We need more than nice words now

30.10.19 | News
De nordiska statsministrarna träffar ungdommsrepresentanter vid Nordiska rådets session i Stockholm 2019
Johannes Jansson
On Wednesday, eight prime ministers and nine representatives from Nordic youth organisations met in Stockholm for a dialogue meeting on sustainability issues at the invitation of the prime ministers. The young people asked many questions, while the ministers listened and answered.

This was clearly the point of the meeting – to give young people the opportunity to discuss what they think is important and to ensure that their voices get heard.

The dialogue meeting was arranged on the initiative of the Icelandic presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers. The youth representatives were glad of the opportunity to meet the prime ministers, but stressed that this meeting must be followed by others.

Concrete action needed

“It’s incredibly important that social change happens quickly, and that the representatives of younger generations are always heard,” says Bicca Olin, representing the umbrella organisation of the Finnish youth association Allianssi.

“For us, the climate crisis isn’t a distant threat. It’s a reality that we’re already in the midst of,” says Una Hildardóttir from the Icelandic youth association LUF.

Simon Holmström represents ReGeneration2030 in Åland.

“I was disappointed that the prime ministers came with excuses and described their countries as being climate smart when we in the Nordic Region are going around in circles,” he says.

“No one needs nice words any more. We need concrete action,” concludes Olin.

The climate crisis is polarising society

Iceland’s Prime Minister, Katrín Jakobsdottír, agrees, and supports the idea of continued dialogue with youth organisations.

“We must be ready to make bold decisions and do this in co-operation with young people,” she says. “We will have to put in place new instruments, both economic and social.”

The prime ministers stress that the transformation of society must include everyone. Not all change can be rapid.

“I’m concerned that the climate crisis is polarising society,” says Jakobsdottír. “In our vision for Nordic co-operation, we emphasise not only green sustainability, but also social sustainability, which is a key element of the Nordic welfare state. No one can be excluded,” she points out.