UniTed naTiOns ClimaTe negOTiaTiOns

COPenHagen deCember 2009


THe mOVemenT’s COming OF age

“Our answer is the world's hope – it is to rely on youth. The cruelties and the obstacles of this swiftly changing planet will not yield to obsolete dogmas and outworn slogans. It cannot be moved by those who cling to a present which is already dying, who prefer the illusion of security to the excitement and danger which comes with even the most peaceful progress.” This world demands the qualities of youth – not a time of life but a state of mind: a temper of the will, a quality of imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the life of ease.”

Robert F. Kennedy, “Day of Affirmation” Cape Town, South Africa, 6 June 1966


P4 - Climate Change: Youth Participation and Empowerment P5 - The Ladder of Youth Participation P6 - YOUNGO constituency at the UNFCCC P7 - Youth @ COP15 P8 - Benefits of youth collaboration at the UNFCCC talks: dual outcomes P10 - Youth are globally conscious - north-south connections, regional coordination, Global south youth P12 - Bilateral Partnerships P13 - Feature: USA-China youth P14 - COY5 - Conference of Youth P18 - Youth and Future Generations Day P20 - Youth Arcade @ COP15 P22 - Youth Policy - participation in government delegations P23 - Youth Policy - working groups and interventions P24 - Youth influencing national politics, policy briefings P26 - Youth Media P27 - Artspace P28 - Inspiring the Movement: 2010 Initiatives P30 - Conclusion

If you are viewing this report as a PDF, click on hyperlinks and ‘multimedia corners’ throughout to reach youth climate websites and youth-produced multimedia materials. See more at www.youthclimate.org 3

ClimaTe CHange: YOUTH ParTiCiPaTiOn
“No decisions about us, without us!”

Climate change is the issue which will define the generation of today’s youth. Youth understand that climate change is not only an environmental issue but also one of social justice, industrial and economic reform, women’s rights, poverty and development, trade and commerce, and indigenous rights. As stakeholders – those who will be the most affected by climate change – youth have a right to fully and effectively participate in political decisions being made today. Today’s decisions must treat future generations with equal regard to present generations, to satisfy the principle of intergenerational equity.

Various social and structural tendencies in decisionmaking mean that youth are often left out of decisions about their future. Youth voices may be tokenised or ignored by government and the media, due to a perceived lack of experience. Youth may not have a vote, a say, or the opportunity to become decision-makers in their government, economic and social systems. Thus, children and youth are a marginalised, ‘minority’ group, despite under-28’s comprising half the world’s population. However, history shows that, when great systemic change is required, youth have been key in imagining, embracing and creating that change. Youth have fewer ties to the past and are more open to future possibilities. They will carry their formative ideals and experiences throughout their adult lifetime. Youth are the best vehicle for creating change. Youth participation and empowerment in addressing the climate crisis should, therefore, not be discounted and de-prioritised, but instead invested in and supported.

“We did not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrowed it from our grandchildren.”

Native American Proverb
Youth participation should not be seen as a burden on decision-makers, but instead as a wise and necessary choice for creating quality, durable policy. Youth are the present and future ‘implementers’ of today’s decisions – ignoring youth input today may lead to decisions which youth are unwilling to implement in coming years and decades. As implementers, youth must also be empowered, developing the skills, networks and knowledge required to create sustainable transformation in our communities and our world.

inFO COrner:
Civil Society participation is recognised as providing both expertise and transparency to governmental decision-making processes like the UN climate talks. The following references discuss the right of civil society and youth to participate in UN processes: • • Agenda 21 of the 1992 Rio Declaration. Sections 10.3, 25.2, 25.4, 25.7 Article 16 of the recently adopted resolution of the UN General Assembly on Policies and Programmes involving Youth. The Aarhus Convention (1998) European Youth Forum (YFJ) Guide for youth NGOs at UN Meetings

• •


and emPOWermenT
assessing YOUTH ParTiCiPaTiOn
Youth participation in decision-making on climate change can be seen in the context of a ‘Ladder of Participation’: are youth merely informed about the decision-making process; are they consulted with someone else making the ultimate decisions, or are youth deeply involved in and sharing the decision-making? ‘Youth Participation’ is often thought to be fulfilled when lower forms of participation such as access and informing occur. In 2009, youth participation in governmental and international negotiations moved a number of steps up the ladder, as described in this report. Youth also moved up the participation ladder within civil society, by developing independent campaigns and partnerships with nonyouth organisations in education, campaigning and implementation of climate solutions. However, moving further up the ladder of participation requires further transformation of decision-making processes, and while progress was made in 2009, there is much further to go in 2010 and beyond. Youth-led organisations and regional collaborations are pushing continuously for further improvement, towards full and effective youth participation at all levels. The ideal participatory model includes not only youth, but all marginalised stakeholders – indigenous people, women, the poor and the under-educated.
© 2008 Adam Fletcher on behalf of The Freechild Project. See a full description at www.freechild.org/ladder.htm

Agenda 21, UN Earth Summit
Programme of Action from Rio 1992

Item 25.2: “It is imperative that youth from all parts of the world participate actively in all relevant levels of decision-making processes because it affects their lives today and has implications for their futures. In addition to their intellectual contribution and their ability to mobilise support, they bring unique perspectives that need to be taken into account.” Item 25.4: “Each country should, in consultation with its youth communities, establish a process to promote dialogue between the youth community and Government at all levels and to establish mechanisms that permit youth access to information and provide them with the opportunity to present their perspectives on government decisions .”


‘YOUngO’ history:
A youth constituency was first discussed at COP10 in Buenos Aires, 2004. As youth participation grew, from less than 50 youth to over 200 by 2007, and then to over 500 youth at COP14 in 2008, it was clear that a more constant, more committed and more global youth climate network was developing and growing rapidly. This network of youth organisations prepared together for COPs, and cooperated consistently throughout each year by sharing strategies and ideas, independent of other NGO networks. This independence demonstrated the need for a separate constituency. The United Nations process under the ‘Framework Convention on Climate Change’ (UNFCCC) is the only truly global government forum for negotiating humanity’s shared solution to global warming. It is critical that youth and children participate effectively in this forum, to address the most important issue of our generation. The UNFCCC was established in 1992. For 18 years – the entire lifetime of the world’s 2 billion children – the negotiations have attempted to bring all nations together to ‘stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.’ (Article 2, Objective of the UNFCCC) In 2009, youth and children’s participation in the UNFCCC process took a great step forwards. Although youth have attended the UN climate negotiations for many years, youth are now formally recognised as a legitimate stakeholder group or ‘constituency’, whose voice should be ‘at the table’. Known as YOUNGO (“Youth NonGovernmental Organisations”), the constituency status enabled youth to be acknowledged as an independent stakeholder group at COP15 (the 15th “Conference of the Parties” under the UNFCCC) in Copenhagen, December 2009. In 2009 the application was formally submitted to and approved ‘on probation’ under the UNFCCC. A final decision on constituency status will be made prior to COP17 in 2011, based on the assessment of the constituency’s work in relation to the UNFCCC process. Coupled with generous financial support from the Government of the Netherlands, facilitated by the UNFCCC Secretariat, the YOUNGO constituency has increased not only the legitimacy of youth participation in the UNFCCC process, but has also increased numbers and global representativeness of youth participation, as well as raising the public profile of youth in media and in civil society.

