URDD GOBAITH CYMRU, Wales’ largest national youth organisation will share its annual Peace and Goodwill Message today (May 18), which is unique to Wales. This year’s powerful message, on the theme of the Climate Emergency, calls upon the people of the world to hold big businesses to account and to urge governments to take urgent action, saying “it’s time to wake up”.

The message was released in video form on the Urdd’s social media platforms at 7:30am. The message will also be launched at a dedicated event for the Peace Message at the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo, Norway, in the company of the First Minister Mark Drakeford and the young people from Aberystwyth University who are responsible for creating this year’s Message.

A number of well-known faces from the Football Association of Wales’s first female and male teams have already shared a supportive video, where Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale, two of the Urdd’s 4 million former members say – “it’s time to wake up”.

Each year on May 18 for the past 100 years the young people of Wales have shared a unique message of Peace to the world. The 2021 Message was the most successful to date, it was translated into 65 languages, viewed in 59 countries, and it reached over 84 million people worldwide. This years’ message is available in 101 languages.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “The Nobel Peace Centre is the ideal location for the Urdd to share the centenary peace message with the world. At a time when the peace of the world is in such peril, the message, and work of the Urdd in welcoming refugees to Wales have never been more significant. The theme of the climate emergency, too, will resonate with young people from around the globe as we work together to protect the fragile planet which we inhabit together.”

Each year the Urdd works with a different group of young people to help amplify and represent the voice of the youth of Wales. The centenary Climate Emergency message was created by Aberystwyth University students following a series of workshops held in late 2021. 

The Urdd Climate Emergency workshops featured special guest speakers from Friends of the Earth Cymru and Force of Nature, climate anxiety educators, as well as workshopping the David Attenborough film A Life on Our Planet, thanks to Climate Cymru and WWF. 

The workshops gave the students the opportunity to openly discuss their concerns and grievances about the climate emergency. One workshop also included a collaboration with students from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, where the young people compared opinions and thoughts on the climate emergency.

Siân Lewis, the Urdd’s Chief Executive said: “Sharing the Urdd’s peace message in the Nobel Peace Centre is very fitting for a century old peace message and being in such a significant place really is giving the voice of the youth of Wales the platform it deserves to be heard right across the globe.

“As an organisation, we have a duty to the next generation to use this platform to amplify their voices, because giving a voice to the young people of Wales is at the core of everything the Urdd does. We cannot ignore nor postpone the climate emergency, for the sake of our children and our children’s children everyone must act now, it really is ‘time to wake up’.”

In conjunction with sharing the climate emergency message, the Urdd has committed to reducing its carbon footprint and has created a net zero plan with a target of achieving net zero by 2050. In addition to the physical and behavioural changes necessary to achieve net zero, this year the Urdd is opening its first environmental residential centre for young people, in north Pembrokeshire.

Professor Elizabeth Treasure, Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University said: “We are very proud to support the Urdd’s Centenary Message of Peace and Goodwill and the central role that our students here at Aberystwyth have played in developing it. Climate change is the greatest challenge facing our planet, and our students’ personal commitment to reducing their carbon footprint is a source of inspiration to us all. 

“Their message also reflects a proud tradition of research and teaching excellence here at Aberystwyth in areas that can make a real difference in tackling the climate crisis. That work includes developing solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and develop vital food sources that are resilient to withstand its effects. And, our commitment extends to our own activities as well, as we work towards a zero-carbon estate by 2030.”

Each individual who took part in the message has made their own climate emergency promises, such as not shopping for fast fashion as well as buying local produce. In relation to the Norwegian journey for the students, the Urdd and Aberystwyth University are working with the Woodland Trust in Wales (Coed Cadw) and have donated to its carbon capturing and storing woodland protection plan. 

The message, available in 101 languages, can be downloaded here. The Urdd urges people around the globe to assist in amplifying the voices of the youth of Wales by sharing the message on social media from @Urdd and using #Heddwch100.