Media Centre - Media release - 16 September 2019

Plan International stands with youth calling for urgent action on global climate emergency

Youth activist Shalini advocating for end of child marriage in India

Leading girls ’equality charity Plan International Australia is standing in solidarity with youth activists leading the climate movement and supporting the global strike for climate.

The global School Strikes for the Climate movement, ‘Friday’s For Future,’ asked adults to join them in their cause for the first time and strike with them from 20 to 27 September. This youth-led movement, started by 15-year-old Swedish girl Greta Thunburg, has seen millions of the youngest activists in the world striking on Fridays, demanding climate justice and urgent action to reduce fossil fuel consumption.

Susanne Legena, CEO of Plan International Australia, called for world leaders to listen to youth activists and act on their calls for action to address climate change. The organisation is allowing staff the option to stand in solidarity with young people at the rallies in Melbourne and Sydney on Friday 20 September.

“We are proud to stand in solidarity with youth activists in Australia and all around the world who are taking to the streets – the world is facing a climate emergency and urgent action is needed to avert an overwhelming catastrophe before it’s too late.

“Climate change has disproportionate impacts on children, particularly girls, and especially those from the most vulnerable and poorest communities, who often live in the most profoundly impacted regions. This is incredibly unfair because those who will be most affected by climate change are the ones who have contributed least to the problem.

“Children are very aware that they will bear the brunt of climate change; that they face a future planet that will be largely uninhabitable if we fail to keep the global temperature rise well below two degrees. Children are rightly demanding that adults – particularly those in power now – take urgent action to mitigate the damage already happening and give the next generation hope that greater disaster can be averted.”

“Plan International Australia is calling for world leaders to listen to youth activists, and take action to secure climate justice, intergenerational justice, social and gender justice.”

Ms Legena said that global research shows how climate change worsens the global injustice of gender inequality.

“Climate change threatens to undo progress towards gender equality and securing the rights of girls and women around the world. Girls and women are more likely to go hungry and are more vulnerable to violence, sexual assault, and trafficking when climate-related disasters strike their communities.

“Not only are girls and women among those worst hit, they are also systematically excluded from decision-making on the climate crisis that disproportionately affects them.

“Plan International is working to empower children around the world, particularly girls – they are taking the lead in the global climate movement. They have the right to be heard. It’s everyone’s responsibility to listen to their voices and take action to address the climate emergency before it’s too late.”

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About Plan International

Plan International is a leading girls’ rights agency. We champion girls’ rights because we know that there is nowhere in the world where girls are treated as equals. We work alongside children, young people, supporters and partners to tackle the root causes of injustices facing girls and the most marginalised children. Plan International works in more than 75 countries to help create a just world that advances children’s rights and equality for girls. Our local office, Plan International Australia funds programs to support children in more than 25 countries, as well as sponsorship programs across the federation.

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