Children in YOUngO
The participation of child delegates at COP15 helped to give a voice to the next generation of youth. UNICEF’s climate programme supported 8 Child Climate Ambassadors to participate at youth-led events, as well as a panel debate with the Danish climate change minister, climate rock concerts in Copenhagen, and in media press conferences. Other under-18s from various groups also worked within YOUNGO. With no strict age-limit boundary between the two age groups, there is a strong recognition that ‘youth’ – independent young adults – and ‘children’, who are actively supported by adults and young adults, need to work together.

• • • • • • • • • Business & Industry Non-Government Organisations (BINGO) Children and Youth (YOUNGO) Environmental Non-Government Organisations (ENGO) Farmers Indigenous People’s Organisations (IPOs) Local Government and Municipal Authorities (LGMA) Research & Independent Non-Government Organisations (RINGO) Trade Union Non-Government Organisations (TUNGOs) Women & Gender


diversity in YOUngO
Over 1500 youth from more than 130 countries participated as part of YOUNGO at COP15. It was the largest and most diverse group ever to attend a UNFCCC session, indicating how rapidly the youth climate movement has grown around the world in the last year. Youth in YOUNGO come from diverse cultural, academic, political and socioeconomic backgrounds. The constituent youth groups and organisations use different tactics – from peer-to-peer education, to political campaigning, to civil disobedience, to diplomacy and government negotiation, to implementing ground-level change in local communities. They are motivated by diverse concerns, from environment to poverty, economics or human rights. Many youth come from advanced academic backgrounds, with specialisations in international environmental law, the Clean Development Mechanism or social change theory. Many youth also come from communities experiencing first-hand climate impacts, and still others are working on climate issues full-time within their organisations. As such, the passionate actions, protests and speeches of youth, and their ambitious policy positions, are based upon a deep understanding of the climate issue. Despite the diversity of YOUNGO, youth are united, sharing a common ambition, a common voice, and a common enthusiasm to work together, and understand each other, to solve the climate crisis.

YOUngO activities @ COP15
The activities detailed in this report are as diverse as the youth movement: negotiations with officials and politicians; impassioned public statements in UN plenary sessions; artistic actions, media stunts and protests; blogging and new media; traditional media outreach; training and capacity-building workshops; and global coordination meetings. Many YOUNGO activities at COP were made possible by generous funding from the Government of the Netherlands, an arrangement facilitated by the UNFCCC Secretariat. These activities empowered youth, from more regions than ever, to participate more effectively than ever in the UNFCCC process, with a series of high-impact events. YOUNGO has also received collaborative support from “Growing together in a changing climate”, a joint initiative of several UN agencies, whose goal is to facilitate more coordinated and effective climate change initiatives for children and youth in their countries, and to facilitate a greater engagement of children and youth in intergovernmental UN processes. Sadly, many of these activities, as well as the participation of youth in the conference overall, was negatively affected by the exclusion of civil society from the final days of the conference – of the 24,000 civil society members registered for the conference, only 300 were permitted to enter the conference centre on the final days, with only 12 of these being youth.

COP15 Youth Press Conference


beneFiTs OF YOUTH COllabOraTiOn
at the UnFCCC talks: dual outcomes
The YOUNGO community consists of youth brought together by the UN process. However, their collaboration at UNFCCC talks produces results which benefit both the UNFCCC process and, equally importantly, the youth climate movement outside of the UN.

Benefits within the UNFCCC process
Youth provide a clear, constant moral reminder to government delegates at UNFCCC talks of the importance of their decisions for youth and future generations. Youth participation and campaigns, such as the 2009 ‘How old will you be in 2050?’ campaign, have resulted in a renewed appreciation of intergenerational equity within UNFCCC negotiations. This principle is at the core of youth engagement on climate change. ‘Intergenerational equity’ has been a principle of the UN climate negotiations since 1992, but after nearly two decades of talks, the principle had become buried in dense policy and politics. By returning attention to this principle in 2009, youth provided a clear standard against which the UNFCCC negotiations can be assessed – do the outcomes safeguard the rights of future generations? YOUNGO also benefit the UNFCCC process through their actions and policy work demonstrating solidarity with Small Island Developing States and the most climatevulnerable nations. These nations and youth share a common vulnerability, and thus, similar policy positions. Vulnerable countries also tend to have small, underresourced UN delegations, and therefore benefit directly from youth cooperation. Youth influence the text of the negotiations via official participation on government delegations, policy submissions, and by developing relationships and influence with national negotiators. (See page 22-26.) “It is good for negotiators to step back and be reminded what they are doing here. Your role is very important here.”
Michael Zammit Cutajar, 2009 Chair of the UNFCCC’s AWG-LCA negotiations, wears a youth ‘How Old Will You Be in 2050?’ T-shirt, and refers to his grandchildren as the plenary session begins. He will be 110 in 2050.

“The youthful, positive face of YOUNGO provides hope to other young people, broader society and negotiators. The unity of YOUNGO and the trust within the constituency projects onto outsiders. Talking with youth gives you a sense of hope and optimism that does not happen when you talk to old fogies.”

Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the IPCC

Yvo de Boer, UNFCCC Executive Secretary

Why 2050?
2050 is a reference year for climate science and politics. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that if we wish to avoid catastrophic global warming, global carbon emissions must decrease by at least 80% by 2050. If we achieve this, the 2050 world will be starkly different, but far more secure, than it is today. Today’s youth, now just beginning their working lives, will work for the next 40 years de-carbonising society. They will likely retire in the 2050 decade.


Benefits for the Youth Movement
The appeal of YOUNGO’s legitimate participation in the highest-level international forum on climate change has attracted and inspired many youth to become actively involved in the international youth climate movement. YOUNGO can serve as an entry-vehicle for youth to the youth climate movement in their home nation and to a career working for climate solutions.

Capacity Building, Learning:
Participating in YOUNGO expands the perspectives of the individuals and groups that comprise it, by bringing together youth from diverse backgrounds to share, discuss and debate their interrelated experiences and diverse political views. YOUNGO provides individuals and groups with intensive, practical experience to builds capacities in: policy development, cross-cultural communication and understanding, volunteer management, leadership, networking, media, new media, event management, negotiation, lobbying, activism and campaigning, to name just a few. Far more powerful than capacity building via formal education or training courses, YOUNGO’s non-formal education approach empowers young people by providing them the opportunity to discover the extent of their own capacities and to develop new skills, while contributing meaningfully to positive social and political change. Participation in YOUNGO, therefore, provides youth with the capacities and confidence necessary for effective leadership and responsible citizenship. Young, empowered leaders and global citizens take these new capacities home from COP and are now implementing this expertise in their respective organisations. They will continue to do so as climate leaders in the coming years and decades.

