It’s time for young people to be heard! – Nathan Metenier, External Relations Officer

    For the external affairs of our network, September 2019 has been a crazy month! I was in Marseille during early September at the European Young Congress, organised by different Green foundations, to chat about democracy and climate. The main and most important question asked: how can we fight and advocate for better climate action if our democracies are not open to young people?

This is the challenge. I’ve spent some time in Brussels and I’ve realised that sometimes you can sitin a meeting where no one mentions climate change! At the European Development Days in June 2019 -a three days meeting to design European Development actions in the Union and abroad – there was only ten workshops on climate change out of a hundred, no young people talking. It is clear: we desperately need more young people at discussion level to have a voicein these all-important topics. At the end of the meeting, I concluded that we, young people, will be the ones facing the consequences of their political inaction.

As an integral part of a huge network of youth-led environmental organisations, YEE has a specific responsibility to connect the local realities with the very top politicians on environmental issues. With the support of my dear YEE board members, I launched different initiatives.

As a board member of the European Environmental Bureau, I started a consultation to improve my knowledge of how national Environmental NGOs are connecting with young people. It is time for the Environmental NGOs at the national levels to connect with young people and empower them! This is the start of a long-term reflectionon how to better empower young people on climate change issues inside the European Environmental Bureau.

However, this is not enough. Young people have to get organised to talk to our decision-makers at the EU level. This is why I started talking to several other youth-led NGOs to convince them to advocate together for climate action. With the European Student Union, AEGEE Europe, FimCap and CliMates, we united under Generation Climate Europe: the first coalition of youth-led NGOs to advocate on climate change. It was hard to get together, but we let our differences aside because we were all convinced that the most important thing is the climate emergency we are facing! As a platform, we will aim at advocating for specific demand to the EU institutions, at applying for funding projects together… This has all to be built, but I’m confident in the great energies I can feel!

And last but not least, it’s at the European Youth Forum that I will put my energy. Today, out of ten policy officers, there is only one officer focusing on the Sustainable Development Goals, meaning that he is dedicating only a seventeenth of his week to climate action! How crazy! We need a strong advocacy work from the Forum’s members to change the situation. You got it, it will be my very 3rd priority!

All of this sounds exciting and promising!