People before profits. Our livelihoods depend on it.

22 June 2019

Intergenerational equity is reflected within the preamble of the Paris Agreement, and as such, young people are allowed to participate within the UNFCCC negotiating space. But this participation and acknowledgement has and will continue to be silenced if the presence of big polluting businesses continues within the UN climate negotiating space. 

The dominant presence of those most responsible for the climate crisis not only results in the suppression of the voices of youth, but also those of indigenous peoples, women, and other marginalised groups. To protect these groups and the integrity of the negotiations, young people believe that we desperately need a Conflicts of Interest policy. 

The well-financed, well-organised, and deliberate attempts by these big polluters to interfere in the policy making processes are very prominent here at SB50 and in the UNFCCC. So much so, that it has created a space where the irrationality of having those who profit from the climate crisis, here at the UNFCCC, is no longer coming into question.

So far in the Arrangement of Intergovernmental Meetings (AIM negotiations), where this issue could be discussed, we”ve seen non-party stakeholder contributions being pushed to later sessions and witnessed the calls for a policy on conflicts of interest by Climate Justice Now, the Women & Gender constituency, the Indigenous Peoples Organisation and YOUNGO being met with complete disregard by parties. 

It has never been more necessary for young people to stand up for ourselves, in solidarity with others, to demand that the protection of our earth be taken seriously. We have no vested interests here and most of us are losing money by being here. Our mandate is clear, and our aims are untainted. We will keep working until we create a space for genuine, ambitious climate policy that protects people, not polluters. 

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