COY16 (Conference of Youth) took place between the 28th and the 31st of October in Glasgow, UK. Organized by YOUNGO (the official UNFCCC youth constituency), the conference is recognized by the UN as the main moment of debate and youth dialogue preliminary to the COP. Italian Climate Network participated in COY with Giulia Persico, national coordinator of COY16 and part of the Italian delegation in the youth conference in Glasgow.
The sixteenth edition saw the participation of more than 400 young people aged between 18 and 35 from 120 countries which Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change. Four days of crucial conferences, debates, workshops, and moments of discussion for the global youth movement, with the purpose of dialogue and develop proposals to be reported immediately in the following climate negotiation. A negotiation built by young people and for young people, through a bottom-up process, as a result of the commitment of hundreds of young professionals from all over the globe.
In the Opening Ceremony, Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon urged the young delegates to make their voices heard more and more, recognizing the great impact that climate change has on new generations. Three representatives of the indigenous peoples of the Amazon then underlined the importance of respecting and reconnecting with nature, with a concert of traditional music.
The COY offered a unique opportunity for discussion between activists and young professionals, to exchange ideas and suggestions, but also to talk with sector experts. Moreover, an area was dedicated to green jobs allowing the delegates to dialogue with some companies and associations that are moving towards the ecological transition.
Several workshops have involved high-level speakers, such as the one held by the French Climate Fresk association on climate education, the event on the oceans and climate change of the One Ocean Hub Association, and the WMO event on Water and Climate.
But mainly, the Conference was devoted discussing the Global Youth Statement, a political document that will be presented during COP26 and will officially represent the voice of young people during the negotiations. The Statement is based on contributions collected during the year from individuals, associations and institutions from around the World and from the Local COYs (LCOYs), and contains both general recommendations and specific proposals on individual countries, focused on several crucial climate-related issues.
The main topics included in the declaration concern: climate justice, the principle of inclusion in the COP and in the other processes of the UNFCCC, financial support for the most affected peoples and areas (MAPA), energy, climate finance, the loss and damage mechanism, food and agriculture, sustainable cities and communities, mobility and transport, health, sustainable consumption and production, water, sanitation and oceans, wildlife and environmental conservation.
The general request that unifies all the Global Youth Statement topics concerns the active inclusion of young people in all decision-making processes on climate change, nationally and internationally, through an intersectional approach and recognizing that climate change affects some communities and social groups in a disproportionate way and represents a socio-political crisis that requires systemic and radical action.
The closing ceremony was attended by Patricia Espinoza, the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, who has always been a firm supporter of youth inclusion in the climate negotiation process, and the President of COP26 Alok Sharma, who reiterated the importance of youth participation in decision-making processes. Moreover, he invited the young people of the COY to participate in the event of November 5th during the COP, a day entirely dedicated to young people, and during which the proposals collected during the Youth4Climate in Milan and the COY Global Youth Statement will be presented and discussed.
Appointment at the COP with the hope that leaders will turn the promises of inclusion of young people into action.
by Giulia Persico, ICN School Project Coordinator and COY16 Coordinator for Italy
You are reading this ICN COP Bulletin article as part of the EC DEAR SPARK project. Marirosa Iannelli, Coordinator of the Climate & Advocacy Department of ICN, overviews this activity. ICN monitors negotiations and reports what is happening in Italian and English, on our website and on social channels, as part of a pan-European consortium of over 20 non-profit organizations committed to promoting climate awareness with particular attention to the role of young people and issues related to international cooperation and gender policies.