The Role of Youth in International Climate Negotiations

siiriinternationalyouthclimatemuralI am attending COP22 as a delegate of Climate Generation as well as a young person concerned about the future of our climate. Every years hundreds of young people like myself come to these UN climate negotiations to lobby for their rights and ambitious targets to combat climate change. The umbrella organization for young people at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is called YOUNGO (the Youth “NGO”). Today and tomorrow is the gathering of youth – aptly called “The Conference of Youth”, or COY. This year COY is taking place at Cadi Ayyad Université in Marrakech.

It is helpful for youth to gather and organize prior to the climate negotiations because our agenda is much stronger if we have coordinated goals. There are a number of specific issues that youth are lobbying for this year. Today at the Conference of Youth I learned about one of the key issues that youth are lobbying for at COP22 called “Action for Climate Empowerment”, or ACE. This topic was originally outlined in Article 6 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It concerns education about climate change, public access on information for climate change, participation in mitigation and adaptation for climate change, and training for scientific and professional positions to build capacity to address climate change.

Most countries do not find this article to be a negotiating priority and rather focus on mitigation, adaptation, and finance. In fact right now many countries do not have climate education in their national curriculum. Consequently there is a push to have this issue taken more seriously at COP22.

It is the unfortunate reality that education is often overlooked as a priority at international climate negotiations. However young people attending COP22 hope to change that this year. It will not be an easy task but there are many passionate youth who will fight for this cause this year at COP.

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