SPEECH AS DELIVERED:
“Honorable leaders of all nations, distinguished guests, my fellow children and young people, and all others here today.
“My name is Getrude Clement. I am sixteen years old. I come from Mwanza Tanzania in East Africa.
“But today I am standing before you to represent children and young people all over the world.
“Climate change poses a big problem for the entire planet.
“But children – especially the poorest and most vulnerable – feel most of its effects.
“Now and in the future.
“Climate change threatens our lives, our health and our education.
“You might think that we are too young to know about the risks and realities of climate change.
“But we see the effects in our daily lives.
“As young people, the future is ours but this is not the future we want for ourselves.
“But we are not just sitting by watching our communities suffer. We are leading our communities in taking action, standing up and speaking out about the issues we see.
“I am part of an international group of young reporters, who have been documenting the negative effects of climate change and positive actions to mitigate the effects.
“In Tanzania we visited many places in our community spoke to citizens about climate change and environmental pollution.
“I visited a place at Ghana Street where people sell fruits and vegetables next to a dumping site.
“We also learned about children who have difficulty going to school safely because of flooding.
“We post stories like these on a digital map so people around the world can learn about our experiences.
“We also report the issues on our live radio and TV programmes.
“I am one young girl standing before you today, but I am not alone.
“We expect more than words on paper and promises.
“We expect action. Action on a big scale.
“And we expect action today, not tomorrow.
“I expect to return to Tanzania and tell my fellows that the future is ours and the future is bright.
“Asante sana. Thank you very much.”
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF Tanzania and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/tanzania.