Connections and Networks:
Many strong international relationships are established in the intensive, collaborative environment of YOUNGO at UN conferences. These relationships bring great benefits for the movement beyond the UNFCCC process. For example, the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (formed in late 2006) provided advice and mentorship to youth they met at UNFCCC talks, leading to the 2008 establishment of the Indian Youth Climate Network and the UK Youth Climate Coalition. The “Powershift” youth climate conference model has spread from the United States to Australia, Britain, Canada and India via the YOUNGO network. The youth-led 350.org campaign utilised this network, among others, to spread their transformational campaign to all corners of the world.


YOUTH are glOballY COnsCiOUs
north-south connections
For an issue like global climate change, the world needs solutions that transcend national borders. Today’s youth climate movement – part of the world’s first generation that is globally connected by the internet – are breaking down long-standing cultural and political boundaries.

Regional preparations for COP15:
Prior to COP15, a modest program of regional consultations and preparation projects were carried out by regional networks, with the support of the Government of the Netherlands and other funders. These workshops aided in identifying regional priorities, enhancing preparations for COP15, and fostering greater understanding and rapport among youth networks. Regional preparation events occurred in Nepal, Sweden, Senegal, China, Copenhagen and even via the internet for the ‘Mass Dialogues’ project, which virtually gathered youth groups from a range of different English and Frenchspeaking countries. These activities built strong regional connections and greatly enhanced effectiveness of youth from these regions. It has been widely recommended that such regional preparation and consultation events occur again in 2010, but on a much larger scale and in more regions. Regional meetings planned for 2010 are seeking partners to further enhance their impact. Planned meetings include: • • The second South Asian Youth Summit on Climate Change The International Youth Summit on Energy and Climate Change in China • Climate change forums in each sub region of Africa, by the African Youth Initiative on Climate Change. • Latin American youth conferences in the lead-up to COP16 in Mexico. The first is in Bolivia in April, hosted by 350.org, Reaccion Climatica and 350 Peru, building from the COP15 Latin American youth declaration. • North American youth will gather around the G8/G20 meeting in Toronto in July • The European Youth Climate Movement (EYCM), the European Youth Forum (YFJ) and Young Friends of the Earth Europe (YFoEE) are facilitating European discussion, exchange and learning. • YFJ has initiated a COP16 Europe-Latin America preparation meeting as part of the 11th University of Youth & Development in Spain this September. South-East Asian, Eastern European, Russian and Arab Region youth climate networks are in their early stages, but are already succeeding in raising climate awareness and influencing government. With further support, training and partnerships, these networks could become powerful forces for positive change, especially in oil-rich or former Soviet Union nations, which tend to have low or even backwards political will within global climate negotiations.

Regional coordination in 2010:
It is expected that number of youth participating in COP16, from most regions of the world except the Americas, will be lower than at COP15. This is largely due to the expense and carbon footprint of travelling to Mexico. A program of well-connected regional meetings, consultations and preparations will thus be highly beneficial. It will build capacity and share perspectives between youth who cannot attend COP16, and to bring their views to the negotiations. Work is underway to establish such global coordination in 2010, and youth are seeking support to enable these activities.


global south Youth
Almost 85% of the world’s youth aged 15-24 live in developing nations. Children and youth are the least responsible for causing climate change and yet are suffering, and will suffer, the worst effects. A global youth movement dominated by youth voices from developed, global north nations doesn’t make sense. Prior to COP15, the vast majority of youth representatives to UNFCCC sessions came from the Global North, largely self-financed or backed by local sponsorship. Youth participation from developing nations is constrained primarily by a lack of funding. In 2009, youth from all over the world worked hard to rectify the imbalance by ensuring that funds were available to support global south youth participation. Funding provided by the Government of the Netherlands enabled 50 youth from the Global South to attend COP15. Additional funding from bilateral north-south youth partnerships, and direct fund-raising by global south youth organisations, enabled hundreds of global south youth to participate. Beneficiaries were selected using a process designed to be democratic and representative, to be further developed for future funding opportunities. While this still did not result in balanced global participation, it was a it was significant step forwards. For example, only four African youth participated in the negotiations in 2008, while more than 40 attended in 2009. Youth seek support to make further improvements in future years. “While there is a lot further to go, YOUNGO did a wonderful job to bridge the gap between the Global North and the South. It was a great opportunity for everyone to learn from each other.” African youth delegate, 24 years old

The contribution of global south youth to YOUNGO was outstanding and was celebrated by the whole youth community. Global south youth were strong and passionate representatives in the media, in youth organising, and in interactions with governments and broader civil society. The experience of global south youth at UNFCCC sessions and within YOUNGO greatly strengthens southern youth movements on their return home. Supporting global south youth participation in YOUNGO also benefits northern youth movements. All members of the youth community, promoting climate change solutions, require a strong north-south understanding in their work. It is vital to ensuring that proposed solutions are culturally appropriate and equitable.

Global south youth join the historic December 12 rally of 100,000 people in Copenhagen


bilaTeral ParTnersHiPs

In 2009, north-south youth partnerships both enabled southern participation and enhanced global understanding and unity within the climate movement. In 2010, the number and scope of such partnerships are expanding, building on past successes and learnings. Here are just a few examples of youth partnerships: • The European Youth Forum (YFJ) administered the grant from the Netherlands government to support the COP attendance of 50 global south youth. The African Youth Initiative on Climate Change – Kenya (AYICC-K) jointly ran social activities in Copenhagen with the UK Youth Climate Coalition (UKYCC) whose delegation provided financial support via grassroots fund-raising. In 2010 exchange programs and mutual campaigns are planned, for example the Kenya Climate Road Show in which UK youth will take part. The Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) established Project Survival Pacific (PSP) in early 2009. PSP places Australian youth on exchange in the Pacific, supports Pacific youth voices to be heard in Australia, and supports the establishment of independent youth networks in vulnerable island nations. PSP sent 11 Pacific youth to COP. Latin American and Caribbean youth were supported by a fund-raising partnership initiated by SustainUS with further contributions from Will Steger Foundation youth delegates, the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition, and 350.org. This partnership is set to be continued and expanded in 2010.

• SustainUS, the China Youth Climate Action Network

(CYCAN), and the Indian Youth Climate Network (IYCN) – from a trio of nations embodying the tension of global climate negotiations – developed strong relationships during 2009. They issued a joint statement in June, and collaborated extensively, contributing to each other’s projects throughout 2009.

• Youth groups in China and the US came together to

host ‘Our Shared Future’, featured on page 13. Groups included: AIESEC China; Beijing University CDM Club; CYCAN (China Youth Climate Action Network); Focus the Nation, Golden Bridges, SustainUS, Tsinghua Green Student Association, Will Steger Foundation (USA).

