Page last updated at 19:20 GMT, Thursday, 17 December 2009

Summit limit hits young reporters

Many NGO delegates have been prevented from entering the Bella Conference Center for security reasons.

Among them is Aakash, a 15-year-old from London, who has been reporting from the UN Climate Change Summit. Here, he reflects on the feeling among other young journalists affected by the controls put in place.

By Aakash, 15, from Harrow, London
For BBC News School Report

Aakash, 15,  interviews Beatrice, 13, at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen
Obama sighting denied: Beatrice shares her disappointment with Aakash

There is anger among a group of young journalists who are unable to witness crucial climate change talks between world leaders on Friday.

On Wednesday, UN organisers restricted access to the Bella Conference Center for security reasons.

A group of 11 young reporters from the UK, Kenya, Indonesia, Holland and Sweden, who are backed by NGO Plan International, are suffering as a result.

Beatrice, 13, a youth journalist from Kenya, said: "I want to get inside so I can interview Barack Obama. He is from my country and he needs to remember what it's like for people to live there."

More than 120 leaders, including the US President, are due to attend the summit on Friday but few NGO representatives will be there to witness their negotiations.

The Danish government said it would arrange an alternative conference venue in Copenhagen for observer NGO members unable to enter the Bella Center on Thursday and Friday.

More than 45,000 people, of which 22,000 participants are from NGOs registered to enter the conference centre, which has a capacity of 15,000.

'A right to be here'

Supporting the plight of the young reporters, environmental campaigner Wangari Maathai has hit out at organisers.

Speaking in the Danish capital, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate said she was baffled that the group of Plan International-backed journalists had been shut out.

She said: "We have to appreciate the concerns that young people have. They have been invited here and have a right to be here. I think it's bad, I have no idea why the organisers are not able to accommodate as many people as they allowed to come here."

The Kenyan campaigner said the young reporters, and thousands of other young people, must now fight even harder to make sure their voices are heard. "Young people should keep campaigning, emailing, protesting, sending blogs. Everyone should send emails to Yvo de Boer," she added.

'Deal can be sealed'

Despite the ban, Maathai said she was still upbeat that a deal could be brokered at the crunch climate change talks. "I am optimistic about the conference. So many heads of states are here. That's a good sign," she said.

"They need political will to convince the citizens of their country and save the environment. I wish the best of luck to the negotiators who are working very hard - and we sometimes forget they are real people and don't get enough sleep."

And it's not just the delegates who are finding the conference tough going, according to Maathai.

"I wish it was not so cold, so we could do our things outside, but unfortunately it's freezing here!" she added.

Climate Change Interactive
19 Nov 09 |  Have Your Say


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