Hej kära läsare! Detta inlägg är ett gäst-blogginlägg av en av de personer som fick en av PUSH Sveriges ”badges” (brickor/ platser) till COP25, och därför skrivet på engelska. Trevlig läsning! 🙂
Hi, I’m Veronica and I’m member of Swiss Youth for Climate, a Swiss youth association founded in 2015 that aims to promote pragmatic and responsible climate policies both nationally and internationally and to raise public awareness of major environmental issues. This year, thanks to PUSH Sweden, I had the opportunity to take part in COP25. Here are some thoughts about my experience at this COP, concluded one week ago, which failed to tackle the climate crisis with the emergency that would be required.
We, as the Swiss Youth for Climate delegation, coined a new term to describe what we experienced at COP25 in Madrid: the ‘youth-washing’.
As never before, in the last year, the voices of the young generations, those who will suffer the most from climate change, called upon the governments of the whole world for stronger climate action. This led to a great participation at the COP by youth.
In the numerous side events organised by the UNFCCC at the climate conference, politicians, public figures and UN representatives did not miss the opportunity to praise the commitment of the youth and to urge them to continue fighting against climate change. Every high-profile personality made sure to leave COP with a picture figuring some famous youth activists. However, a real inclusion of youth substantially lacked: we assisted to youth-engagement panels which did not have a single young person on the stage and inside the closed negotiation rooms, these words were not transformed into actions safeguarding the future of these generations. Emblematic is for example what happened during a High level event in which a group of Fridays For Future and indigenous rights activists, exhausted by the lack of real inclusion, conquered the stage of the main plenary, on which Greta Thunberg just had spoken, to protest under the motto of “We are watching you”. Protected by numerous cameras pointing at them, there to broadcast Greta’s words, the action was tolerated, and the UNFCCC’s Instagram account even took advantage of the situation by sharing a picture of what was happening commenting “Special #COP25 event on the #ClimateEmergency”. The action was, however, unauthorized and not at all foreseen as “special event” of the plenary. A similar protest, not recorded by cameras, happened just few hours later just outside the plenary, but in that case, the reaction of UNFCCC was much different: the protesters were first forcefully pushed out of the conference centre, then the access to the venue was denied to all civil observers for the rest of the day.
Those are just some of the examples that clearly underline how the distance between the demands of the civil society and the actions of our governments is greater than ever before.
I really hope that the sense of inadequacy of our political bodies, reflected in the outcome of this COP, will give renewed energy to the young generations to continue to take over the streets and ask for climate justice, since there is still a long and arduous way to go.