• The Indian Youth Climate Network (IYCN) is working with Maldivian Youth For Climate Action in a southsouth partnership in 2010, supporting youth voices from the low-lying nation, to shift politics in India. All of these activities are important and commendable efforts in uniting the youth movement across borders, to develop an equitable and just global movement. However, youth acknowledge that balanced regional participation requires significant further effort and investment.


FeaTUre: Usa-CHina
“Our shared Future!”
Our Shared Principles:
“Neither the US nor Chinese government has ambitious enough climate policies. We the youth of both nations are demonstrating real ambition to our governments.”

Discussion program
Section 1: “你 好 and Hello! Introductions.” What is it like being a youth activist in your country? How do you view your government? How they view you? What strategies do you use for improving national policy? Are your parents worried you’ll be arrested in protests? How did you afford your travel to COP? Are you skipping classes to be here?
“Everyone loved sharing their stories. We were laughing together, it was a great, everyone wanted to keep talking! So we scrapped the schedule and just kept going!”


“Both of our nations are headstrong, driven by results, and have strong national pride. Chinese and American youth want to harness this competitive spirit in a great clean-energy race.”


“There is a sincere lack of trust between US and Chinese governments, evidenced by the political fall-out of COP15. But as the first truly globally-connected generation, the youth of today do trust each other. We can demonstrate trust and understanding and inspire our governments to move forward in the same spirit.”

“Youth from China and the USA understand: the relationship between our nations will define the next century of global politics. We both wanted to take the opportunity of being together at Copenhagen to connect, and come up with a vision for the shared future that we will be co-creating. So we booked a venue, ordered Chinese take-out, got 50 Chinese youth and 50 American youth, and we started to get to know each other. As our generation grows older, we youth will be the diplomats and decision-makers of our nations. Our shared principles will be the defining principles of the US-China relationship for the next 50 years. We will move forward together, towards a clean energy economy and a safe climate future.”

Section 2: “Our policy goals: where do they overlap?” What do you think of ‘clean coal’? Nuclear power? What about CDM and REDD? Is coal a part of your energy future? Should or should not China commit to MRV? Should the US take on emission reduction targets if China doesn’t do the same?
“This was the sort of informal and honest discussion that the US Special Envoy for climate change is not allowed to have with the Chinese climate ambassador. Of course there was some policy disagreement between our delegations, but we had established such good relationships that we could say ‘I see where you are coming from, and I know that we are both working for the same sustainable, clean-energy future, so I want to work with you to overcome these differences.”

Outcomes – 2010 collaborations:

SustainUS delegate, 20 years old
• The event was covered by the Wall St Journal, China Daily News, by innumerable blogs, by Al Gore in his keynote speech, and afterwards in a US-China youth press conference. • The COP15 China Youth delegation was named by China SOHU as one of 10 Most Significant Civil Society Actions in China for 2009. • GreenLeapForward.com

• Youth climate exchange programs • Documenting climate solutions across the Pacific • Great Power Race (with 350.org): A carbon-reduction competition between Chinese & US university campuses. “This was the first time I really understood the power of the youth climate movement. Despite vastly different government systems, youth in both countries are building political power in culturally-appropriate ways. This event was my ‘we’re all in this together’ moment.”

• Co-authoring opinion pieces in both countries


“I learned how to stay focused on why we are here. We are building a very diverse movement. At the Conference of Youth I met young people from other countries with some perspectives I never thought about before.”

Japan Youth Eco-League, 28 years old

Since COP11 (2005, Montreal), youth delegates have been gathering prior to the official negotiations for the ‘COY’, or ‘Conference of Youth’. The twoday COY focuses on capacity-building through workshops, collective discussions, networking, and thought-provoking keynote speakers. It provides orientation to youth new to the UNFCCC process and YOUNGO, and is a space for strategising and organising shared youth initiatives. COY5 played a major role in drafting the youth agenda for the COP15. Youth discussed, debated and coordinated policy positions, and established greater understanding and stronger friendships between youth communities around the world. Over 700 youth, from over 100 countries, attended. Many youth organisations presented their projects and swapped advice and support with others. Youth established communication mechanisms at COY for the duration of COP15 – meetings, announcement boards, email systems, and even an innovative mass instantmessaging system, which enabled youth to respond quickly to developments in negotiations. COY is organised and run by an open team of dedicated international youth volunteers. The willingness of the Government of the Netherlands to invest in youth helped to make COY5 a great success.

“COP15 was one of the best experiences of my life. I arrived in Copenhagen knowing absolutely nobody. I was terrified going to COY5 but immediately made several friends and great connections from all over the world, because of how conducive the activities at COY5 were to meeting people. This provided me with so many opportunities just to learn about different aspects of climate change. The workshops at COY5 were very informative. Being involved in YOUNGO has made me realise that climate change is something we will be dealing with for our whole lives. Had I not been involved with YOUNGO, I would have missed out on many opportunities, and undoubtedly would have had a less enriching experience.”

Australian National University, International Relations & Chinese Studies 21 years old




Multimedia from COY5
• • • • • A message from youth at COY: Lower your emissions, raise your voice! Marie Tamoifo Nkom from Cameroon at COY (Francais) COY video-blog from the Will Steger foundation, Mid-West USA COY ‘energy wave’ group photo, AYCC Kumi Naidoo’s keynote speech: Part 1, Part 2. Kumi Naidoo has been a leading voice for civil rights and democracy in South Africa and Zimbabwe all his life, beginning in his youth. He is now the Executive Director of Greenpeace International and Chair of the ‘TckTckTck’ Global Campaign for Climate Action.

“We can, we must and we will solve climate change.” - Kumi Naidoo 16

Capacity Building
COY is the main capacity-building project of YOUNGO, and is the annual highlight of the international youth climate movement’s calendar. However, YOUNGO needs continuous capacity building for new and experienced members, throughout the year. Capacity building is usually undertaken by national organisations rather than at an international level, however as the benefits of international collaboration are more widely understood, there are greater efforts to increase low-carbon opportunities for cross-border networking and capacity building, outside of the COY. To extend the capacity-building of COY throughout COP15, a ‘Community Catalyst’ staff member was hired, also made possible by the funding provided by the Dutch government. Their role was to orient first-time participants to the UNFCCC process as they arrived, and to facilitate synergies across the youth movement by connecting organisations sharing similar goals. Many first-time participants noted this role was instrumental to their positive experience at COP15.

“We’re fighting for our very survival. Science says that survival equals 350ppm. That means we need action now. Not next year, now.”

Ethiopia, 24 years old

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“Our destiny will not be written for us, it will be written by us.”

