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Falkland Islander addresses the House of Commons from the dispatch

Wednesday, November 9th 2022 - 10:40 UTC
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Yahya Uqaili, from the dispatch box, read a several minutes speech on climate change and how it is affecting the Falklands Yahya Uqaili, from the dispatch box, read a several minutes speech on climate change and how it is affecting the Falklands
Uqaili exposed what he described the current global situation on climate change as one of  “decades of inaction”. Uqaili exposed what he described the current global situation on climate change as one of “decades of inaction”.

A Law student at Stoke-on-Trent became the first Falkland Islander to address his “peers” at the House of Commons last Friday during a special session of the United Kingdom's Youth Parliament, with Sir Lindsay Hoyle presiding the meeting.

Yahya Uqaili, from the Falkland Islands, from the dispatch box, read a several minutes speech on climate change and how it is affecting the Falklands, with little prospects of improving the current spell of dry weather and scarce water resources conditions. Uqaili exposed what he described as “decades of inaction”.

“It was great to welcome the UK Youth Parliament debate leads to Speaker's House. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the first time since 2019 that the UKYP is meeting in the House of Commons chamber,” commented Sir Hoyle. “It is important that these young people's views are amplified and listened to”.

The Speaker of the House also mentioned that this year included a new opportunity for young people from the British Overseas Territories to speak in the Commons. “I really enjoyed hearing from them all - about the issues that affect them and their experiences. I'm sure we will learn so much from their contributions.”

Passionate speeches and eloquent arguments were made on the most important issues affecting young people. During the debates, UK Youth Parliament focused on health-related issues as diverse as the cost of living crisis and the ongoing effects of climate change. Youth representatives from the UK Overseas Territories also addressed the UK Youth Parliament about ‘the most important issues affecting young people from their territories, such as climate change“.

The sessions besides Sir Lindsay Hoyle were presided by Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons Dame Rosie Winterton MP.

In a letter to the UK Youth Parliament Prime Minister Rishi Sunak MP, said, “I know that the cost of living and climate change will be high on your agenda. You can rest assured that these issues will be very much at the front of my mind this weekend.”

Members of Youth Parliament were joined by Paul Scully MP, Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy, Thangam Debbonaire MP, Shadow Leader of the House of the Commons and John Nicolson MP, SNP Spokesperson for the DCMS, Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, who also spoke from the despatch box in recognition of the UK Youth Parliament being the only external group allowed to hold debates in the House of Commons Chamber.

Ar the start of the session, Ms Debbonaire MP, made an empowering speech encouraging the youth campaigners to stand up for their ideas, and ”don't worry if you feel a little nervous, you are members of a brilliant generation“. She also mentioned to the Speaker that the marvelous group of 250 ”parliamentarians“ had chosen the campaigns to launch with the backing of half a million votes, ”which was 3,000 times the number of votes on which PM Rishi Sunak was elected”

You can watch the morning session and afternoon session on the UK Parliament's You Tube channel

Members of Youth Parliament are set to formally launch the campaigns in the coming months. UK Youth Parliament have started to develop campaign actions for the campaigns ahead.

The UK Youth Parliament is organized in such a way that it provides opportunities for 11-18 year olds to use their elected voice to bring about social change through meaningful representation and campaigning.

During their term of office, Members of Youth Parliament (MYPs) work with their MPs, decision-makers, councilors and local youth groups on the issues of greatest concern to their constituents.

Nationally, the views of young people are represented in the UK Youth Parliament manifesto, which contains statements on the issues Members of Youth Parliament think are most important.

Members of Youth Parliament across the UK work to give young people a voice – listening to marginalized groups, organizing events, making films, meeting MPs, lobbying for change, organizing campaigns and appearing in the media, all to amplify the views of their peers.

The role of a Member of Youth Parliament is increasingly being recognized at a local and national level. Some local authorities have given their MYPs equal status to their MPs, and the UK Youth Parliament works hard to enable Members of Youth Parliament to meet regularly with Government Ministers, Members of the Opposition and civil servants.

The UK Youth Parliament also works to promote the role and influence of Members of Youth Parliament to service providers, e.g. the transport industry and health services.

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