Climate statement from operators working with children and young people
Young people must be heard and their concerns about climate change need to be taken seriously!
Alongside other operators working with children and young people, we have signed a climate statement that demands younger generations to be included in decision-making regarding climate policy.
Climate change is threatening the entire human race and all life on our planet as we know it. Since most world leaders have been unable to lead the charge in the face of the climate crisis, children and young people have done so through activism. Among the most important things at stake is the future of younger generations.
Finland is currently revising its Climate Change Act which determines the general course of the country’s long-term climate policy and the system to be used to prepare the climate measures. Young people have been invited to take part in the preparations extensively, and they have used the opportunity.
Last year, the Young People’s Agenda 2030 group and the UN Youth association prepared a statement (link) with 50 other youth organisations demanding that the Climate Act oblige decision-makers to listen to young people. Many important arguments that support listening to young people were recorded in the explanatory statement of the draft bill. However, the suggestion made by youth operators to amend the actual text of the Act to ensure that young people are heard was not taken into account.
Children and young people have been provided with nothing more than lukewarm promises about their concerns being heard. Unfortunately, current decision-makers cannot make such promises on behalf of their successors. The Climate Change Act must unambiguously oblige decision-makers to listen to children and young people for these promises to be fulfilled.
We the undersigned demand the following:
1) Decision-makers must commit to listening to children and young people with regard to decisions relating to climate policy.
The explanatory statement of the bill and the preparations recognised children and young people as a key group to be heard in climate matters. However, the intentions of current decision-makers do not guarantee that children and young people will be listened to in future terms. Decision-makers must commit to hearing children and young people in the planning and implementation phases of climate-related decision-making.
2) A climate committee for young people must be established.
Alongside listening to children and young people extensively, a group is needed to represent them. The Government must establish an independent young people’s climate committee with young people as its members to support the planning of climate policy and related decision-making. An obligation to listen to the committee and a right for the committee to comment on decisions must be recorded in legislation. The committee must be heard every time when setting and reporting on legislative goals or indicators and when amending the legislation.
3) The Climate Change Act must secure the rights of children, young people and future generations.
We find that it is important for the Climate Change Act to promote fairness in climate actions. In our opinion, the Act should also consider fairness from a generational point of view. The Act should secure the rights of children, young people and future generations.. Persons younger than 18 cannot influence matters through voting under the representative democracy. Climate change is jeopardising a wide range of children’s rights, such as the right to life, development, health, education, sufficient standard of living and native culture. Children’s rights only apply to persons under the age of 18, but human rights apply young people equally – e.g. the right to life, liberty and personal security as well as financial, social and education-related rights. The climate crisis threatens these and other rights in ways that older generations will not be around to witness.
Suomen nuorisoalan kattojärjestö Allianssi
Barnavårdsföreningen i Finland r.f.
Fridays For Future Suomi
Itä-Suomen Yliopiston Ylioppilaskunta
Jyväskylän yliopiston ylioppilaskunta
Karjalazet Nuoret Suomes
Lasten ja nuorten keskus ry
Lääkärin sosiaalinen vastuu ry
Parasta Lapsille ry
Pelastakaa Lapset ry
Plan International Suomi
Plan Suomen lastenhallitus
Suomen Ammattiin Opiskelevien Liitto – SAKKI ry
Suomen lastenkulttuurikeskusten liitto
Suomen Lukiolaisten Liitto
Suomen Nuorisovaltuustojen Liitto
Suomen Opiskelija-Allianssi – OSKU ry
Suomen opiskelijakuntien liitto – SAMOK ry
Suomen Partiolaiset – Finlands Scouter ry
Suomen World Vision
Suomen yhteiskunta-alan ylioppilaat ry
Suomen ylioppilaskuntien liitto SYL
Taideyliopiston ylioppilaskunta (TaiYo)
Turun yliopiston ylioppilaskunta (TYY)
Vihreiden nuorten ja opiskelijoiden liitto
Ympäristötoiminnan nuorisotyöyksikkö, Helsingin kaupunki
P.S. In the near future, scouts will be delivering regards collected from hundreds of young people to Prime Minister Sanna Marin. The core message matches that of the statement: Young people must be heard and their concerns about climate change need to be taken seriously. More information here.