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Civil Society and Youth Groups: Consultation

Volume 692: debated on Wednesday 14 April 2021

What steps he is taking to consult with (a) civil society and (b) youth groups in preparation for COP26. (914048)

What steps he is taking to consult with (a) civil society and (b) youth groups in preparation for COP26. (914056)

I want COP26 to be the most inclusive ever. The voices of young people are vital to this process. That is why I have set up an international COP26 Civil Society and Youth Advisory Council, allowing for a regular dialogue with youth activists, NGOs, indigenous people and faith groups as we plan for COP26.

I have a pile of letters on my desk from children at GEMS Didcot Primary Academy and John Blandy Primary School, who have written to tell me what they have learned about climate change and what positive changes they saw in the environment during lockdown, and to give me their ideas of things they think the Government should be doing. Will my right hon. Friend tell me how children and young people will be able to feed into the preparations for COP26?

I thank my hon. Friend for championing the views of young people in his constituency. I pay tribute to the pupils of John Blandy and GEMS Didcot primary schools for their enthusiasm for climate action. I will be delighted to receive their letters and review their ideas; and, through him, I will respond in writing to his constituents.

My right hon. Friend and I both have the privilege of representing seats in Berkshire, where many young people are passionate about climate change and are active in local groups such as the West Berkshire Climate Action Network. This is their first real opportunity to see UK leadership in action. Will my right hon. Friend confirm how those young people can access the youth council that he just described and other mechanisms to feed their ideas into the COP later this year?

I thank my hon. Friend for the work that she does to promote climate action. I would be very happy to hear from young people and youth groups in her constituency. We will be engaging further with schools in relation to COP26 to unleash the enthusiasm and energy of young people across the UK and tackle climate change.

We all have a stake in protecting our climate, particularly young adults in my constituency, who I hope will be the pioneers of change. As part of the UK-Italy COP26 partnership, what are the plans for the “Youth4Climate: Driving Ambition 2021” event to be held in Milan in September?

From 28 to 30 September, the Youth4Climate event will bring together 400 youth delegates from across the globe to discuss topics under a range of thematic areas. The event will culminate in a declaration and discussion between the youth delegates and Ministers attending the pre-COP26 event.