Thursday, October 16, 2014

Building the Political Momentum on Climate Change

The Elders
Mary RobinsonDear friends,

A few days before the UN Climate Summit in September, we witnessed the largest-ever climate march in history.

As I stood with fellow marchers in New York City, it was the most hopeful I've felt for our future generations in a long time. Around the world, hundreds of thousands seized the chance to raise their voices: grandparents like myself, indigenous peoples, young people, islanders whose homes are most at risk, elected officials and many more.

This huge and diverse crowd was saying to world leaders: "we want to hear your ambition; we don't want to wait any longer; we are ready for the challenge." They called loud and clear for climate justice and solidarity.

It was such an uplifting sight because our governments' collective response to climate change is not yet what it needs to be. In the months leading up to the COP21, a major summit to be held in Paris in December 2015, world leaders will be negotiating, and we must make the process as participatory as possible.

As UN Special Envoy for Climate Change my role is to help build the political momentum for an ambitious, robust, fair and legally binding agreement that will avert the worst effects of climate change before they are irreversible.

And we must get there before the December 2015 deadline. We must carry forward the spirit of the climate marches. The Elders, for our part, will be pushing and urging all the way. And we must use every single opportunity to rally greater numbers still.

Young leaders taking climate action

Tomorrow, young people from across the globe will gather to do just that.
At the One Young World summit taking place this week in my home country of Ireland, a group of leaders will work with young people to explore innovative ways of empowering the young in the face of global issues.

My fellow Elder Kofi Annan and I will hold a discussion on climate change, answering questions from a live audience of 1,400 young delegates. You can watch the session live and you can tweet us a question now which might get asked at the summit using the hashtag #OYWElders.

The purpose of One Young World is to encourage a sense of global citizenship; I can think of no challenge greater than climate change to show how much this is needed. At every opportunity, we must continue to foster a sense of responsibility and power that ignores national borders.

I hope you can join us. And I hope you will keep up the momentum however you can.
Best wishes,
Mary Robinson

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