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Youth Activists Unite at COP28: Voices Echoing for Climate Action

The participants of the COP28 in Dubai, who ranged in age from 13 to 25, came together with a same purpose in mind.

Bringing together a diverse cohort from around the globe ages 13 to 25, the participants of COP28 in Dubai converged with an unwavering goal: amplifying their collective voice to combat climate change. 

As state negotiators deliberated over the ‘UAE Consensus’ to maintain the 1.5-degree C goal, more than 100 young activists rallied outside, demanding urgent climate action.

Courage Amidst Advocacy:

Their resolve was anchored in a collective aspiration to mitigate the dire results of climate change and pave the way for a sustainable future. 

With impassioned speeches, chants, and songs, these young activists rallied under banners proclaiming, “Fossil fuel has to go!” and sang anthems calling for an end to reliance on fossil fuels.

Stories of Determination:

Among the genuine activists was Maria Reyes, 21, from Mexico, emphasizing their role as ‘noise makers’ and ‘policymakers.’ 

Maria, whose upbringing was marred by a water crisis in her village, has since become an ardent advocate. Her grassroots work and affiliation with the Fridays for Future movement spurred her activism, connecting water scarcity to environmental exploitation.

Youth at the Forefront of Change:

For 13-year-old Jakob Sande Haugset from Norway, the climate crisis resonates as a child rights crisis. 

His poignant encounter with a girl from South Sudan deprived of education due to climate-induced flooding underscores the vulnerability of children in the face of climate change. 

Jakob and fellow young activists press the Norwegian government to reassess its fossil fuel expansion plans.

Voices from Vulnerable Regions:

Ayisha Siddiqa, a 24-year-old Pakistani-American youth adviser to the UN secretary-general, reflects on Pakistan’s devastating floods, attributing them to climate change-induced phenomena. 

Her advocacy at COP28 amplifies the voices of the Global South, advocating for urgent climate action. 

The summit yielded a positive outcome by establishing the Loss and Damage Fund, aiming to help vulnerable communities affected by climate-related disasters.

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