Submitted by leannem on Fri, 12/06/2019 - 22:39
Jenny Jiva
December 6, 2019 by leannem
Climate Change Resilience

6 December 2019, Madrid, Spain – The Peace Boat made its first dedicated commitment to the United Nations Ocean Conference in 2017 to promote the Ocean and Climate Youth Ambassadors Programme, which was officially endorsed by COP23 Fiji. 

The programme was highlighted at a side event at the Moana Blue Pacific Pavilion on Day 4 of the 25th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP25). 

The Ocean and Youth Ambassador programme brings together young people from Small Island Developing States, where they are given a platform to share their experiences as youth on the frontlines of climate change. 

The programme also brings climate change experts to share their knowledge on the Paris Agreement and other Climate Change conventions and instruments to encourage the youth to continue raising their voices and sharing their stories. 

Ms. Genevieve Jiva, Pacific Island Climate Action Network Coordinator and Ocean and Climate Youth Ambassador alum, shared her experiences on the 3-week programme in 2018. 

“I was honoured to join the programme with fellow young leaders from Barbados, Palau, Seychelles, Singapore and Timor Leste,” said Ms. Jiva.

“Stepping out onto the deck once we reached open ocean was an incredible experience, because the beauty of the ocean is magical, but also incredibly terrifying. Because if the current rate of climate change continues, the ocean may be the only thing left of the Pacific islands I call home,” she added.

“This is part of the message I took with me on this programme: that climate change is real, vulnerable communities are already facing devastating impacts, and we need a safe and just transition to renewable energy as soon as possible.”

During the journey, Ms Jiva and the seven Ocean and Climate Youth Ambassadors aboard the Peace Boat developed a statement, which Ms Jiva presented during the side event, as she believes it is still relevant in the face of the climate emergency the world is facing today. 

“There are those who ask why we continuously talk about impacts, why we use confrontational language. Shouldn’t we only focus on solutions? Are we counterproductive?” the statement reads.

“There are many things that are counterproductive. Suppressing and ignoring climate science is counterproductive.

Promoting your country as climate-friendly but continuing to exploit coal and oil is counterproductive. Burning fossil fuels while renewable energy is available and increasingly cost-effective is counterproductive. And we will hold those to account.”

“We believe that you cannot look to the future without learning from the past, and we have much to learn. And we are learning every day.”

“We are learning every day as we research, clean-up, march, paint, advocate, write and share, and we will win this fight. But not alone. We need warriors ready to stand with us, ready to fight for those who will come after.”

“Peace Boat gave us a platform to share our realities with the world, and they are giving a voice to young people, and that is where the transition to a more sustainable world begins,” the statement concluded. 

Ms. Emily McGlone, Director of the Peace Boat US, said that the Peace Boat is not just a cruise, but an educational experience for the young people who travel with them.

“As we’re on the boat, we’re not just enjoying the journey, but we are actually learning. You can think of it as having a COP on the ocean, and we provide education onboard. In doing this, we invite guest educators who come onboard and share their knowledge with us on climate change, oceans, sustainability, human rights and other topics,” said Ms. McGlone. 

Peace Boat’s first voyage was organised in 1983 by a group of Japanese university students as a creative response to government censorship regarding Japan’s past military aggression in the Asia-Pacific. They chartered a ship to visit neighbouring countries with the aim of learning first-hand about the war from those who experienced it and initiating people-to-people exchange.

Since its first voyage in 1983, Peace Boat has chartered a number of passenger ships to organise voyages, adapting the onboard spaces to provide a unique and dynamic environment for its participants.

The UNFCCC COP25 is being held in Madrid, Spain from 2 – 13 December 2019. 

For further information on the Peace Boat please visit: https://peaceboat.org/english/about-peace-boat