Investing in People and Learning to Foster a Climate Resilient and Green Transition

The Youth Climate Dialogues Spread Out in the Francophone World!

17 May 2017 | Tours, France and Geneva, Switzerland / Cotonou, Benin and Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

« Climate change affects the entire planet, if we act here at home, there will also be impacts on you, if tomorrow the world will no longer know about climate change, it will be thanks to the children of today», Milan, 14 yrs, France.

Close to 120 students from France, Benin and Burkina Faso exchanged their perspectives and experiences on climate change during two Youth Climate Dialogues (YCD) in May 2017. How does climate change affect my life? What can we do to fight against it? Those were some of the questions which the students asked during the debates. "This dialogue allows to widen our horizons", concluded Clara, 16, a French student.

The 7th Youth Climate Dialogues (YCD) took place on 4 May between Collège Anatole France from Tours (France) and Collège d’enseignement général d’Abomey-Calavi et Collège d’enseignement général la Plénitude from Cotonou (Benin); and the 8th YCD between Lycée International de Ferney-Voltaire (France) and Lycee Bogodogo and Ecole Le Petit Monde in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso). The organisation of the dialogues was supported by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Students from Lycée Bogodogo, Burkina FasoStudents from Lycée Bogodogo, Burkina Faso

These Youth Climate Dialogues were organized in partnership with Météo-France in France. In Europe, the events were hosted by Université François Rabelais in Tours and by the UN CC:Learn Secretariat in Geneva; and in Africa, the events were hosted by UNDP in Benin and UNICEF in Burkina Faso.

Students in Tours asking a question to the students in Benin.Students in Tours asking a question to the students in Benin

The dialogue Tours-Cotonou was opened with remarks by Mr. Siaka Coulibaly, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Benin, Mr. Martin Pépin Aina, Director-General of Environment and Climate at the Ministry of living conditions and sustainable development, and Mr. Jean-Marc Vallée from the French Ministry of Education. The dialogue Ferney-Ouaga was opened with remarks by Félicité Sawadogo on behalf of Mrs. Anne Vincent, UNICEF Representative in Benin, and Mr. Angus Mackay from UNITAR’s Green Development and Climate Change Programme.

The screen, in University of Tours, showing students in CotonouThe screen, in University of Tours, showing students in Cotonou

To kick-off the discussions and facilitate the dialogue, students from all schools had prepared a list of questions and answers to each other. Students from Tours had prepared the dialogue in the framework of several classes: in science class, presentations were made on global warming in order to allow students to ask themselves the right questions, in English class, letters intended for the British Minister for Sustainable Development to involve politicians in reflection were drafted, in French class, some newspapers headlines were created by the students to understand the news on climate change. A PowerPoint presentation of the event can be found here, and photo galleries of the event are also available here.

Students in Tours showing their presentationsStudents in Tours showing their presentations

Students from Ferney-Voltaire conceptualized videos presenting solutions, possible on an individual scale, to fight climate change; 3 challenges were advertised, the recycling challenge, the transports challenge and the Eating vegetarian challenge.

The two screens, in University of Tours, showing students in Tours and CotonouThe two screens, in University of Tours, showing students in Tours and Cotonou

Students from Le Petit Monde had also prepared a slam recital to evoke the challenges of climate change in poetry.

Students from Ecole le Petit Monde, Burkina FasoStudents from Ecole le Petit Monde, Burkina Faso

Students exchanged many questions among each other, including questions about the climate change effects in the region, initiatives they take to challenge against the situation within their schools and in their daily lives, and the importance of education.

Here are some quotes from the students:

  • « We are pessimistic about the future of the fight against climate change because the big polluters continue to pollute with impunity », Steeve, 17 yrs, Burkina Faso.
  • « The consequences of climate change in France do not really affect us personally, but rather the sectors of the economy», Anaya, 15 yrs, France.
  • « I would like to do the recycling challenge because I would like to see more garbage in garbage cans rather than in streets », Abigael, 10 yrs, Burkina Faso.

To know more about this initiative, you can visit the Youth Climate Dialogues page or follow #YouthClimateDialogues on Twitter.

About UN CC:Learn

UN CC:Learn is a partnership of more than 30 multilateral organizations supporting countries to design and implement systematic, recurrent and results-oriented climate change learning. At the global level, the partnership supports knowledge-sharing, promotes the development of common climate change learning materials, and coordinates learning interventions through a collaboration of UN agencies and other partners. At the national level, UN CC:Learn supports countries in developing and implementing national climate change learning strategies. Through its engagement at the national and global levels, UN CC:Learn contributes to the implementation of Article 6 of the UNFCCC on training, education and public awareness-raising, and the 2012-2020 Doha Work Programme. Funding for UN CC:Learn is provided by the Swiss Government and UN partners. The Secretariat for UN CC:Learn is hosted by the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).