Youth advocates urge int’l court to issue legal clarity on the responsibility of states to reduce carbon emissions

Intergenerational solidarity vital in achieving the livable 1.5˚C Earth

Quezon City—Obtaining an Advisory Opinion on climate justice and human rights from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) will serve as a legal instrument to institutionalize the obligations of the state in addressing the prevailing climate crisis.

This was emphasized during the 32nd episode of The Climate Reality Project Philippines’ Klimatotohanan webcast series entitled “Sama-sama Para sa Klima: Intergenerational Solidarity towards Collective Climate Action.”

“By having this legal instrument [Advisory Opinion], then we have a document that lists the duties of the government in protecting the present and future generations,” Atty. Nicole Ponce, Front Convenor for Asia of World’s Youth for Climate Justice (WYCJ), said.

The WYCJ is a global youth-led movement advancing talks with the ICJ and the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to “clarify the obligations of states to protect the rights of current and future generations from the adverse effects of climate change.”

The impacts of climate change aggravate the condition of the planet spoiling the rights of the future generation of quality and equitable access to diverse natural resources.


Ponce emphasized during the webcast that the fight against climate change should not just be a fight of one generation but a collaboration across ages.

Citing indigenous people in our country who have exhibited remarkable practices to protect the environment, she highlighted that intergenerational solidarity in pursuing climate action is key to securing the livable 1.5˚C Earth the youth of this generation and future generations deserve.

Ponce also explained the concept of “intergenerational equity,” which centers on the partnership of each generation to maintain equitable access to the natural, cultural, and economic resources for the succeeding generations. She noted that the three (3) overarching principles of intergenerational equity are: (1) options for the next generation, (2) quality of the resources to be passed on, and (3) access to diversities.

Climate Reality Leader and youth climate advocate Roxanne Kythe Fado agreed, adding that all generations and sectors bear the responsibility of stewarding the environment as an inheritance for the future generation.

“Youth alone may not excel without the guidance of the earlier generation because they are more experienced while the youth can also offer something in return. This collaboration is really a game-changer because we are all part of the solution. Everybody’s participation could make our vision for the planet happen,” Fado added.


Christianne Santos, Social Transformation Manager of WeGen Philippines, pointed out that ageism remains one of the challenges in intergenerational climate action. 

Fado argued that no age shall define the level of participation in social discourses and movements. “There is no too young or too old when you do things you are passionate about. You are never too young to engage in political discourses if you develop your stand or critical analysis,” she added.

Another barrier, according to Ponce, is the lack of access of young people, especially those from the Global South, to international climate change negotiations. Financial capacity becomes an issue to participating in these salient climate conferences.


“The challenge is how we can ensure that we have good stakeholder collaboration, especially in engaging the most vulnerable. We need to hear all different communities. They say that community organizing starts from where they are and what they have. But the biggest challenge is maraming realities ang na-overlook ang climate emergency,” Santos said. “Yes, we need to focus on the basic needs of Filipino people but at the same time, we can also integrate climate emergencies with these concerns,” she added.

Santos recommended that non-government organizations, civil society groups, and government agencies reinforce their social work with climate issues.

“The world is full of stories, but in the end, these stories are all one. We all have one planet. Our lives are interconnected and in the same way, we must have the commitment, consistency, and compassion for the generation to come. It starts with us, but with collective action, we can do so much more,” Santos noted.