30,000 young Malagasy back strong Copenhagen deal

Posted on 17 December 2009
Members of Madagascar's Vintsy Club.
© WWF Madagascar
Antananarivo, Madagascar – Malagasy youth have mobilized to draw attention to the effects of climate change in Madagascar in a first-time signature pledge.

"When we talked about climate change a few years ago, it still seemed like something abstract, happening in the major industrialized countries only,” said Ralimihanta Sidonie, a pupil at St. Louis private school in Ambositra, a village situated on the plateaus of Madagascar. “Yet the changes are taking place before our very eyes in our everyday environment.”

Sidonie is one of 30,000 Malagasy youth who have signed a statement delivered to the Copenhagen summit demanding a fair and binding climate deal. The signatures were collected by youth like Sidonie who are members of the Vintsy Club.

With the slogan ‘To love and protect nature,’ Vintsy Clubs are a key element of WWF’s environmental education program in Madagascar. There are about 270 clubs in action on the big island, with each one counting about 50 members.

All on their own, the members of Vintsy clubs have managed to collect over 21,000 signatures. Since the beginning of the school year, they have created a real information campaign and have raised awareness among thousands of other young people to take action for the planet.

"I did not hesitate a moment to sign as climate change and its effects on our planet are more than obvious," said Sidonie. "In Madagascar, particularly in the area of Ambositra, fires ravage thousands of hectares of forest each year. Because of deforestation, we are depriving ourselves of the services of an important ally in the fight against CO2 emissions, not to mention other damage such as erosion. "

Nine thousand scouts in Madagascar also have signed the declaration calling for a fair, ambitious and binding climate deal during the current summit in Copenhagen.

"Signing this declaration is an act of citizenship, but also a decision to share with the world's youth, a common concern about the fate of future generations,” said Ramaroson Domoin, a member of the female Scout Movement "Mpanazava".

For this young Malagasy," the major industrial countries must realize that their prosperity should no longer be at the expense of developing countries. These really need a fair and equitable cooperation to address problems caused by climate change. "

With more than 30,000 signatures, young Malagasy can boast of being the third major group of signatories worldwide.

“This is an action that gives much hope," said Rachel Senn Harifetra, head of the Vintsy Project at WWF Madagascar and West Indian Ocean Program, "it reinforces our belief that young people may well be among the drivers of change to address the threat to our planet, in both rich and poor countries. "

Members of Madagascar's Vintsy Club.
© WWF Madagascar Enlarge