Australian Youth Climate Coalition, 26 years old

YOUTH and FUTUre generaTiOns daY
Youth and future generations will feel the consequences of the decisions made in Copenhagen, and in the coming years of the UNFCCC. However, too often, youth are unable to participate fully in such decision-making processes. Youth and Future Generations Day aimed to address this by bringing the role, needs and desires of children and youth, and the principles of ‘intergenerational equity’ and ‘intergenerational implementation’ to the attention of decision-makers present at COP15. ‘YoFuGe Day’ provided a powerful showcase of youth work around the world. All youth organisations had a chance to contribute to the fourteen hours of youth activities within the conference center. Each activity focused on different aspects: education, intergenerational equity, children, the international youth forests movement, the role of women and girls, and more. The youth energy was contagious, and the day packed with activity – youth press conferences, media interviews, official side events, ‘mini’ side events, and lobbying meetings with governments. Visual art highlighting youth engagement on climate change appeared throughout the conference centre.

Highlights of the Day
A flood of vibrant, bright orange, carbon-neutral T-shirts throughout the conference centre made youth’s presence and unity known by all. Orange is the national colour of the Netherlands and is representative of the energy, passion and vibrancy of the international youth climate movement. CO2-neutral orange scarves with the youth rallying cry “Survival is not negotiable” were distributed to negotiators, in exchange for a verbal commitment that they would actively work to ensure the survival of all nations - including the most vulnerable - for this and future generations. One government delegate, when leaving the conference after the final day’s failed plenary sessions, saw some young people in their orange T-shirts, and held up their scarf, saying, “This is not over yet. Survival is not negotiable!”

At COP14, the UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer, scientists, representatives of UN agencies, negotiators, and young people from around the world were called to ‘testify’ before the first ‘Intergenerational Inquiry’. At the COP15 Inquiry, speakers testified on how their actions contribute to a collective solution to climate challenges, and what they see as important prerequisites in reaching an effective post2012 agreement. Youth spoke as equals alongside negotiators and leaders in the climate change movement. • Ms. Ruchi Jain, youth representative, India • Mr. Thomas Spencer, youth representative, Australia • Mr. Yvo de Boer, UNFCCC Executive Secretary • H.E. Mohammed Aslam, Minister for Environment, Maldives • Ms. Alicia Montalvo Santamaría, Director General, Ministry of Environment, Climate Office, Spain • Mr. Adrian Fernandez, President, National Institute of Ecology, Mexico • Ms. Bridgette Cindy Makhubedi, UNICEF Children’s Climate Change Ambassador, South Africa

IMAGE: Ruchi Jain, 23, from India, addresses the Intergenerational Inquiry on Climate Solutions


Youth organisations held official side-events for delegates, media and civil society, presenting their work and recommendations. Side-events included: ‘Intergenerational Equity’, hosted by the European Youth Forum (YFJ) and the European Federation of Young Greens (FYEG). Tracy Bach, a legal scholar, introduced the principle’s legal framework. Official Youth Delegates (see page 22) demonstrated the need to involve young people at all levels of implementation and decision-making. Margareta Auken, a Swedish Member of European Parliament stated that young people should engage themselves directly in politics, as powerful agents of change. ‘Girls and Young Women Leading Change’, presented by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). Young women delegates from Kenya and the USA recounted their personal non-formal education experiences to showcase best practice on how to connect with girls around the world; include them in decisionmaking about their own future, and mobilise them to take action to save our planet.

UNICEF Youth Ambassadors. A 17 year old youth climate ambassador from Zambia described how the ambassadors work in their communities to mitigate the changing climate.

350ppm: The need for bold mitigation targets.

Youth-led 350.org presented the loud demands of global civil society and science for the ambitious, and necessary, global 350ppm emissions pathway.

The role of education in relation to the climate crisis.

Service Civil International (SCI) led an discussion between expert actors in education for sustainable development, addressing the past and future contribution of education to behavioral changes, mitigation and adaptation.

Youth, forest protection and survival. SustainUS

brought together youth from around the world who are leading forest protection and education initiatives, and how this relates to the REDD climate negotiations. “Young people around the world don’t blame the older... this is a question of political will and young and old working together.”


YOUTH and FUTUre generaTiOns daY

Youth arcade
The “Youth Arcade”, comprised of 15 youthrelated booths in the COP15 exhibition and entrance hall, was a place for all actors in the youth movement to display their success stories, identify synergies and develop new partnerships. Eight ‘Mini side-events’ were run on Youth and Future Generations Day, and four on every other day throughout the conference, in this shared and open space curated by youth. The mini side-events ranged from stories told by UNICEF’s child delegates, to cultural performances by the African Youth Initiative on Climate Change; from games and multimedia presentations with the Girl Guides and Scouts, to reports and carbon footprinting tools created by youth-led NGOs. COP15 was the first time that a themed ‘arcade’ had been set up by any group in the NGO exhibition space at a UNFCCC meeting. Youth collaborated strongly with the UNFCCC Secretariat to make it happen within UNFCCC rules. It was a vibrant meeting, working and presentation space, adding colour, excitement and inspiration to the otherwise ‘official’ conference centre. The Youth Arcade brought the relationship-building and shared learning from COY right into the conference centre. IMAGE: Ibrahim Ceesay, 24, and Ebrima Dem, 27, from The Gambia, perform the youth-climate hip-hop song “Save the Earth”, at the YoFuGe Day Reception. (Rap by Josh Solnick, 21, UK)


Youth Reception
To conclude Youth and Future Generations Day, youth hosted a reception where youth, governmental delegates and UNFCCC officials were able to mingle and exchange ideas informally. From inspiring speeches and presentations to climate hip-hop performances, the event built camaraderie and unity amongst all who attended. See more images from ‘YoFuGe Day’ from IISD, WAGGGS or Robert van Waarden.

UN YOUTH BOOTH: Managed by the secretariat of various UN agencies, the UN youth booth provided a space for participating agencies and youth organisations to present their youth-climate initiatives. The booth featured the COP 15 ‘Intergenerational Commitment Book’ where Parties, UN officials, intergovernmental and nongovernmental organisations and the private sector were invited to express their commitments to improving youth participation in addressing climate change. Some 60 signatures collected in the Book, include Rajendra Pachauri, IPCC Chair; Achim Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP; John Kerry, U.S. Senator; and Gro Harlem Brundtland, UN Special Envoy on Climate Change. Commitments will be monitored and the results presented at COP 16 in Mexico.


Official Youth Delegates:
Participation in government delegations
In article 17 of the recently adopted resolution of the UN General Assembly on Policies and Programmes involving Youth, member states are urged:

“to consider including youth representatives in their delegations at all relevant discussions in … relevant United Nations conferences. ... such youth representatives should be selected through a transparent process that ensures that they have a suitable mandate to represent young people in their countries.”
The first Official Youth Delegates to the United Nations were included at the General Assembly in New York in the 1970’s. At COP15, at least 25 countries, in Asia, Europe, Africa, the Pacific and the Caribbean, included politically independent youth from civil society on their official delegations. Official Youth Delegates learn deeply about their government processes and policies, but also have opportunity to input the youth voice more directly to the negotiations, through strong relationships with their government delegation. For example, Gertie de Fraeye from Belgium promoted the policy positions of European youth within EU coordination meetings, and Swiss youth delegate Sonja Astfalk officially negotiated for her nation in the Contact Group on Capacity Building. Official Youth Delegates formed a geographically diverse team. Together they discussed politics, shared experiences and developed ideas and strategy to ensure that the youth perspective is directly present in the negotiations. When civil society were excluded from the conference on the final days, Official Youth Delegates could still enter the conference centre with their government badges, enabling youth voices to continue to be represented. Experiences varied depending on how each government structures its youth participation. European youth delegates, mainly selected by National Youth Councils, were more independent of their governments, with their own agenda, acting as true ‘observers’ of the process. However, with alignment between youth goals and the goals of vulnerable nations, African youth delegates were often more involved in the work of their delegation, as government aides, similar to an internship experience.

inFO COrner:
• The European Youth Forum and the Carribbean
Youth Environment Network facilitate youth participation in government delegations from their regions.

