Young people want to have a say in negotiations about their future

Shortly before Christmas 2022, the 15th Biodiversity Conference ended with the signing of a framework agreement. Although the agreement is supposed to save the earth from climate collapse, young people see their future threatened.

Young people from all over the world, united in the 'Global Youth Biodiversity Network' (GYBN), have participated in the UN Biodiversity Conferences over the last ten years. Among the more than 100 youth delegates who were able to attend COP-15, three Swiss youth were also present for the first time. The three members of 'Climate Strike' worked together in Montréal for an ambitious framework agreement and for more youth participation. The fact that youth are perceived as an equal interest group and included in the process is very important and comes with a great responsibility. After all, their future and the lives of people on the environmental frontlines are being played with in the negotiations.

Climate Strike  is a global social movement that originates from pupils and students and campaigns for the most comprehensive, rapid and efficient climate protection measures possible. This should make it possible to meet the United Nations' 1.5-degree target agreed in the World Climate Agreement at the 2015 World Climate Conference in Paris.

Youth representatives are disillusioned

The adopted framework agreement 'Global Biodiversity Framework' (GBF) was confirmed by the community of states on December 19, 2022 and presented to the public. For young people, however, it is clear that the new framework agreement contains far too weak and woolly formulations. Youth representatives also think that the GBF consists of the wrong solutions. Most of the time, they say, only short-term thinking is involved, and certain targets have been deliberately weakened. For example, in the target to regulate the use of pesticides, the original text "reduce pesticides by 50% by 2030" was changed to "reduce the negative impacts of pesticide use by 2030". The wording, which would have demanded a reduction of pesticides, was thus skillfully changed into one that only demanded a reduction of the damage caused by them. What remained was an empty promise in the fight against biodiversity. Everyone is allowed to carry on as before, the young people criticize.

Young people also criticize Switzerland

The young people also criticize the positions taken by the Swiss delegation, among others, in the negotiations. Switzerland represents a policy that does not do justice to the biodiversity crisis. In addition, the representation of direct corporate interests, such as that of Syngenta in various country delegations, is unacceptable. It is therefore not surprising that the framework agreement does not provide for a reduction of pesticides.

Young people have achieved certain successes

The Global Youth Network is officially considered an observer of the negotiations and is thus entitled to intervene. The three Swiss youth representatives were also able to achieve some successes in cooperation with the network through political lobbying, campaigns and actions. In order for the youth to be able to participate directly at the negotiating table, they have so far depended on the goodwill of the countries. Their goal is to be perceived as full citizens at eye level and to have a say in the negotiations about their future - also through Switzerland.