Guyana signs declaration on Children, Youth and Climate Action
-joins 42 other signatory countries around the world
See below full statement from the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF):
Children and young people will now be included at the policy level as agents of change for climate action as Prime Minister of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, Brigadier (Ret’d), the Honourable Mark Phillips on Saturday signed the Declaration on Children, Youth and Climate Action.
The declaration developed by young people from across the world, identifies their priorities for climate action. It urges States to consistently consider children’s specific needs, rights and perspectives in their climate policies and action at all levels.
The signing marked a new milestone for UNICEF Guyana, as the intergovernmental organization in collaboration with the First Lady’s Office observed World Children’s Day in advance with over one hundred children and youths at the State House Benab, Carmichael Street, Georgetown.
The ceremonial signing of the declaration signaled Guyana as a new signatory to the declaration joining 42 other countries around the world.
Prime Minister Phillips said Guyana is pleased to endorse the Declaration also given that it is consistent with the actions the country has taken and the actions they will take in securing a sustainable future for children and youth in Guyana.
He explained that the government recognizes the unique vulnerability of children to the impacts of natural disasters and other extreme weather events and in recognising their vulnerability, the government has already taken concrete actions to mitigate the impacts of climate change. This he noted is evident is the government Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS).
“The LCDS recognizes the pivotal role of youth in shaping our nation’s destiny. It incorporates a dedicated section that proclaims the goal of mainstreaming youth participation in the Strategy. We believe that involving our youth in the decision-making processes related to climate action is not just a question of inclusion; it is an acknowledgement of the unique perspectives, innovative ideas, and boundless energy they can bring to the process,” the Prime Minister said.
He added, “The endorsement of this ‘declaration’ is not just a strategic move but a moral imperative. By championing the principles outlined in this ‘declaration’, Guyana ensures that our children and youth inherit a sustainable future.”
Meanwhile, during remarks, Nicolas Pron, UNICEF Guyana and Suriname Country Representative lauded the Prime Minister for signing the declaration, while noting it marks an historic event for UNICEF and children in Guyana.
He said, “Climate change presents the greatest threat to children’s futures, and it is having an impact on children’s health, access to safe water, nutrition, basic services and infrastructure, education, and child protection in Guyana and around the world.”
Pron highlighted that UNICEF works with all stakeholders to ensure the rights and protection of every child across the globe. “One of those rights, is the right to a safe and sustainable environment. This right, however, is threatened by climate change,” he stated.
The UNICEF Representative further thanked the Prime Minister for displaying the Government of Guyana’s continued commitment to not only ensuring a bright future for children in Guyana, but for also ensuring their voices will be heard and their needs will be addressed.
Additionally, during remarks, Pron along with other attendees at the event observed a one minute of silence for children affected in conflict situations around the world. He made a call for peace, safety and protection for every child, especially those in conflict situations.
Sharing the same sentiment on climate change affecting those who have contributed the least to the crisis—children, Mrs. Arya Ali, First Lady of Guyana made a call for everyone to make the necessary investments to protect the planet and safeguard the future of our children. “My office, and by extension the government stands ready to support efforts which are aimed at protecting the welfare of children,” she said.
The observance of the World Children’s Day event culminated with an upcycling activity facilitated by Everything Makes Craft, UNICEF Volunteers and Rights of the Child Commission’s Child Rights Advocates with children from various orphanages in Guyana. Children at the event learned how to upcycle plastic bottles, toilet paper rolls and scrap cardboards to make art and crafts.
To further commemorate WCD 2023 on November 20, UNICEF Guyana will light up the State House in Blue. The blue light up is a visual element that connects all World Children’s Day activities around the world. It is a visual reminder of the shared responsibility to protect, promote, and advocate for the rights of every child, everywhere.
Every year on November 20, UNICEF in over 190 countries celebrate the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. On that day, the intergovernmental organization highlights critical issues affecting children’s lives, and support the engagement of children and young people as advocates for their own rights.