Young climate activists across the Pacific Islands started a movement that has just culminated in a massive win at the United Nations!
Following the tireless campaigning efforts which started in Fiji, spread across the Pacific, and gathered support all over the world, the UN General Assembly is now calling for the International Court of Justice to issue an advisory opinion on climate change — bringing us a giant leap closer to holding countries legally accountable for their failure to address climate change.
The idea for the campaign started in a classroom in Fiji, gathered the support of 120 countries — including Australia — and now, via the UN in New York, is headed for the world’s highest court. This is the power of young people to make real change!
“When we started, we were scared,” says Solomon Islander Cynthia Houniuhi, President of Pacific Islands Students Fighting Climate Change (PISFCC), and one of the original instigators of this movement.
“We firstly decided to write letters to our regional leaders to appeal to them to take climate change and human rights to the highest court in the world.”
“We took up spaces wherever we could and were funded by the loose change in our own pockets.”
Cynthia says she and her fellow activists were driven by their passion for the environments in which they were raised — and the desire for future generations to enjoy the same ways of life: “To have something that you love and value and is part of your livelihood and identity being threatened by the adverse effects of climate change, moves you to act. Not for yourself but for your children as well.”
Despite the enormity of the challenges they faced, they didn’t give up. Instead, they used their voices and their passion to demand action from those in power. And the world has listened.
The success of this campaign is a testament to the power of grassroots activism and the leadership and bravery of Pacific youth like Cynthia who have inspired and led this global movement for climate justice.
CARE extends our gratitude and admiration to all of the activists who have worked so hard to achieve this historic win. We are committed to supporting the communities most affected by the climate crisis and to amplifying the voices of local leaders like Cynthia. And we are grateful to all our supporters whose donations support these goals. We are proud to work alongside you all in this crucial fight.
The impacts of climate change are already affecting the most vulnerable communities, especially those across the Pacific, in ways that cannot be ignored. And this win should encourage us to continue to demand bold action from our leaders, and to support the voices of those who are most impacted. It is a reminder that every one of us has a role to play in creating a more just and sustainable future.
Let’s celebrate this win together and let it motivate us all to keep fighting for climate action.