Busy First Week for Scouts at the UN Climate Change Conference
Immerse yourself in the amazing week the WOSM delegation experienced at COP22!
The first week at COP22 was a whirlwind filled with a lot of hard work, new experiences and endless opportunity. Putting our focus on education and youth participation we were able to effectively create results within the Action for Climate Empowerment working group, that if utilized properly, will be a great influence, as well as tool for governments when creating more concrete commitments for Climate Change.
The week began with the first YOUNGO (UNFCCC observer constituency of youth non-governmental organizations) meeting of COP22. The meetings allow youth delegates to collaborate and work together regarding the components of the Paris Agreement and the functions of the COP conferences.
Afterwards Quintin and Fabien attended the official opening of COP22, while Reagan prepared for her panel. The day saw Scouting being represented on 3 different panels, each by a different delegate. On the first panel, Reagan discussed Mainstreaming Climate Change Education. The topic wrapped up with an important statement by Reagan highlighting that in order to educate society as a whole, there needs to be a strong foundation of formal and non-formal Climate Change Education, with another panelist adding on that youth are not the future, but are the present and therefore should be a part of the processes in today in order to have the knowledge required when the world is placed in their hands.
Fabien spoke on the Intergenerational Equity Panel afterwards. The discussion followed two specific questions, namely: "How can youth and aged network in order to ensure Climate Change action?" and "How can we empower young people?"
He spoke on how Scouting bridges this gap and empowers youth through its approach of non-formal education and encouraging volunteering, enabling youth and the aged to work together and create a norm surrounding intergenerational dialogues while providing ample opportunity for not only growth, but the ambition for participation and action.
The last panel was on Youth and Capacity Building. Quintin and the other panelists led a discussion regarding the challenges that both youth and governments face when putting their Climate Change commitments in action. A consensus was made surrounding the importance of networking as a solution to this challenge. Quintin pointed out that in Scouting, networking already plays a key role between NSOs. Several projects have been set up between NSOs allowing for support of each other in their pursuits of Climate Change action.
Afterwards, the delegation attended a workshop on Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE), where the UNFCCC ACE Secretariat provided a platform for youth to discuss their ideas on better implementing youth mobilization and education in society. A major emphasis was placed on non-formal education, a key component already incorporated in Scouting. He pointed out that creating partnerships between these governments and NGOs, like Scouting, would be extremely beneficial in pursuing climate action.
Another early and engaging YOUNGO meeting started the day with Fabien leading an icebreaker game for the group. The introduction of working groups was also made at this meeting. We determined our main focus for the week would be on the ACE working group, as that is what we were all most passionate about, and what aligned most with Scouting principles. There was also an opportunity mentioned, where three YOUNGO members would ask the Executive President of COP22 three questions on behalf of YOUNGO. Reagan got actively involved in this process, shaping three concise questions from the many questions submitted by the NGOs represented within YOUNGO.
Meanwhile, Fabien and Quintin attended the ACE working group meeting to establish the process and vision the group would undertake. They all agreed on creating a Policy Paper, analyzing party’s nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and meeting with ACE Focal Points from all parties to discuss their visions and focuses for ACE implementations in their countries.
The delegation then attended a negotiation on Article 6 of the Paris Agreement to witness the processes in which the parties must take in order to come to decisions. The process was very slow as a big emphasis must be placed on formalities and true negotiation seldom occurs inside the plenary halls.
In the afternoon and well into the evening, the delegation worked on analyzing the NDCs of all parties to the Paris Agreement in search of the mention of youth and education. After determining these numbers, we went on to determine which parties had meaningful mentions of these topics with a plan for action. Only 32% of countries mentioned education and 18% mentioned youth. Moreover, 12% mentioned both. Thus, indicating a need for civil action in order to urge these governments to take education and youth more seriously as a solution to climate change.
At YOUNGO, the youth were invited to attend the Young and Future Generations Day hosted by the Secretariat on the following day. The meeting then finished with the regular updates from working groups and creation of the daily schedule. Preceding this, the ACE working group met to discuss the progress made with regards to the NDC analysis, policy paper and contacting focal points. The whole group was working extremely hard as the analysis was moving into the next stage and all the focal points had been contacted and were already scheduling meetings.
We then attended Climate Trackers, a segment on updates regarding the negotiations thus far and how they were affecting different youth. The main focus of the topic ended up being on the results of a recent election; however, it was inspiring to hear the cohesiveness of everyone’s plan to continue working hard and working together regardless of the situation.