• The African Youth Initiative on Climate Change is establishing a formal youth delegates program • Youth in regions without a delegate program can approach their government departments directly, citing the UN resolutions referred to above and on page 4, requesting participation and access.


Policy and intervention Working Groups:
Youth groups registered as observer organisations have the right to submit their recommendations to the UNFCCC negotiations’ formal consultation processes. In YOUNGO, international working groups prepare such policy recommendations on behalf of the whole constituency, and also present united youth positions in statements known as ‘interventions’ during negotiating sessions. Youth call for ambitious and equitable policies – in mitigation, adaptation, climate finance and forests – informed by sound science, and in solidarity with those who would suffer most from the impacts of unchecked climate change – future generations, the most climatevulnerable nations, women, and indigenous peoples. Youth can also offer specific expertise on areas of the negotiations which specifically affect or involve youth: youth implementation of climate adaptation, capacity building for youth and young women, design of youth participation processes, and incorporating climate and sustainability into school curricula. By lobbying for specific language in negotiating text, youth can influence the outcome of the negotiations. If such text becomes UN-agreed language, youth can later use these resolutions to lobby for national policy change, or for establishment of relevant government program.

sPOTligHT: Youth Forests Working Group
Many members of YOUNGO identified participation in this Forest policy sub-group as the highlight of their involvement with YOUNGO. The Group had strong ties with non-youth forestfocused NGOs, and conducted daily media stunts in response to developments in the LULUCF and REDD negotiation areas, which they closely tracked. They ran multiple capacity-building and strategy workshops at COY, lobbied governments, and performed frequent media interviews, explaining complex forest policy in plain language to the general public. They marched together with local Danish Forest NGOs in the historic 100,000 strong December 12 rally through Copenahgen.

MULTIMEDIA: Youth speak!
• Juan Carlos (23, Peru) on the final day of the conference. The hall is empty because of strict security provisions excluding civil society from the conference. Moey Newbold (20, USA) speaks on behalf of the youth constituency on climate adaptation during the negotiations. Amira Karim (24, Singapore) presents youth positions calling for a democratic and ambitious negotiation process, after political controversies during the first week of COP15. Press Conference Webcast, outlining the policy demands of youth and the declaration of the international youth climate movement. Civil society submissions to the UNFCCC process, by youth and all other observers, can be found here.

• •
IMAGE: Dessima Williams, Chair of the Alliance Of Small Island States and climate Ambassador from Grenada speaks to media, supported by youth. She attended the UNFCCC negotiations in 1995 as a youth delegate campaigning for sustainable development and women’s rights.


“Youth should not be disappointed if they were unable to influence the outcome of the negotiations ‘on site’ at COP15. Negotiators come to COPs with fixed instructions from national capitals, with little leeway to deviate. It is before the COP and in the national capitals when and where ‘influence’ work should be.”

Influencing national politics
The United Nations, based on consensus, can not impose necessary policies to solve climate change on nations who don’t support those policies. The political conditions in each stakeholder nation must be right. Thus, while youth work improving negotiating text during a COP is an important strategy for change, it’s potential is limited by political conditions. To create the needed large-scale political shifts to solve climate change, youth must also influence public opinion and their national governments, to ensure that youth and future generations’ interests are protected. Participation at a COP often provides youth with a much higher level of access to their own governments than they are able to achieve at home. Governments – both the negotiation teams and government ministers – are obliged to meet with stakeholders when present at UNFCCC meetings. In some cases, these meetings at COP are the first opportunities for youth organisations to establish relationships and gain legitimacy in the eyes of their governments – relationships which are then leveraged throughout the year domestically. For example, the European Youth Climate Movement hosted a successful youth roundtable to exchange views with Environment Ministers from Ireland and Belgium, the French Secretary of State and special envoys on climate from the Netherlands and Finland. When youth lobby politicians and governments, they fill a different niche to the technical expertise that is contributed by ‘adult’ civil society. Youth lobbying instead is based on a moral voice. Youth demonstrate unity, trust and cooperation, and encourage their nations to do the same. They present their campaigns engaging young people in their countries, and bring the demands of youth directly to politicians.

“You can do a lot here in Copenhagen but you can do so much more when you get home ... Get involved and engage your local politicians. Your lives extend beyond their next election. It is the youth of the world that’s going to change all that we need to change.”

Dr Rajendra Pachauri Chair of the IPCC

IMAGE: Amira Karim, 24, of Singapore, prepares to give an intervention in UN plenary on behalf of Youth.



“YOUNGO has made climate change more real, less about numbers and more about future moral consequences of failure. Most politicians are also parents – we remind them that their choices affect their children’s future.”

The UNFCCC Secretariat hosted a series of youth briefings during COP15 to facilitate dialogue between youth and other influential actors in the negotiations: • Dr Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the IPCC • Connie Hedegaard, Minister for Climate Change, COP15 President (Denmark) • Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary General • Juan Rafael Elvira, Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources, COP16 President (Mexico) • Michael Zammit Cutajar, AWG-LCA Chair • John Ashe, AWG-KP Chair • Ricardo Lagos, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General on Climate Change, former President of Chile Senior officials shared their perceptions of the negotiations and the role that youth should play within them. Youth reciprocated by sharing their intentions, concerns and questions. It was a great opportunity for youth to access political leaders and to enhance their understanding of political processes. Agendas were jointly crafted by youth delegates, participating dignitaries and the UNFCCC Secretariat. Briefings also served as useful opportunities for attending media to understand youth perspectives.


