Ambassador Robert van den Dool, Head of Delegation of the European Union to Sudan spoke at the Forum on "Climate Change and Youth: Implications on Environment, Health and Education" which took place on 13 October 2019 at UNICEF office, as part of the European Union's celebrations for the EU Climate Diplomacy weeks. The event was attended by Sudanese youth and experts on Climate Change.
The EU Ambassador said the following:
Representative of the National Council of Environment, Representative of the UNICEF, Representatives of the UN agencies, Representatives of the International and National organisations, Young activist, Ladies and Gentlemen
"The current generation is the first that can end poverty and the last which can effectively control climate change"
The comment was made by Ban Ki Moon in 2015 and as today the year 2019 is approaching its end Climate Change is not a threat, it is a reality, which we have to accept and which we need to curb as much as possible.
Young people around the World are mobilising through the "Fridays for Future" demonstrations and the World-wide demonstrations on the 20th in the eve of the 21-23 Climate Summit in New York.
It is against this backdrop, that I would like to express my pleasure to address this important interactive form on "Climate Change and Youth: Implications on the Environment, Health and Education", which is part of our celebrations of the EU Climate Diplomacy week. The Climate Diplomacy week started on the 3rd of October by organising a "Plant a tree" event in 6 schools in Khartoum, Red Sea and North Darfur States and 2 villages in North Darfur State. Following this event, two additional fora on "Social enterprise" and "Citizen Science and the Knowledge Management Platform" will be organised.
I am excited to have such a diverse group of participants and I look forward to the outcomes the event generates. Special thanks to the efforts of UNICEF in making this event possible and for the attendance of so many young people, from whom we hope to listen and learn. It is also impressive to see such representation from key government institutions and implementing partners and agencies. This diversity of institutions and individuals is crucial to have meaningful discussions.
Today’s forum is based on the idea that Climate change is already affecting and will continue to affect human health, education and the delivery of government services, economic development and the general public.
We are all aware that the observed and projected impact of climate change on the environment is significant. It is known that Climate Change poses a direct and existential threat globally and that it requires a collective response. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on 1.5 degree temperature increase has warned us in very clear terms: strengthening the global response to climate change is a matter of extreme urgency.
However, while climate change has gathered global momentum as a core concern, and while the irreversible impacts on the environment as a result of climate change are widely realised, there has been less discussion on the specific impacts on youth, human health and access to, social basic services.
Examples of direct effects include overall elevated temperatures that generally exacerbate chronic disease morbidity as a number of vector-borne diseases like malaria, degradation and destabilization of air and water quality, and stress to mental health. More complex downstream effects include disruption of agriculture and food security, reduced water availability, and exacerbation of conflict over limited resources.
Many of these effects will disproportionately affect poorer and more marginalized populations, and strain systems and governments lacking the resources to adapt to and mitigate the effects.
It is clear, therefore, that Climate Change be viewed as a challenge beyond the generations, one that crosses continents and cultures, sectors, institutions and thematic areas. Resources and skill sets need to be directed in holistic, integrated ways to address the multifaceted challenges.
Today’s forum seeks to bring these issues to a central point in the way climate change is addressed. Today we would like to discuss and consider the complex interactions between all these issues and factors.
We hope this initial step will generate new ideas, raise awareness and will prompt action. We hope also that the workshop makes clear the need to address Climate through partnerships. Partnerships are fundamental to address the dynamic nature of the challenges, the scale and complexity and that partnership between individuals, groups and institutions is a key pre- requisite in our efforts to adapt and mitigate climate change.
13 October 2019
UNICEF Offices Sudan