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Driving Ambition from Italy to Glasgow

by Hannah Melville-Rea

Most of us know that COP26 will be held in Glasgow, but did you know that Italy is a co-host? What’s more, the United Kingdom (UK) and Italy are respectively hosting the G7 and G20 summits this year. What does the UK-Italy partnership mean and how is Italy facilitating youth engagement for climate action in the lead up to COP26?

This fall, Italy is serving up the apéritif (or in this case, the aperitivo) to stimulate our appetites for climate ambition in Glasgow. With a full schedule of events for ministers, heads of state and youth from around the world, there will be ample opportunities to take part in the action.

But what about the pandemic? Italy seems to be preparing for all possibilities – with many of the events intended for in-person engagement, but with in-built flexibility for virtual and hybrid participation. The two major events to look forward to are the Pre-COP and G20 summits, and we have the details on how young people will take part. 

Pre-COP Summit (28th Sep – 2nd Oct) 

All4Climate: the city of Milan will host the Pre-COP summit, the ministerial meeting of 40 countries which is traditionally held about a month before the actual climate summit. This summit will aim to bring together governments, with international organisations and Non-Governmental Organisations for an informal discussion on the key political aspects of the upcoming United Nations (UN) climate conference in Glasgow. The focus is likely to be on refining out the details of Article 6, the development of international carbon markets. 

Youth4Climate: A Pre-COP event for youth will gather 400 young people from across the globe, two from each UN member country, to coordinate a youth position for COP26. The intent is to ensure that young voices are heard. The Italian Government will cover travel and accommodation expenses of all participants, aged between 18 and 29. 

For the creatives out there, the ‘SumItUp’ competition invites youth to make an infographic or video summarising an episode of the Youth4Climate series to win a trip to Milan. 

The G20 Summit (30th – 31st October)

G20 Leaders Summit: Following the G7 summit that the UK will host in June, Italy will host the G20 summit. The focus areas on the agenda are “People”, “Planet” and “Prosperity”. With leaders travelling directly from Rome to UNFCCC negotiations in Glasgow, there is no doubt that this G20 will set the tone for climate decisions. 

Y(outh)20 Summit: The Y20 provides youth with the opportunity to collaborate on a list of recommendations to present to the G20 summit. The Y20 is the official youth engagement forum for the G20, and young representatives from every G20 member state will jointly draft a communiqué of recommendations for the G20. 

This year’s Y20 will be held in Milan and Bergamo from the 19th to the 23th of July. Facilitated by the Italian Young Ambassadors Society, one of the three priority areas to negotiate on will be “Sustainability, Climate Change and Environment”. Applications have passed, but many of the Y20 delegations are pursuing community engagement activities and surveys in their home countries.

As co-partner for COP26 and unofficial tag-teaming between the G7 and G20 presidencies, Italy and the UK are emphasising climate action and the reversal of biodiversity loss at the heat of the multilateral agenda in 2021. 

Categories COP26

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