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Young people have an important role to play when it comes to action on climate change. After all, it is their future currently being discussed at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, this week.

This message was emphasized by young delegates attending the 4th Dialogue on Action for Climate Empowerment this week.

“It is very exciting for me to come to Bonn to follow the negotiations”, said Camilla Schramek, a youth delegate from the U.S. currently studying in Denmark. The Bonn conference was the first time she was able to observe the international climate negotiations first hand.

Another youth delegate sitting beside her, Xu Wang from China, explained that he is a student in politics, at the French “grande école” Sciences Po - a university in Paris. When asked what he particularly enjoyed during the two-day long Dialogue, he said he “enjoyed the mix of videos, presentations and working groups.”

Timothy Damon, Focal Point for the UNFCCC’s Youth Constituency (YOUNGO) and a “child of the Nineties”, as he described himself, nodded his head. According to the younger participants, it is this mixture of youthful energy, optimism and activism that brings the moral imperative to act on climate change to life at these meetings. The presence of young people is a constant reminder that the lives of future generations depend on the actions and decisions of today.

The Dialogue on Action for Climate Empowerment is an annual forum for Parties and stakeholders to share their experiences, exchange ideas, good practices and lessons learned regarding the implementation of Article 6 of the Convention. It is organized by the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat.

The second day of the ACE dialogue was marked by a series of presentations on different forms of raising public awareness, public access to information and international cooperation on these matters, as well as by workshops with lively discussions among participants.

The day was opened by Ms. Ella Behlyarova, Secretary of the Aaarhus convention, which relates to decision-making in environmental matters.

Her presentation was followed by various high-level speakers from around the globe, who touched on issues such as public participation in the preparation and implementation of the nationally determined contributions of Chile, legal frameworks for fostering public participation in climate change policy-making and action in Mexico, and building resilience and enhancing public participation and adaptation projects in Senegal. Bonn’s Lord Mayor, Ashok Sridharan, stressed the high importance of public inclusion in the negotiation process.

“Norway only recently registered as a civil society focal point, but we have had a focus on public participation for a long time,” stressed Christoffer Gronstad of the Government of Norway. “Civil society participation is even written into our constitution.”

Josephine Castillo, representative from the DAMPA Federation that connects grassroots organizations working in the field of climate change in the Philippines, pointed out the importance of “having a big cloud” - so a large network. According to her, cooperation among all stakeholders at the local, regional and international levels is crucial to combat climate change.

The 4th Dialogue on Action for Climate Empowerment was wrapped up by UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres. “I know you are working in the most difficult field, but I would like to remind you to keep your work up,”, she said. “Changing public behavior is key.”

For a full list of speakers and their presentations, please visit the Dialogue’s webpage.

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