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Water & Sanitation

Canada’s 13-Year-Old Indigenous Water Advocate to Speak at United Nations

A Canadian water advocate has been invited to speak at the United Nations General Assembly in New York next spring — and she’s only 13 years old.

Autumn Peltier, an Anishinaabe girl from Wikwemikong First Nation, is no stranger to addressing the issue of water protection on the international scale, and she will speak to the declaration of the International Decade for Action on Water for Sustainable Development when she addresses the UN.

“This is a huge thing that the world needs to hear ... and pay attention to what's going to happen to our planet,” she told CBC. “I'm representing my First Nations Peoples and I'm representing the water.”

The teenager’s devotion to water protection has not gone unnoticed.

Take Action: Urge Governments And Businesses To Invest In Clean Water And Toilets

In 2015, Peltier was invited to the Children's Climate Conference in Sweden and she was asked to introduce Justin Trudeau at the Assembly of First Nations Annual General Assembly in 2016.

The young advocate also made headlines when was nominated for the 2017 International Children's Peace Prize, and in January, she will receive the Sovereign's Medal for Volunteers.

“When I think about how polluted the water is already, I think of future generations and my grandchildren and their grandchildren. Will they even have clean drinking water?” Peltier told CTV Montreal.

Peltier has speaking engagements planned across the country over the next year, and while she is very busy, she sees the value in promoting water protection.

Read More: This 13-Year-Old Indigenous Girl Has Been Nominated for a Global Peace Prize

“I know that just from seeing and speaking in other places, I know that tons of people are hearing the message that me and tons of other people are trying to get out,” Peltier told CBC.

The General Assembly has chosen 2018-2028 to be the International Decade for Action Water for Sustainable Development. It will start on World Water Day, March 22, 2018, which is when Peltier is expected to speak.

The draft resolution outlines the need for sustainable development and integrated management of water resources, as well as measures needed to reach the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including Global Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Global Citizen campaigns on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, including issues related to water sanitation. You can take action here.