YOUTH media
A youth communications working group, led by an experienced youth Communications Coordinator, whose role was enabled by support from the Government of the Netherlands, worked throughout COP to ensure that messages of global youth were consistently and powerfully communicated via both traditional media and new, online and social media. This international communications team supported media work being done by separate youth delegations in their national languages. The communications working group had four sub-teams: • Press releases team – turning YOUNGO activities, announcements and declarations into global or regional media releases; working with youth translators to develop multi-lingual releases; developing relationships with journalists and bloggers. • Press conferences team – arranging speakers and media advisories, inviting and following up with journalists. • Media capacity building - Developing training materials and sessions – interview techniques, writing press releases and advisories, developing messaging. • Social media coordination – supporting outreach through social platforms (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)

Youth Produced media
In addition to the youth communications group, focusing on traditional media, a pioneering group of young media professionals – photographers, film-makers, journalists, writers, bloggers, artists and musicians – took to making the news themselves, and training others to do the same. Most youth delegations had at least one ‘in house’ documentarian – producing photographs, blogs, and videos – to communicate back to their home constituency. The work of youth media professionals is a valuable source of inspiration and motivation for the youth movement across the world, to see the benefits of their work reflected back to them. It has also been a crucial mechanism by which the youth perspective can be accurately and directly communicated to the public. Young people have large social networks. Their families, work colleagues, school-mates, and sporting or cultural groups are all opportunities for targeted outreach. Youthproduced media enables youth climate activists and advocates to engage their social networks on terms that appeal to these communities. Plans are underway to create international youth-produced climate media and art exhibitions, communicating climate challenges and solutions in new ways, to new audiences.

mUlTimedia COrner:

• Project Survival Media • Youth climate photography • Youth climate blog sites: • YouthClimate.org – aggregated global blogs • ItsGettingHotInHere.org – world’s 2nd largest climate blog • Climate Changes Art



Youth at COP played a critical role in providing visual images to the media via creative actions or ‘stunts’, relating the negotiations to real-world climate impacts. Many youth actions were captured by leading news outlets, and the images circulated around the world. “Without youth art, journalists at COP would only be able to capture images of a sterile conference centre and negotiators in suits!” This creativity is becoming a signature of the growing youth climate movement. From creative direct action to dance flash-mobs, the youth climate movement has embraced the rich potential of the arts to communicate with inspiration and emotion. In the face of political rhetoric and depressing news, the creative optimism of the youth movement flourishes, inspiring others to action. At COP15, a shared artspace, supported by funding from the Government of the Netherlands, was established outside the conference center, with a vast store of cardboard, paint, fabric, wood and tools. By providing all the necessary materials to create visuals, the Artspace then served as a creating, meeting and rehearsal place for all, open every day and night. This enabled Youth to be “rapid responders” to new developments inside the conference centre in unprecedented ways, and helping to frame emerging media stories.

Art is an international language, able to bring people together despite language barriers. Youth who used the Artspace were empowered by co-creating art together and it used to communicate youth messages to the world. Workshops held in the Artspace provided youth with ‘artivist’ skills which will be used again and again in their home countries, in creative actions, campaigns and education. Shared, sustainable meals provided free of charge by the local Copenhagen community occurred every night in the Artspace, a valuable resource for youth on a budget, particularly global south youth. The Artspace allowed youth delegates from the conference to meet and work with others from civil society events outside of the COP like Klimaforum. In the Artspace, youth built both art and relationships, discussing and connecting creatively across cultures and across politics. Puppeteers, painters, performers and prop-builders from the Artspace contributed strongly to the historic 100,000-strong civil society march through Copenhagen on December 12. Penguin costumes, giant puppets, boats and more added an energetic, peaceful and determined youth presence in the march. “I think the Artspace is the most relaxing place in Copenhagen. It’s the warmest place without a heating system. You go home feeling good.”

African Youth Delegate 27

insPiring THe mOVeme nT:
Returning home from the momentous, action-packed, international-politics experience at a COP can feel overwhelming – so many new ideas, so many new global connections, and so much work still to do. After a COP, youth are freshly inspired. They are busy developing and implementing programs and campaigns, following up bilaterally with government and civil society connections, planning for the years ahead, and sharing their learnings from COP with their local communities. In addition to those activities already mentioned throughout the report, here is a sample of youth initiatives taking place in 2010.

A new focus on youth-led solutions
After the failure of COP15, youth have declared that they are will not wait for political leaders to lead the world in solving the climate crisis. Now is the time for civil society, and youth in particular, to be leaders themselves, implementing local solutions and setting an example for their governments and communities. The Energy Action Coalition, leading the US youth climate movement, is working to ‘define the decade’ with community clean energy solutions and youth leadership. Around the US, local groups will build hundreds of local campaigns around clean energy development and moving student campuses beyond coal. Their efforts will demonstrate the viability of their ambitious but necessary political demands and will build political support. The Indian Youth Climate Network (IYCN) has chosen a similar path, with a focus on youth leadership to create empowering local solutions in every state, city and town. See India Climate Solutions and Green Solutions India. Indian youth’s focus on solutions is also at the policy level. The nation’s highest planning authority – The Planning Commission of India – is laying out a vision document for a low-carbon path for India by 2050. The IYCN is working with the Commission to ensure that this critical document is developed with full participation of youth – who will, in 2050, just be retiring after a working lifetime implementing this low-carbon partway. 350.org was created and led by 7 youth organisers with strong connections to the international youth movement at COP14 in Poznan and COP13 in Bali. They coordinated the most widespread day of political action in the planet’s history on October 24, 2009, and in 2010 is maintaining that momentum with a “Get To Work” campaign, in partnership with the 10:10 campaign, who aim to cut emissions of all campaign participants by an ambitious, but achievable, 10% in 2010. On 10/10/2010, communities worldwide will be part of a ‘Global Work Party’ – putting up solar panels, insulating homes, erecting windmills, planting trees, launching or harvesting local gardens, building bicycles and more. On this day, the youth movement will lead their communities in “getting to work” creating the sustainable future, showing political leaders that now is time to lead, confident that they will have public support.

New youth climate organisations
“The Philippine Youth Climate Movement started right after COP, in January 2010. We already have over 1000 members and have reached 40,000 students with our message by school visits. It would never have happened if it weren’t for the International Youth Climate Movement’s participation in the UNFCCC meetings. I was so inspired, I talked to other youth about how they did it in their home countries, and now we have gotten started! The youth movement at COP has inspired me to move beyond awareness-raising campaigns, but now into ‘solutions’ as well. Here in the Philippines, we’ve decided to start our coalition by getting young people to plant 1 million trees. We already have pledges of over 200,000 trees to be planted next week! I am speaking with the Philippines’ Department of Education, Department of Agriculture and the Department of Natural resources, working with them to help the youth to implement climate solutions. We want to make it a national practice for all students to plant a tree when graduating from school.”

Philippino Youth Delegate, 23 years old

Political focus:
Youth movement leaders of today are the civil society, government, business, and community leaders of tomorrow. But how quickly will ‘tomorrow’ arrive? After the lack of political leadership at COP15, a number of youth organisations are beginning to discuss how to support young people to enter political decision-making positions in the next few years. To achieve climate justice, global politics needs the new, globally-connected and solutions-focused perspective of youth.

A message to World Leaders from Global Youth at the conclusion of COP15:

“You’re not done yet, and neither are we!”

