Siiri with youth participants from the United Kingdom Youth Climate Coalition as well as two members of the Arab Youth Climate Coalition from Algeria
Saturday was the second day of the Conference of Youth at Education City. Although I attended a regional breakout session in which youth from North America met to strategize around lobbying issues and action ideas at COP, the majority of the agenda was dedicated to workshop time. These workshops were conducted by youth from around the world who presented on various topics regarding climate change advocacy and organizing in the context of the UNFCCC. The first workshop I attended, “Contaminated COP”, addressed the intimate relationship that the fossil fuel industry has at COP and how they consequently undermine the progress of the negotiations. Led by a member of the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition, the workshop stressed the importance of mobilizing in numbers against the incredibly influential power of the fossil fuel companies – an industry that is funded by the most profitable businesses in the history of the world.
A presenter at COY who is organizing a climate march here in Doha
The second workshop I attended, a “Crash Course on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change” outlined the organization and institutions at COP and which issues these groups deal with. The UNFCCC is a very complex network of different negotiating bodies, thus I will not even attempt to summarize the complete organization of this UN entity. However, check out this interactive guide to the UN created by the United Kingdom Youth Climate Coalition if interested in learning more: http://ukycc.org/understanding-the-un-climate-talks/ ! Although I was familiar with the UNFCCC set-up prior to the workshop, I learned a great deal of additional information about what will be negotiated at this COP. In particular the workshop focused on the 2020 Global Treaty, a negotiating document that will be implemented after the Kyoto Protocol expires. I will be following up on the status of this treaty in the negotiations for the next week.
After the second day of the Conference of Youth concluded, I headed to the American School of Doha to meet up with the four students and their fearless teacher/leader from the School of Environmental Studies (SES). So from now on, the students of SES and their teacher Craig Johnson, the students from the American School of Doha and their teacher Julie Puckett, and myself (acting as a representative of the Will Steger Foundation/student of Smith College) will be attending COP as a multi-faceted delegation of High School and University students! Collectively we will be working to: 1) follow the negotiations, 2) relay the events at COP to our respective home communities, 3) and lobby delegates on youth issues. It’s sure to be an exciting week at COP18!
The two images below are of a map and cardboard sign explanation from an initiative entitled #climatelegacy. This is a project which is trying to locate and identify geographical places that youth have witnessed and been affected by climate change.