One of the more informative sessions we attended was called the Climate Classroom in which representatives from the United Nations Learning Program lead a workshop on the workings of the UNFCCC and how both NGOs and governments could be involved in the process.
Afterwards, a trip was made to the green zone, the public exhibition space of the conference, to visit fellow Moroccan scouts and chat with them about what was happening on the negotiation side of things, as well as gain insight on Scouting in their lives. We also had the opportunity to explore the green zone for a bit before getting back to work. It was amazing to see all the advancements in not only technology, but action from all different directions regarding climate change.
The afternoon was spent working on the next stages of the NDC analysis where we scored the countries’ commitments to education and youth based on a rubric created from the Paris Agreement and UNFCCC convention. This data would then be placed on graphs and other visuals in order to show both governments and civil society what actions were being taken, and the tremendous room for improvement across the world. We also started drafting a full report on our analysis process and findings in order to ensure transparency of our work and enable governments and other members of civil society to see the approach we took.
That evening, Camp Climate hosted a networking event in which we were very fortunate to meet the UN Youth Envoy and discuss his visions and views regarding youth participating within the UN and more specifically COP22. He would also be speaking the following day at Youth and Future Generations Day.
— Sandu (@SanduCoica) November 10, 2016
Due to the accomplishments already being made in the ACE working group, we decided to branch out a bit more and join other working groups as well. Reagan attended the mitigation working group meeting and began helping them draft their policy paper to be realised the following week. Fabien and Quintin attended the ACE working group meeting where the proposal of a press conference on Education Day (Monday) was made in order to showcase the work we had done and allow governments to see our vision for ACE in their NDCs.
We reconvened at the launch of Young and Future Generations Day where the UN Youth Envoy made a speech regarding the importance of youth voice and mobilization.
Another ACE meeting followed where specific focus groups went to work on different components. Quintin went to work on the NDC analysis and Fabien and Reagan went to work on the policy paper.
The intergenerational Inquiry stopped our work, as we went to listen to a panel of speakers regarding their work in enabling youth participation and youth education which was an important discussion to hear during the process of creating a policy paper regarding these topics.
The group then split up again, Reagan went to meet with the Brazil Focal Point regarding his vision for ACE implementation. The meeting was an eye-opener as the Focal Point expressed his need for direction, ideas and networking with other focal points in order to create any concrete actions for ACE implementation. During the debrief of the meeting, an idea came up to host a networking workshop for the Focal Points in order to provide a platform for them to discuss and share their proposals and ideas for implementing ACE.
Quintin continued his work on the NDC analysis and Fabien attended the Human Rights Working group meeting to discuss how all the working groups need to include these principles in their policy papers.
The working session then continued on the policy paper for Reagan and Fabien, until Fabien was invited to attend a reception with the French Scout President.
At 6:00pm, Quintin and Reagan attended the award ceremony of the Youth Climate Change video conference and final remarks of Young and Future Generations Day.
The work on the NDC analysis and Policy Paper went late into the evening in order to finalize the documents for the following morning’s YOUNGO meeting.
YOUNGO started the day with the opportunity for Reagan to address the Executive President and Secretariat of COP22 regarding the questions that were created earlier in the week. After the ACE working group, where the discussion of hosting the networking event and press conference on Monday took place, the delegation attended the question period with these two figures.
A meeting for a press conference for YOUNGOs work during the first week then took place. We came to a consensus that it would be a platform for all the working groups to talk with the press regarding their accomplishments in the first week and visions for the second week, allowing society to see what was happening within YOUNGO. The work on the ACE policy paper and NDC analysis then continued once again, to pursue final edits and ensure that the documents accurately depicted the vision of YOUNGO and the work that had been done.
There was also a brief chat with the mitigation working group to establish the status of its policy paper and ensure that the work that had been done was moving in the correct direction. Fabien, Quintin and Reagan then attended a segment with High Level Negotiators and NGOs regarding how full participation of the NGOs could occur at COP22.
The day ended with a visit to the green zone where we chatted with the Moroccan Scouts, French Scout President, and the second week delegates, Samuel and Saleh. We then all headed to a restaurant for a small networking event with all the people we had worked with throughout the week and hope to continue collaborating with into not only the second week, but well into the future.
The second week will see Samuel and Saleh build on this work with Quintin and ensure a more concrete understanding of ACE and other youth policies by governments.
Written by Reagan McKinney on behalf of the COP22 External Representative Team