The Conference of the Parties, being the greatest platform for discussion and decision-making in the UNFCCC processes, has proven once more at its twenty-seventh session its aspiration for total inclusiveness by setting up a space solely dedicated to children and youth to showcase their contributions in finding solutions to the global climate crisis.
It is nowadays obvious that young people are globally at the forefront of climate innovations. From the scientific field through technology to the implementation of climate-ground activities, young people are showing more prowess in finding solutions to tackle the climate crisis. Though these few innovations authored by the youth are being funded by the senior generation, the access of the youth to the table of discussions is still a great challenge.
UNFCCC is showing gradual concern in addressing this challenge for the youth to have their voice heard and taken into consideration in decision- and policy-making. During this COP 27, the discussions around this topic have yielded one more fruit worthy of appreciation. For the first time in the history of COP, young people have been awarded their own space, which was named the “children and youth pavilion”. This forum was managed and coordinated by the young people themselves, with full autonomy. In the same perspective of more empowerment for youth, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres promised to urge governments to not just listen to the solutions put forward by young people, but to incorporate those solutions into the decision- and policy-making.
This youth led-space was filled throughout the whole conference period with youth-led workshops and events for young people organized in collaboration with actors from various ends. The COP presidency through the voice of H.E Sameh Shoukry reiterated their desire and efforts for total youth inclusion in the climate negotiation processes in these words: “ensuring that the youth are represented and have a seat at the table is of absolute importance as it is their future lives and livelihood that are directly impacted with the implementation of climate commitments”. The children and youth pavilion hosted various range of activities rich in content and colour that were inter alia informative, capacity building and showcasing of youth efforts. This opportunity promoted coordination of actions among the youth who were able to make their voice heard at this COP by:
- Sending a Youth Envoy to the negotiations and
- Presenting a Global youth statement via young representatives from the Conference of the Youth (COY 17) underlining key policy demands.
These key demands of the youth paid specific attention to:
- Action for climate empowerment
- Action for adaptation and resilience
- Accessible finance
The two last days of the conference have been more entertaining with activities such as music and short drama performances all meant to showcase the urgency for climate actions.
Finally, the youth by the channel of YOUNGO, showed their gratitude and appreciation through symbolic awards to some young people who made outstanding contributions in the climate space but mostly to various funders who supported most of the youth actions with their financial or technical support during the few past years.