The climate emergency the world is facing today has mobilised millions of young people around the world, many of whom are profoundly affected by the threat it poses for their future. At the same time, it is young people who have repeatedly demonstrated their energy, creativity and motivation to challenge current unsustainable models and spur decision-makers to adopt ambitious policies. A wide gap nevertheless remains between listening to them, and actually acting upon what they say.
In this opinion, the EESC seeks to narrow this gap, considering structured and formal involvement of youth to be crucial at all stages of EU decision-making processes.
"Europe, and the world, needs ambition, leadership and action. Our systems are based on borrowing from the future, it's time now to start investing in it", stressed Cillian Lohan, rapporteur for the opinion.
In this context, the EESC proposes setting up Youth Climate and Sustainability Round Tables to be hosted by the EESC in collaboration with the Commission and the Parliament, as well as the inclusion of a youth delegate in the official EU delegation to UNFCCC COP meetings.
This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to redress systemic inequalities and transition towards a better future. (mr)