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Across the world, children and young people are calling for urgent climate action and greater representation in climate governance. The climate crisis is a child rights crisis, and our youngest citizens have the right to be involved, and taken seriously, in decisions being made today. This has been affirmed by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in its recently published ‘General Comment No.26’ which enshrines, for the first time, that children have the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment.

A small, but growing, number of citizens’ assemblies are involving children and young people at local, national, and transnational levels. Climate assemblies hold significant and exciting potential for meaningfully, and creatively, bringing all generations together to find ways forward in addressing the climate crisis.  In response to the growing interest in and requests for guidance and tools for practitioners and policy makers on how to involve children and young people in climate assemblies, the Knowledge Network on Climate Assemblies is creating a how-to guide. This work is being led by Katie Reid, a child and youth participation specialist who designed and facilitated a child participation process for Scotland’s Climate Assembly and the Children and Young People’s Assembly on Biodiversity Loss in Ireland. This guide is being developed collaboratively, with the insights and inputs from children and young people themselves.

As part of the development of the guidance, KNOCA is hosting a workshop which will both be a space to hear and learn from children, young people and adults who have been involved in citizens’ assemblies and an opportunity to offer reflections on a draft version of the guide, adding additional ideas, questions, thoughts, and suggestions.

Meet the rest of our panellists!

  • Niamh
    I am a seventeen year old youth climate activist and ecological advocate from the south of Ireland. I was a Young Advisor for Ireland’s first-ever Children and Young People’s Assembly on Biodiversity Loss, which means that I was lucky enough to be able to help with designing and running our Assembly! Since then, I have been advocating for children’s environmental and participation rights, and I hope to someday work professionally in this area. It’s so important that we listen to what our young people have to say: they’re the ones who have to live in the future, so they deserve a major say in what that future looks like.
  • Oisín
    My name is Oisín and I am from County Galway, Ireland. I am an Assembly member of the Children and Young People’s Assembly on Biodiversity Loss. I helped to create our calls to action along with the other Assembly members. After the assembly, I took part in another sub-project called TRYBE (Teaching Resources for Youth-Informed Biodiversity Education) with some of the other Assembly members. We created teaching resources for use in schools across the country.
  • Valery Molay Ita
    Valery is a climate policy expert with a focus on engaging young people in policy development. She has experience in organising and facilitating youth climate consultations in Ireland, including her involvement in initiatives such as “Shaping our Electricity Future with EirGrid.” Valery was part of the design and implementation team of the Children and Young People’s Assembly on Biodiversity Loss, contributing to the planning and assembly recruitment process design.
  • Martina O’Brien
    Martina is a Biodiversity Officer, working at local level as part of a team and wider national network to protect, restore and improve the outlook for Biodiversity in Ireland. She has a background in marine ecology research with a focus on invasive species and previously worked with Ireland’s National Biodiversity Data Centre to coordinate the development of a strategic national plan to address invasive species – one of five key drivers of biodiversity loss globally.
  • Hazel Hurley
    Hazel Hurley is a socially-engaged graphic recorder/illustrator based in Cork, Ireland. Since 2016, she has been supporting mostly non-profit organisations to bring their projects, stories, plans and visions to life through engaging visuals, be it live graphic recording, illustrations or animations. She has worked on all kinds of topics, including health and wellbeing, human rights and equality, education, and children’s play. Hazel’s favourite area of work is around community engagement on the climate and biodiversity crisis, having recently completed a year-long course in Permaculture. She was delighted then to be part of the team that supported the Children and Young People’s Assembly on Biodiversity Loss in Ireland in October 2022, and this has been one of the highlights of her career so far.

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