20 Mar, 2023
Under the gracious patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, the Supreme Council for Motherhood & Childhood and the United Nations Children's Fund "UNICEF" announce the appointment of "UNICEF Climate Change Youth Ambassadors" at the 28th Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP 28) on the occasion of the Emirati Children's Day.
Under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation "Mother of the Nation", UNICEF in collaboration with the Supreme Council for Motherhood & Childhood announced the appointment of a new group of UNICEF Climate Change Youth Ambassadors for COP 28. The announcement was made at a ceremony held at the Women's Pavilion in Expo Dubai on the occasion of the Emirati Children's Day, as part of the United Arab Emirates' hosting of the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 28).
The ceremony was attended by Her Excellency Shamma bint Suhail Al Mazrouei, Minister of Community Development and Youth Climate Leader at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 28), Her Excellency Rym bint Abdullah Al Falasi, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, Her Excellency Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, United Nations Climate Champion at the Conference of the Parties (COP 28), President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Ms. Jumana Al Haj Ahmed, Deputy Regional Director for Gulf Cooperation Council Countries at UNICEF, as well as a number of ambassadors and representatives of diplomatic missions accredited to the UAE, members of the Emirati Children's Parliament, and the Advisory Council for Children at the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood.
Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, delivered a speech at the ceremony, in which Her Excellency Rym bint Abdullah Al Falasi, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, spoke on her behalf. Her Highness stated, "Our young people are our most precious possession; they are a latent energy that cannot be dispensed with. They are the foundation of the United Arab Emirates and the key to its future success. We must provide them with the appropriate support to invest in the opportunities that enable them to direct their energies optimally and open the way for them to launch their creativity to provide many opportunities, which will benefit our beloved country and enhance their sense of belonging."
Her Highness added, "In our rapidly changing world, we need to build minds comprehensively and work on enlightening young people to enlighten them about their responsibilities, invest their energies, push them towards work and creativity, benefit from their ideas, encourage them, and provide them with an opportunity to work within the policies pursued by the country."
Her Highness further stated, "Investing in our young people is the optimal investment in the future. Today, and within the framework of the United Arab Emirates' hosting of the COP 28, we are pleased to cooperate with UNICEF in appointing “Climate Change Youth Ambassadors for COP 28." This reflects the UAE's approach to investing in our young people, who play a vital role in shaping the future and the source of strength that we must all prepare optimally and rely on to safeguard the achievements and gains made by the country in various fields."
In conclusion, Her Highness recommended to her young sons and daughters the need to continue acquiring knowledge and skills, always striving to acquire everything that is new and to arm themselves with knowledge that carries innovation and creativity, and to rely on themselves in presenting creative and innovative ideas and constructive practices that will be a fundamental contribution to sustainable development. "This is my pledge to you, and I will continue to support you in all your efforts, appreciating your contributions and confirming that you are worthy of the trust that has been given to you."
On her part, Her Excellency Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, United Nations Climate Champion at the Conference of the Parties (COP 28) and President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), expressed her pride and happiness at the appointment of young/adolescent UNICEF Climate Ambassadors for COP 28 in the United Arab Emirates, she commended Her Highness's well-known efforts to support and empower the children of the UAE and the world.
She stated, "I see the risks associated with the loss of nature and biodiversity. When we lose nature, we lose our health and well-being. Conversely, preserving nature brings us clean water, pure air, abundant food, and spaces that inspire us with awe and reverence. This can be achieved through intensifying efforts to protect and conserve 30% of our natural areas to ensure the prosperity and well-being of our children."
As the UN Climate Champion at COP 28, she further added, "I witness the negative impacts of climate change, ranging from floods, fires, droughts, hunger, poverty, and disease. However, I remain optimistic with the advancement of technology, science, and increased support for sustainable environmental change around the world. While there are unprecedented risks, the opportunity for positive, permanent, and equitable change remains, upon which the lives of our children depend on our success."
She continued, "We work towards promoting children's right to a sustainable environment worldwide, and we all have confidence in the potential of this declaration to create a positive impact and serve as a source of inspiration for children worldwide. This is from the heart of the UAE, the land of sustainability, peace, tolerance, and creativity."
Jamana Al-Haj Ahmad, UNICEF Gulf Area Representative, stated: "As the United Arab Emirates prepares to host the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference, UNICEF is pleased to announce the appointment of a new group of ambassadors on climate change in the country. These young individuals who make significant contributions to the children's rights agenda and climate action will seek to amplify the voices of youth ahead of the 28th Conference. They will bring renewed vitality, fresh perspectives, and innovative ways of doing things. We value our partnership with the Supreme Council for Motherhood & Childhood and look forward to continuing our work together to empower children and youth to speak up and take action."
The selection of UNICEF Youth Ambassadors for Climate Change for COP 28 was based on criteria that included being between the ages of 13 and 24, being a positive role model for their peers, possessing experience in inspiring other youth in positive ways, having strong communication skills and a clear vision for what needs to change, collaborating with others to effect change, persevering towards their goals, and caring about or working towards the issue of climate change.
During the ceremony, the names of the UNICEF's young climate ambassadors for COP 28 were announced, including: Gaia Saeed Al-Ahbabi, Yousef Abdullah Mohsin Al-Bloushi, Maryam Hassan Al-Ghafri, Abdulmugheet Abdulmanan, Sophia Faqehi, Saeed Ahmed Al-Rumaithi, and Ahmed Salem Al-Mutawa. The appointment of these young ambassadors aligns with the convening of the COP 28 climate summit in Dubai in 2023, which creates significant opportunities to focus on climate change and sustainability issues from all perspectives throughout the year. This requires leadership and engagement of children and youth of all backgrounds in climate action and policies, to leverage their voices and encourage their integration into the design and implementation of impactful climate measures.