2010 iniTiaTiVes
Empowering vulnerable youth – governance, education, training.
“Some Somalian youth, whose country has been in civil war their whole life, they told me that many have never been to school, and that small kids use guns as their toys. They said, if someone can discover something more exciting for the kids than the guns, then maybe something will change. We want to use climate change as the issue to engage youths, to educate them, and to eventually end violence and government corruption in Africa.” “We are focusing on establishing national youth networks in countries we haven’t worked in before, like Somalia and Ethiopia, as well as strengthening and expanding existing ones. It is amazing how youth are responding, wanting to be associated with AYICC. We will run campaigns, and start with the grassroots, step by step, educating the youth and running regional conferences.”

Restoring confidence in climate science
The Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) has launched a competition called ‘Reality Check’ to push back against misinformation about climate change spread at the end of 2009, in order to improve public understanding of climate science, thus restoring public confidence in the IPCC and climate science. During ‘Climate Reality Week’, AYCC is partnering with a national youth radio station and is offering prizes for young people who display the slogan “The Climate is Changing: We Can’t Escape Reality” or who present the climate mythbusting fact sheet in the most creative way to the greatest number of people.

international Coordination
Despite the disappointing outcome of COP15, youth participation took a strong step forward. However, youth still have much to improve on, learning from the successes and the challenges faced there. Enabled by the funding from the Dutch government, youth spent a full day together after COP evaluating the performance of YOUNGO. This was followed up with online evaluations and a recommendations report. In 2010, youth are working to improve international institutional memory, coordination and governance. Priorities include improving efectiveness and accountability of the volunteer ‘Bottomliners’ coordinating team, potential establishment of international coordination staff, and improving global representativity and language inclusivity. Financial support and supportive partnerships are being sought to support this effort.

African Youth Initiative on Climate Change
The Caribbean region is among the world’s most climatevulnerable areas, strongly impacted by rising sea levels and tropical hurricanes. The Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN) was established in 1992 and is now the largest youth organisation in the region. Under the fiveyear Caribbean Youth Programme for Action on Climate Change, CYEN raises public and youth awareness, engages in political advocacy, and is training youth leaders in electrical energy auditing and small business management across the 16 Caribbean territories, particularly targeting work in disadvantaged communities.

Intergenerational Equity in government:
The youth in the UK are investigating the establishment of an ‘Ombudsman for future generations’, to review all government decisions with regard to the rights of future generations, based on the existing Hungarian model. Additionally, they are participating in the Youth Advisory Panel of the Department for Energy and Climate Change, inputting on both policy and on appropriate structures and operating methodologies for the Panel, moving it beyond youth consultation and into real, effective participation in policy development.

Delegations to COP16, Mexico
Youth from all regions of the world are planning and seeking support for activities at COP16 in Mexico, December 2010 and COP17 in South Africa, 2011. These two events will be a further opportunity to create political change while building capacity and global connections in the youth climate movement, particularly for Latin American and African networks.


The irresistible momentum of the youth movement
The YOUNGO activities described in this report demonstrate that youth, through participation in and around negotiations, are actively shaping their future. Youth are empowered, influencing national politics, and building their skills, capacities and understanding in a global network. They are also creating cultural change locally, and bringing ambitious global climate agreements closer to becoming reality. Governor Schwarzenegger of California, USA, said in a speech prior to COP that: The prospect of continued inadequate outcomes in the UNFCCC negotiations is a terrifying prospect for youth. Maximising youth participation in the UNFCCC process, and all government and civil society decisionmaking processes, is essential if youth are to prevent the negotiating away of their future safe climate. Young people are capable of moving further up the ‘ladder of participation’ in government and community decisionmaking. However, to achieve this ideal, a greater societal understanding of youths’ strengths and real respect for their unique contribution is required. Youth participation, representation, coordination, communication, governance and continuous capacity-building must be well supported via partnerships, funding and training. The rapid growth of the youth movement in the past few years has been fuelled largely on raw, volunteer energy and passion, and without a formal international structure. Modest investments of funds, time and energy in international youth coordination – from individuals, organisations and governments – will have a dramatic and tangible effect in the coming years. Such investments in the youth climate movement are sought and welcomed in 2010. Engaging with the youth climate movement today will have an immeasurable effect in the long term. As youth engaged with YOUNGO grow older, they will take their valuable connections, experiences, knowledge and their globally-conscious ethic into their governments, businesses, civil society and their communities, creating positive change at every step along the way.

“The world’s governments alone cannot make progress. The world’s governments need cities, states, regions, provinces, universities, youth, activists, scientists and individuals. We must liberate a transformative power below a national level. That could be the success of COP15.”
COP15 was a clear step forward in global climate politics, despite the overwhelming inadequacy of the COP15 outcome. Heads of state and government are now personally engaged on the climate issue, and civil society is more determined and active than ever. It became clear that the youth climate movement is a key vehicle through which the ‘liberation of transformative power’ that Schwarzenegger refers to is occurring.

“This youth movement is setting an example for the world.”

Fijian youth delegate, 23
The global youth climate movement is strong and is growing rapidly. YOUNGO is playing a vital role in consolidating that growth and strategically directing youth energy into effective outcomes both within and outside the UNFCCC negotiations. This work must be supported, as this rapid growth is not expected to reverse. Instead, it is gaining momentum.

“We the youth have no other choice. We can, we must and we will succeed.”

Youth-produced multimedia: reflections on 2009
• • • • • • Tom’s Copenhagen story (UKYCC) 2009: Explosion of the youth climate movement - Robert van Waarden, vanwaardenphoto.com Copenhagen wrap-up slideshow (SustainUS) Expedition Copenhagen Reflection (Will Steger Foundation) 2009 into 2010: An Audio Slideshow Narrated by Bill McKibben (350.org) Youth Opinions on the COP 15 Climate Summit: A Report From UN-Habitat


YOUTH are :


This report was made possible by the generous contribution provided by the Government of the Netherlands. We wish to thank the UNFCCC Secretariat for their assistance and support in securing this crucial funding, and the European Youth Forum (YFJ) and Nature and Youth Denmark (N&U – Natur & Ungdom) for facilitating its distribution. We also wish to acknowledge the valuable contribution of the 50 global youth who participated in interviews, and more who contributed to online evaluations, whose views are represented throughout this report, and also to Sue Lin Wong for her valuable academic research paper on YOUNGO. Special thanks go to members of the Bottomlining Team in 2009 (Ben Vanpeperstraete, Bjarke Kronborg, Caroline Howe, Darran Martin, Grace Mwaura, Kyle Gracey, Marcie Smith, Phil Aroneanu and Sebastien Duycks); to the YOUNGO Focal Points for 2009 Wilson Ang and Lina Li; to YOUNGO staff Adrian Yeo, Aiden Abram, Chironjit Das, Matthew Carroll, Piret Liivak and Sanka Abayawardena, and to all the passionate members of the global youth climate movement who are working so hard to inspire and create positive change.

IMAGE (Back Cover): Fijian youth delegate Leah Wickham, 24, weeps at a press conference on the opening day of COP15. Her homeland is at serious risk from rising sea levels.


.ORG Want to find out more? email info@youthclimate.org