Date: 05 Nov 2021
Category: Climate and biodiversity
Belfast Lord Mayor Councillor Kate Nicholl will join young people from across Northern Ireland at a Youth Summit event focusing on climate change at City Hall today.
Coinciding with COP26 Youth Day, the summit will bring some of Northern Ireland’s young leading climate change advocates together to discuss and share ideas on how best to tackle the global emergency.
Lord Mayor, Councillor Kate Nicholl said: “Hearing from our city’s young people, the next generation, is crucial in this ongoing battle against climate change. It is increasingly recognised that our younger generation have an important role to play in climate change governance as ultimately, they are the voice of the future.
Councillor Nicholl will join a panel discussion at the Youth Summit event with Minister for Infrastructure Nichola Mallon MLA and Koulla Yiasouma, NI Commissioner for Children and Young People.
Co-ordinated and chaired by the Belfast Climate Commission Youth Working Group, the panel discussion will focus on findings of a recent survey asking young people aged 13-24 for their views on the climate crisis.
“The global youth population in Northern Ireland is large and growing and if young people are properly involved in the decisions that affect their lives, they can help to shape a greener, more sustainable Belfast. I hope to take some of the youth energy and determination from the Youth Summit with me as I travel to COP26 next week on behalf of the city.”
Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon said: “The activism of our young people is inspiring when it comes to driving the campaign to end the climate emergency. I was delighted to be asked to participate in the summit today and I am looking forward to hearing the positive changes young people are making towards saving our planet.
“I will be attending a number of events at COP26 next week which will give me a chance to raise some of the issues I will hear today on a global stage. Our young people are the future, and we must listen to them and crucially we must act now to ensure we have a greener, cleaner planet for them and many generations after them. We all have a role to play before it is too late.”
Koulla Yiasouma, NI Commissioner for Children and Young People, said: “A key part of my role is challenging government and statutory agencies to hear directly from children and young people when they are making decisions. This is most crucial when considering climate change and environmental degradation.
“While children and young people are a key group in society right now, they also represent the future to us. They will be living with the consequences of our action – and inaction – for longer than any other age group. They will also have to explain to future generations, those coming after us, about how we responded to the crisis we have created.
“As we consider the debates at COP26 and follow up actions, children and young people must be at the heart of decision-making, and of holding governments to account both internationally and back home in Northern Ireland.”
Chair of Belfast Climate Commission Youth Working Group Maria Aaroy spoke about her involvement in the Youth Summit event and said: “ We devised the survey in order to explore young peoples’ views and opinions across a range of issues associated with climate change and it is clear from the findings that time is of the essence. Young people want action now and having the opportunity to speak directly to the panel today and influence them on future decisions will be very empowering.”
Belfast Climate Commission Youth Working Group is part of Belfast Climate Commission.
Belfast Climate Commission is co-chaired by Belfast City Council and Queen’s University and plays a key role in place-based climate action, necessary to achieve the UK Government’s target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.
For more information on climate change and Belfast’s involvement in COP26 visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/climate-change