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Football stars back youth organisation’s centenary message on climate emergency

Gareth Bale is among the football stars to back the Urdd Gobaith Cymru’s (The Welsh League of Youth) annual peace and goodwill message. (Football Association Wales)
Gareth Bale is among the football stars to back the Urdd Gobaith Cymru’s (The Welsh League of Youth) annual peace and goodwill message. (Football Association Wales)

Football stars have joined the largest youth organisation in Wales in urging business leaders and governments across the world not to ignore the climate emergency.

Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey are among the players who have appeared in a short video supporting the Urdd Gobaith Cymru’s (The Welsh League of Youth) annual peace and goodwill message.

This year’s message is focused on the environment and calls on those in power to take urgent action to protect the planet, saying: “It’s time to wake up.”

The students from Aberystwyth University who wrote the message and Wales’s First Minister Mark Drakeford will present it at the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo, Norway, on Wednesday.

First Minister Mark Drakeford with young people from Aberystwyth University delivering their peace message to the Nobel Peace Centre. (Johannes Granseth)
First Minister Mark Drakeford with young people from Aberystwyth University delivering their peace message to the Nobel Peace Centre. (Johannes Granseth)

Mr 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.”

A peace and goodwill message has been delivered every year for the last century by the young people of Wales, with 2022 being the charity’s centenary year.

Wales is the only country in the world that has produced such a message for a hundred years.

The first message was shared using Morse code, followed by the BBC World Service, and now it is most widely shared on social media.

Last year’s message was the most successful to date, having been translated into 65 languages and viewed in 59 countries, reaching more than 84 million people worldwide, with US politician Hillary Clinton among the notable names to express their support for it on Twitter.

This year it is available in 100 languages, and with promotion by Bale, Ramsey and a number of other well-known faces from the Football Association of Wales’s first female and male teams it is hoped the message will spread even further.

Urdd Gobaith Cymru’s message
Singer-songwriter Lily Beau, who is appearing in the Urdd Gobaith Cymru’s peace and goodwill message (Urdd Gobaith Cymru/PA)

Sian Lewis, the Urdd’s chief executive, said: “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.”

Alongside the 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.

It has also opened its first environmental residential centre for young people in north Pembrokeshire.

To offset the footprint created by the students travelling to Norway, the Urdd and Aberystwyth University have donated to its carbon capturing and storing woodland protection plan.