Youth involvement in the UN decision-making process has a strong and quite long history, back to the 1980s when the UN General Assembly and its Secretary General Kurt Waldheim (1972-1981) asked national governments to include youth delegates in their delegations. Regarding the issue of climate change, young people had early stood up for a sustainable transformation of our societies toward greener and low-carbon models. Indeed, since 1999 and the Bonn COP5, following the reinforcement of the role of civil societies in the international climate negotiations, youth has insured its position as a inevitable interlocutor of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Yet, young people are not only delivering a unique and monolithic speech but are on the contrary developing different positions regarding their own national and regional interests so it took several years to find a common position. In 2005, during Montreal COP11, young people from all around the world gathered for the first time to set up preparatory meetings called “Conferences of Youth” (COY) in order to strengthen their participation to the climate negotiations. Four years later, in 2009, during the Copenhagen COP15, the UNFCCC secretariat officially granted a provisional constituency status to the youth non-governmental organizations under the name of YOUNGO. For the first time ever, worldwide youth challenged climate change with one single voice.
While we may not be able to prevent floods, droughts or earthquakes, we have learnt that steps can be taken to mitigate risks. From March 14 to 18th, 2015, Japan welcomed 6,500 delegates to share lessons on reducing disaster risk. Four years after the devastating earthquake and tsunami that killed more than 15,000 people in the Tohoku region, Japanese keep working hard to build back their towns and communities in a better way.
From December 2nd to December 6th 2014, while diplomats from all over the world started negotiating a new global climate change agreement at Lima’s COP20, another significant event took place in several French and European cities: the 2014 edition of the China-Europa Forum co-organized by the Leopold Mayer Foundation on the theme of climate change. The final agreement text of the conference will be posted on the Forum website.
Special article : One of the sessions of the CliMates International Summit took place 100% online, as a truly unprecedented experiment of what collective intelligence can do. Thanks to a simple shared document we provided an original answer to the question « How is youth climate mobilization changing the world?« .
While global leaders are expected to take action on climate change at COP21 in 2015, youth movements are getting involved to create the necessary anticipation and expectation that often act as the first spark of momentum. Youth movements driving action will determine the dedication and energy with which their own generations will protect the planet when it is their turn to lead. Often accused to stay sat behind a computer screen, young activists defiantly reject the image of being passive leaders in a digital era. In their own words: ‘We are not clicking. We are fighting!’ That spirit will also be felt during this week’s climate summit. What is the youth approach to pick up the fight?Lire la suite « We are not clicking. We are fighting! »→
It’s hard to admit, but after a few years of activism on climate change (or, I would imagine, most other issues), it’s not uncommon for our young imaginations to start shrinking. A failure at the climate talks, an ambitious event with a disappointing follow-up, an online campaign that goes unnoticed… many things can act as a reminder that as young people in the climate battle, there are many things which work against us. We lack experience, contacts and resources; we are disorganized and tend to dilute our efforts; we sometimes fail to bridge the credibility gap with our elders.