate finance and debt relief for countries in the Global South, recalling the disproportionate debt repayment burden on…