CSD-14

The 14th meeting of the UN Commission on sustainable development was held in New York from May 1-12th 2006.  Almost one hundred young people from all over the world with gather in the halls of the United Nations to demonstrate progress we have made in our communities towards achieving sustainable development in the themes of energy, industrial development, air pollution and climate change.

For commentary on the politics and madness of the CSD, visit the youth climate blog www.itsgettinghotinhere.org and search for CSD-14.

Youth, recognized as a major group at this UN Commission, were able to present their final statement during the high level segment and highlighted the needs and weaknesses of the work of the Commission. Please see the statement below read on our behalf by Bernise Ang from Singapore.

“Thank you Mr Chairman.

Before I begin, I would like to express my thanks to the valuable
contribution from the representative of the Nederlands.

Where is the urgency in CSD-14?

Your decisions and plans decide whether or not my peers and I have a future to look forward to.

We would also like to note that youth of colour, indigenous youth and low-income youth are already bearing the burdens of climate change, and the policies that do little to combat it.

We represent the biggest stakeholder in this entire commission.

The future is more than a legacy; it is our lives
Where is the urgency in CSD-14?

The future is more than a legacy; it is our lives.

The chair’s summary includes nuclear and so-called “clean coal” in the definition of clean energy. For young people – for the future – the definition is clear: small-scale hydro, wind, solar, marine power are clean; but nuclear, fossil fuels and large scale hydro-electric and incineration are neither clean, renewable, nor sustainable.

If the turnout in this room is anything to go by, we *have* come together to find solutions towards real sustainable development. We believe in environmental justice and encourage you to remember that, as embodied in the Rio Declaration, “Human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable
development”.

During these weeks we have heard from governments that are not adopting environmental and social regulations because of a reluctance to interfere with the market. But the *fact* is that – there IS no market today that governments do not interfere with by using taxes, subsidies, and trade barriers. We are concerned that many governments are willing to interfere in the market only on behalf of big business and not on behalf of the people, or the environment. Therefore – we call on member states to create such regulations, along with enhancing clear corporate accountability measures.

We would strongly encourage you to embrace the plan of work you agreed upon at the Earth Summit and WSSD. Implementation does not mean passing responsibility to the market. Successful implementation requires equal opportunity, active participation and meaningful collaboration among stakeholders under the guidance of governments.

In these two weeks, we have inundated you with examples of youth who have initiated viable, sustainable, and profitable development projects. Here is a reminder of what we have told you:

In Sweden and the UK we are running fair trade purchasing programs; In rural Nepal we are organising small hydropower projects; In North America we are converting universities to clean energy; In Ghana we are improving irrigation for agricultural development; In the US and Mexico we are supporting farmers through fair trade coffee and cultural exchange.

And we’ve got more.

These are serious solutions that we are providing for serious problems. We *must* be taken seriously.

Although identified as an important cross-cutting issue at CSD-11, education has not been adequately addressed here. The words “youth” and “education” have appeared in the chair’s summary – but there is no coherent strategy for implementation. The UN Decade on Education for Sustainable Development plays an important role and *must* be completed with ambitious national plans.

Youth must be informed about how energy decisions will affect our future, so that we can be the agents of *our* own development. Education is the critical link between knowledge – and action. We are 2.8 billion youth with unlimited potential for change.

Delegates – please stand up if you have children.
[pause]
Having read the chair’s summary, do you think that this document gives hope for your children in twenty years?
[pause]
HERE is the urgency in CSD-14. The future is more than a legacy; it is our lives.

Thank you delegates. Thank you Mr Chairman.”

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