Port of Call
The Ocean and Climate Youth Ambassadors visit the Pavilion of Knowledge in Lisbon, Sep 27, 2017
The Ocean and Climate Youth Ambassadors posing with the SDG logo.
The Ocean and Climate Youth Ambassadors, seven young men and women from small island developing states, visited the Pavilion of Knowledge in Lisbon, Portugal to give testimony about how climate change has affected their home countries. The Youth Ambassadors are traveling with Peace Boat from Barcelona to New York and visited Lisbon when the ship made its port of call there on 25 September. Upon disembarking, they posed with the logo for the UN's Sustainable Development Goals painted on the ship. Goal 13 calls for urgent action to fight climate change, while Goal 14 calls for the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans; both are of central importance to small island states like theirs.

The COP 23 flag waving from atop the Sejas Feliz.
The Youth Ambassadors traveled to the Pavilion of Knowledge via a traditional sailing boat that used to be a commonplace sight in the Tagus River and its estuary. These Bote de Fragata' became obsolete after road bridges were built over the river, and now the boat, the Sejas Feliz, is one of only 70 that remain. The Ocean and Climate Youth Ambassadors Programme is an endorsed event of the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) to the UN Convention on Climate Change which will be held in November of this year, and the Youth Ambassadors asked the skipper to fly the COP 23 flag from the ship. It waved overhead during the hour-long journey along the coast of Portugal.

The Youth Ambassadors posing at the Pavilion of Knowledge.
The Youth Ambassadors walked from the dock to the Pavilion of Knowledge, an interactive science and technology museum near the coast in Parque das Nacoes. It is overseen by the Ciencia Viva organization, which promotes public awareness of science and technology in Portugal and works with public institutions and research laboratories. Cienca Viva runs events and initiatives for the general public as well as school children, including Science and Technology Week, Science in the Summer, and Science for Young People. They created the Pavilion of Knowledge museum in 1999 to promote an active citizenship based on scientific knowledge, and it remains the largest interactive science centre in Lisbon.

Selina Leem performing poetry about her home, the Marshall Islands.
The event began when Ana Noronha, Executive Director of Ciencia Viva, and politician Fausto Brito e Abreu, Director General for Maritime Policy, welcomed the Youth Ambassadors and gave a speech affirming the importance of their mission to fight climate change. Each of the ambassadors took to the stage and gave speeches and showed images of how rising sea levels, coastal erosion, and the increasing number of storms have affected their communities. Selina Leem, from the Marshall Islands, performed an emotional poem about the consequences of climate change on her home.

The question and answer session at the Pavilion of Knowledge.
After each of the Youth Ambassadors made their testimonies, the floor was opened for questions and answers and the audience seemed moved by the vigour of the ambassadors and their passion for their mission. The discussion continued over a light lunch where the ambassadors got to enjoy Portuguese food and sweets. Before leaving, they went through the museum to enjoy the exhibits there, and went on to visit the Oceanario de Lisboa, a large aquarium dedicated to encouraging young people to learn more about the oceans and marine species as well as to draw attention to current environmental issues.