The 13th Petersberg Climate Dialogue, held between 17 and 19 July immediately after the G7 summit and interim negotiations in Bonn, brought together senior representatives from some 40 countries to pave the way towards COP27. As part of the Petersberg Climate Dialogue, an ICN volunteer also participated in the informal exchange with German government representatives and other young civil society delegates.
A time to build trust
The Petersberg Climate Dialogue, co-organised by the German Federal Foreign Office and the country holding the current COP27 chairmanship, Egypt, was a moment of multilateral discussion to build confidence ahead of the November negotiations. In organising the Dialogue, the German Foreign Ministry, which hosted it for the first time (after taking over the climate diplomacy delegation previously assigned to the Ministry of the Environment), decided to establish a dialogue with young people from civil society, to listen to ideas, at a time when the German Ministry itself is outlining its new action plan.
If you have been following our social channels now, you may remember that 19 July saw the participation of an ICN volunteer, Aurora Audino, as Young Climate Delegate for Italy, in the informal meeting organised with the German Minister for Foreign Affairs, Annalena Baerbock, the Secretary of State and Special Envoy for International Climate Action, Jennifer Morgan, and 40 other young delegates from the states invited to the Dialogue.
In the same rooms where the state representatives had met a few hours earlier, the young people were welcomed in the Foreign Affairs Office by the Minister and the Secretary of State, who opened the meeting by presenting the priorities discussed in those days, among which were climate change (loss and damage), the achievement of climate finance targets, the acceleration of the energy transition and energy efficiency, despite the current slowdown due to the Russian crisis.
The meeting with young people from civil society Aurora had the opportunity to intervene by asking the Minister a question on how to operationalise the principle of intergenerational equity to create a more structured process for the participation of young people at the decision-making tables. In particular, she asked the Minister’s opinion on the establishment of a Young Climate Delegate and a special fund to support and educate young people (full question here).
Responding to the speech, the Minister emphasised the importance of recognising the existence of different levels of participation and at the same time strengthening democratic institutions, first and foremost the Parliament, avoiding the creation of alternative centres of power, especially in these times of instability. At the national level, the Minister emphasised that in Germany, for example, “we have worked a lot on the participation of young people in Parliament and the participation of civil society in decision-making processes is very important, while we are still working on gender equity.” At the international level, Germany also supports young people and countries in the South financially and this is something that could be discussed and taken forward at the European level.
The Minister appeared less convinced about the idea of structuring youth participation in international climate negotiations by institutionalising the figure of the Young Delegate. For Baerbock it is fundamentally a question of credibility while, according to her, “the way forward is through listening and consultation, like this meeting, where we try to include your voices while we are creating our foreign policy guidelines.”
The repetition of this event next year and a greater integration of young people’s ideas into the more political Dialogue meetings could be the first step. Will it be enough?
Article by Aurora Audino, Italian Climate Network Volunteer
The Petersberg Climate Dialogue was established in 2010 by former Chancellor Angela Merkel, to improve communication between Heads of State (selected on an annual basis) and Environment Ministers, after the failure of COP15 in Copenhagen in 2009. The first Petersberg Climate Dialogue took place on the Petersberg in Bonn, hence the name. Since then, it has been held in Berlin.