Following the 9-day training and meetings organized by the Center for UN Constitutional Research (CUNCR) in Brussels on the 19th and 20th of July, young activists held the conferences from the 22nd to the 26th first in Corfu and then in Epirus where parliamentarians and academics joined young activists in adopting the “Declaration of Epirus.”
There was a total of 53 attendees coming from 28 different countries: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Fiji, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iran, Italy, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mexico, Mozambique, Netherlands, Nigeria, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Syria, Trinidad & Tobago, UK, USA, Uzbekistan,
Climate Democracy is the New Demand of Young Activists. Is it the Key to Solving the Crisis?
The climate crisis has been dominating discourse and media in recent months – we are all becoming more aware of how little time we have to take action, and how serious the repercussions will be if we fail to do so. But too often, the conversation stalls before getting any further – what action should we take? Who should be taking it? How do we ensure it’s actually taken, and hold accountable those who are sabotaging the process? There is nothing to stop any nation from walking away from the Paris Accord, as the US already has, and multinational corporations can commit environmental crimes with impunity. This crisis impacts us all globally, but it is states who have the power. The voices of the people around the world are not heard.
As yet another record-breaking heatwave rolled across Europe, one group of young people decided that they had had enough. Brought together by the independent think tank the Center for United Nations Constitutional Research (CUNCR), they came from every continent – from China to Syria, from Nigeria to Russia, to become Youth Climate Ambassadors – young people who already had a track record of climate activism, and now wanted to learn more about climate governance. This weeklong climate ambassador training was the central focus of CUNCR’s Climate Democracy and Justice Summit in Brussels, Corfu, and Epirus, Greece, from July 17-26. 2019.
The week began with training in Brussels to understand the severity of the current situation – a global governance system that is fragmented and ineffective, relying on the goodwill of national governments, be they democracies or dictatorships, to do the right thing on their own. The then focus turned to potential strategies for improving global governance, and the Ambassadors held a rally calling for “CLIMATE DEMOCRACY NOW,” bringing the attention of locals and tourists to the failures of world leaders to listen to young people’s demands for a better future.
In the Epirus mountains, the Ambassadors drafted a statement of the values and intent of the Summit, the Epirus Declaration. It reads in part, “we demand: the creation of a United Nations parliament representing everyone; an executive to complement this legislature; and, to ensure justice, the creation of a world court with the competency to prosecute environmental crimes, holding states, corporations, other non-state actors and individuals accountable with universal jurisdiction.” They also worked to brainstorm concrete steps to strengthen the movement and spread the word about the importance of strengthening global climate governance, which will be published as the Climate Democracy and Justice Action Plan in the coming days.
Can this summit bring about the changes we need? Perhaps not on its own. However, the Youth Climate Ambassadors have now returned to their homes around the world, and their work has just begun. They now know that there is a path to real justice and real democracy for our planet, and they will not stop until “we the peoples” are empowered to save our planet.
On 24th of July 2019 we planetary citizens, representing all the continents, have gathered to demand representation in global decision-making on challenges, such as the climate crisis, which affect us all. To achieve this we demand: the creation of a United Nations parliament representing everyone; an executive to complement this legislature; and, to ensure justice, the creation of a world court with the competency to prosecute environmental crimes, holding states, corporations, other non-state actors and individuals accountable with universal jurisdiction.
In a world of effective global governance, resources currently dedicated to national security must be redirected to global security, and in particular living sustainably in our planet. It should be a human right to enjoy a healthy environment, and our duty to protect the rights of the environment for the future generations.
As the legitimate forum to achieve these democratic ideals, we urgently demand that the San Francisco Promise be upheld to convene the United Nations Charter review and renewal process.
Let “we the peoples” govern the world!