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YOUNGistan & climate change!

GT brings you snapshots from the 20th United Nations Conference of Parties on Climate Change (COP 20), held at Lima, Peru. The 10th Conference of Youth on Climate Change (COY 10), held parallel to the COP, brought together over 1,000 youth from all around the world. Driven by the international organisation Youth United for Climate Progress (YOUNGO), COY 10 focused on ensuring the youth’s engagement in global actions against climate change, reports Kiran Pandey from Lima.



A group of 700 children chosen as COP commandos held a green and white pasteboard to form a piece of human land art for the entire world to see. The images formed by five movements of the pasteboard sheets send a clear message that “Children are aware of the effects of climate change and commit themselves to taking action for its mitigation.”

Environmental organizations and networks of the youth too attended COP 20 to get their voices heard for just and fair negotiations and agreements favouring the nations which are the most vulnerable to climate change and the impacts. They ensured their participation through various activities such as seminars, side events, marches, musical presentations, interaction with climate leaders, press conferences, and the intervention with the distinguished presence of Capitan Planet, the hero from an environmental 1990 cartoon show that is reportedly due to return as a live action film.

COP 20 personalities inspire

An interactive meeting between the youth delegation and the UN climate chief Christiana Figueres was a notable event. Figueres said she understood the frustration of the youth and suggested them to be part of this global governmental process in a formal way. She advised them to make formal submissions on the texts being discussed by parties. “Do not underestimate the power of submissions. Take advantage of that because it is your formal avenue to influence the process,” she said.


Exploit the power of internet and social media

Figueres also proposed setting up a section on the UN’s climate website dedicated to young people, called Voices of Youth. She called upon the youth to exploit the power of social media: “You are all born with the chip of social media in your brain. Please exploit that.”

‘On the road to COP21 and beyond – Youth Climate Action’, a side event underlined the role of youth and called for an increase of least 30 per cent of young participants for COP 21 to be held in Paris next year.


Another side event on 'Youth Proposals for the 2015 Agreement: Intergenerational Equity and Bypassing US Ratification” covered a range of proposals to address important issues for the negotiations, such as how to achieve intergenerational equity and how to conduct an effective treaty with or without US ratification. Timothy Damon from SustainUS, stressed that young people are often disempowered as a result of lack of technical knowledge, and called for education and training. Federico Brocchieri, Youth Section National Coordinator, Italian Climate Network, called for decentralized cooperation, co-decision making and capacity building, he said that youth participation can be promoted through official youth delegates and stressed on environmental education as an integral part of environmental curriculum.


The younger generation is very much aware that they will be amongst those most affected by climate change and therefore, were at their best, trying to get their voices heard through various actions and demonstrations throughout the conference. But their messages and concerns must reach out beyond the conference and debates. What needs to follow now is responsible actions from leaders and negotiators. All the way to COP21 in Paris.

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YOUNGistan & climate change!