by Vincent Diringer
When following global climate summits it certainly seems as though policy and decision-making are left to heads of states, governments, and relevant delegates. It can seem out of reach and steeped in a level of secrecy, but there are ways for young people to be involved and have their voices heard!
The United Nations (UN) has identified global youth as an important group of stakeholders capable of driving and enacting policy, and has worked towards harnessing youth-led advocacy movements .
In response to the mounting youth participation in policy, and the creation of the International Youth Climate Movement (IYCM), which was active during UN Climate Summits, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) recognised young people as an official observer constituency called YOUNGO in 2009 . Uniting youth groups, non-government organisations (NGOs), and individuals into a singular entity capable of representing their interests, YOUNGO has been a fully recognised organisation since the 2011 Conference of the Parties (COP17) in Durban, South Africa .
On top of working with policy-makers and government delegates during the multiple climate conferences that happen every year as observers capable of lobbying delegates and participating in negotiations, the youth constituency has continued to widen its global reach by encouraging young people to participate in their efforts. This can be via the Conference of Youth (COY), working on one of their campaigns, or identifying opportunities for youth to learn more about policy and how to get involved. YOUNGO currently counts over 5,500 members and 200 youth-run NGOs from around the world, including Climate Now and All for a Better Climate . You can get involved via their social media groups, mailing list, or through one of their accredited NGOs.
Featured image courtesy of the UNFCCC Flickr account United Nations, 2003, “World Youth Report” YOUNGO, NDL, “About”, URL: http://www.youngo.uno/about/ [Accessed March 11, 2021]