In YOUNGO, we work within several working groups, each of them focusing on a specific topic. This week, I joined the ACE (Action for Climate Empowerment) working group. We were about 20 youth from various countries, backgrounds and organizations meeting everyday at 9am after the unconditional YOUNGO meeting.
ACE refers to Article 6 of the Convention and Article 12 of the Paris Agreement . It states that Parties shall cooperate in taking measures, as appropriate, to enhance climate change education, training, public awareness, public participation and public access to information.
To advocate on these issues, we organized and achieved several things.
We informed all the parties on our work
Emailing each country’s ACE focal points, we wanted to arrange meetings with them to get their perspectives on ACE and to know more about their inputs concerning this subject. We had several replies from negotiators keen onto exchanging with the ACE working group and curious about our work. Actually that was really encouraging as COP schedule are sometimes too full to plan additional meetings. Taking this great atmosphere to our advantage, we met more than 30 delegates, even some heads of delegations and the Prime Minister of Ireland !
We discussed about:
- How do they organise to push ACE further within their delegation? in their country?
- How do they include youth into the process?
- What were their main challenges and difficulties concerning that topic?
- According to them, what was missing to do great on ACE?
It was also the occasion to advocate for the Youth Delegate Program, to advertise the policy paper we wrote, to tease our NDCs analysis and of course to lobby to make ACE a top priority and a fundamental for tackling climate change.
What came out of these meetings
- The national focal points on ACE lack time to work on this topic.
- Also, even though they wanted to implement it was sometimes hard to push it on the top of the political agenda as they were already facing many challenges at national level.
- Finally, they did not know very much on what was doing by other parties but were eager to exchange more about that !
Having all this information in mind we organized a workshop to gather ACE national focal points and people interested in this issue to get them work on that. Here a video which sums it up.
Our NDCs analysis and our Policy Paper
The work on these two important documents started during the COY12, the week before the COP22. We teased the release of our work Saturday night during YOUNGO’s press conference on “Youth perspective on the first week of COP22, and outlook for the second week » and both were made public on Monday 14th of November 2016, the Education Day of COP22.
On the one hand, the policy paper was meant to be an official document everyone can refer to. Especially we targeted ACE national focal points, the secretariat focal point on ACE and every youth. It provides our stands on this topic. Don’t hesitate to read it there.
On the other hand, the NDCs analysis was looking at whether ACE or youth were mentioned in parties’ NDCs. Our aim was to showcase the consideration of ACE and youth in them. Sadly, results are not good … I let you have a look at the brief and detailed analysis. Careful, many parties do not mention these 2 topics in their NDCs and then get a “bad grade”. However it does not mean they are not doing anything but shows a lot about how ACE is prioritized at an international negotiation level.
A great reference has been done to them the high level event on Education and a round of applause followed it, all that with the Princess Lalla Hasna of Morocco , the UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova and the UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinoza.
Negotiation tracking was not left aside by our working group.
Great news was released on Wednesday 9th of November. Two hours after some of us met the Grenada delegation, this country raised the point that ACE was a “homeless issue” that needed further guidance during the APA negotiation on “PA agenda item 8: informal consultations on further matters related to implementation of the PA ».
After having heard of that, we followed up the negotiations on that topic. We heard many times Brasil talking the floor to push to integrate ACE into the SBI. Other countries were willing to put ACE under SBSTA or to let it under the APA and only report it to the COP. A draft was made but the EU and the umbrella group did not like it. So ACE will stay under the APA until, at least, 2017…
What’s next ?
Now we need to prepare the next Bonn intersession which will take place in May 2017. Especially, we will work on the ACE dialogue and the review of the Doha work program on Article 6 of the Convention. And for sure, all the ACE working group, feeling empowered by these past two weeks, will continue advocating on Action for Climate Empowerment at a regional, national and local level, developing platforms and organizing events.
About the author: Alice Guérin is a master student in Sustainable Development and Corporate Social Responsibility at Université Paris-Dauphine. She is active within the CliMates’ Community and Skills #CCSteam, passionate about ACE related topics at the international and theoretical level but also, more concretely, on its implementation on the ground.