“I believe that the youth of the world deserve to have an official space. The proposal that I bring today is that mayors promote the institutionalization of their voice.” This vote of confidence marks Mayor Claudia López’s participation in the C40 Youth & Mayors Forum in front of 14 youths and 7 mayoral leaders of Climate Action.
The young assistants, 15-23 years old, represent the best that the city has to offer, in terms of rallying behind climate action. Teen-agers and young adults from a wide variety of schools, universities and communities have mobilised resources and tabled several environmental conservation projects. After all, who else should play such a decisive role in organising youth climate strikes if not the very people who stand to inherit it. The work has gone beyond the streets, several mayors have pushed towards stronger climate action reform.
At the beginning of the meeting, the Mayor of the Colombian capital addressed the young participants to congratulate them personally for their struggle. She welcomed them to open up about the progress that has been made so far. “Our young people have become an example to follow,” stated Mayor López. “By seeking solutions to the impacts of the pandemic and showing commitment to Climate Action. We have advanced by holding open dialogue and in December, we will have the election of Local Youth Councils, this way young people can have their voices heard.”
This event, convened by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and moderated by Mayor López in her capacity as Vice President of C40. The mayor sought to not only to listen to their expectations for COP26, but to lend the youth leaders and mayors some insight on other projects that have picked up steam like the World Youth Strike, the Cities Race to Zero campaign, the priorities of the Youth4Climate Summit, to name a few.
This is the second instalment of this event, the first was held in April in which Mayor Claudia López underlined the fundamental role that young people have played in shedding a light on the increasingly-growing challenge of ensuring a sustainable future. it is only fitting that this voice be represented on a grander scale. "I am very excited with what the Youth Council has accomplished and what is yet to come, this shows that social mobilization is an option, but options must be opened so that they are heard."
For their part, the young leaders requested that the carbon reduction goals be not only maintained, but increased. These goals must stimulate a more environmentally friendly approach and be kept in mind for future reform. An adequate food security system and more severe fines for those who do not comply with the sustainability treaties.
The mayors listened to the requests and agreed on the importance of specifying the agendas by defining objectives, actions and budgets.
Mayor López highlighted the importance of condensing these requests so that they do not remain just plans. “It is important that forums and events exist, but as mayors I believe that we can commit ourselves with resources and collective power so that young people can have an agenda. with local and global authorities. With that being said, we have to draw up future plans and budgets.”
The role that Bogotá played in this meeting is an example of the commitment of the Colombian capital not only with the establishment of concrete action against the climate crisis, but to involve various players in the discussion.