The World Meteorological Organization opened its doors to more than 100 students from academies in France, Croatia, Poland and Czech Republic for an international conference “Notre Monde, My World” from 19-21 May.
The event was part of WMO’s drive to reach out to younger audiences in line with the theme of World Meteorological Day: Weather and Climate: Engaging Youth.
“The future is yours, but realizing the ambitious targets to stabilize climate demands urgent and courageous action,” WMO Director of Cabinet and External Relations Christian Blondin told the students. “The youth of this world can be a powerful actor of change, bringing fresh insights into problems, suggesting solutions that are just and equitable. You can promote climate awareness, mitigation and adaption.”
“The challenge of climate change is an extraordinary one. Time is not on our side. And we can not fail. The more we delay action, the harder this action will be,” he said.
Today’s young people will live into the second half of this century and so be witness to the increasing impacts of climate change as evidenced by the disappearance of summer Arctic sea ice and some glaciers, rising sea levels and threats to small islands, acidification of the oceans, increasing global temperatures and extreme events such as heatwaves and floods.
Students, aged 14-18, spent three days debating resolutions on the protection of forests and oceans; the right to education; and violence against women. The themes were chosen by 6,500 students who participated in the initial stages of the My World: The United Nations Global Survey for a Better World exercise.
WMO has submitted the concluding resolutions to the U.N. Youth Envoy Ahmad Alhendawi.
“It’s been an incredible experience,” said Sarah Laurent-Caruge, from the French island of Martinique and the elected president of the conference. “It helped me discover a lot of new things and it has opened my eyes about the world.