Bolivian Youth Presents National Declaration on Climate Change
In Bolivia, the Local Conference of Youth (LCOY) was held for the fourth consecutive year, marking the most significant youth conference on climate action in various parts of the world. The event brought together over 100 young individuals from across Bolivia to craft a national declaration addressing climate change and propose an agenda for action led by the youth.
Maria Fernanda Zeballos participated in the conference and serves as the Secretary of International Relations on the National Board of the Bolivian Platform for Action on Climate Change (PBACC). This organisation comprises youth from all over Bolivia, committed since 2019 to creating this participatory space to gather the voices of Bolivian youth regarding climate change.
PBACC, accredited by Youngo to bring LCOY to Bolivia, opened these participatory spaces and capacity-building initiatives for climate empowerment. Young people from urban, rural, and indigenous communities were invited to gain knowledge, voice their concerns, generate proposals on climate change, and lead advocacy efforts in national policies, enhancing climate governance in the country through youth participation. Additionally, the organisation is part of the Voices for Climate Action Just Alliance, an initiative driven by the Avina Foundation and WWF Bolivia.
Regarding the key aspects of LCOY, Zeballos stated, “This is the second time that the voices of young people from rural areas and indigenous communities have been included in Bolivia’s LCOY. Additionally, we managed to engage national authorities to assist us in achieving the objectives and proposals within this agenda. It was evident that LCOY has significant potential in terms of youth engagement.”
The declaration generated proposals around five themes: energy transition, climate justice and equity in mitigation and adaptation, biodiversity and ecosystem conservation, climate financing, and youth empowerment and participation. Zeballos emphasises, “It’s important to highlight that the declaration positions youth as crucial voices on this matter, demanding to be heard and considered by decision-making spaces.”
The youth presented the declaration to the Ministry of Environment and the Plurinational Mother Earth Authority after the conference. Zeballos explains, “We are in the process of developing an action plan to execute specific activities outlined in the agenda. Furthermore, the authorities pledged to disseminate this agenda in international climate negotiation spaces and connect us with organisations that allocate funds for certain activities.”
The voices of young individuals need to be heard and considered in both national and international climate negotiation processes. Therefore, there is an intention to bring and promote the declaration at an international level at the Regional Conference of Youth (RCOY2023) in Colombia, Latin America and the Caribbean Climate Week (LACCW 2023) in Panama, and the upcoming COP28 to be held in Dubai.