CYD Stands in Solidarity with Arab Youth Climate Movement
Last week, in an “intergenerational inquiry” event hosted by the UNFCCC, Mary Robinson, former Prime Minister of Ireland, Desina Williams representative from Grenada, and UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres called on youth to get angry, mobilize and use their voices to demand the future they need. Figueres said multiple times that the UNFCCC is not hearing enough from civil society.
However, today when two brave Arab activists from the Arab Youth Climate Movement (AYCM) staged a protest holding up a banner challenging the Qatari presidency to lead the negotiations, not merely host them, they were promptly de-badged and deported from Qatar by the UNFCCC security.
The action of these two young men entailed courage, huge risk and personal sacrifice. A clear challenge is issued to civil society. If a three month old youth movement stemming from oil rich nations is prepared to take this kind of risk, we must ask ourselves: why aren’t we? The definition of civil society must not equate to “civil” complacency.
The truth is there is no desire from the UNFCCC for authentic dialogue and discourse within these climate negotiations. There are only empty words and a shallow call to action which, when heeded, is quickly quashed, sanitized and hidden behind the closed doors of the UN.
Today’s display of strength and willingness to challenge the status quo of these stagnant negotiations by Mohamed Anis Amirouche and Raied Gheblawi has ignited a fire within us and must do the same not only for members of civil society, but all negotiators and delegates who are dissatisfied with the current state of affairs at COP 18.
The de-badging and subsequent deportation of Anis and Raied is an act of injustice. We demand that the UNFCCC upholds the participation that they have demanded from civil society.
We demand a mass of G77 and civil society mobilization in solidarity with the two ACYM youth who stood strong in their beliefs that political leaders and negotiators must do just that, lead. A weak and toothless deal must not be the end result of COP 18.
We stand in solidarity with all those willing to take a strong stance against political inaction and devastating inertia.
We stand in solidarity with Anis and Raied.