COP28 Presidency hosts ‘Youth Stocktake’ side event at the Bonn Climate Change Conference (SB58), to assess challenges and opportunities to enhance youth inclusion in climate negotiations COP28 Presidency and COP28 Youth Climate Champion’s team announced the delivery of an action plan on the road to COP28 to improve youth engagement structures 100 young people selected for the COP28 International Youth Climate Delegates Program, of which 74% represent least-developed countries and small-island developing states The program expands and empowers youth inclusion in the multilateral climate process through capacity-building and participation in key climate events
BONN, Germany, June 9, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The incoming COP28 Presidency today hosted the first ‘Youth Stocktake’ side event at the Bonn Climate Change Conference (SB58), which assessed the opportunities and challenges for youth participation in climate negotiations and multilateral climate processes.
Dr. Sultan AHmed AL Jaber, President-Designate of COP28 USE; Simon Stiell, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC
The concept of a Youth Stocktake was announced at the event to accompany the first Global Stocktake, by conducting an assessment of the advancements and gaps for youth inclusion in the UNFCCC negotiation process. Set to be delivered at COP28, the first Global Stocktake reviews progress towards meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement and is a critical turning point for efforts to address climate change by delivering an ambitious response and to course correct.
The SB58 side event was attended by Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, President-Designate of COP28 UAE; Simon Stiell, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC; Shamma Al Mazrui, UAE Minister of Community Development and COP28 Youth Climate Champion; Razan Al Mubarak, COP28 High Level Champion, representatives from Parties, the United Nations and youth stakeholders.
“COP28 is determined to ensure that youth voices and ambitions are a focal point of the climate process. Through this Youth Stocktake, we will identify the gaps for youth inclusion and build on efforts to enhance access, capacity and resources for young people,” said COP28 President-Designate Dr. Al Jaber. “Within the COP28 team, nearly 70% of our negotiators are under the age of 35. The COP28 Presidency and the Youth Climate Champion are committed to supporting and enabling greater access for youth especially from underrepresented communities through key initiatives such as the International Youth Climate Delegates Program.”
“Meaningful youth engagement in the UNFCCC requires more than attending the conference. We need all voices to be heard. We must continue and enhance our support to young people so that you can meaningfully engage and influence the process, and influence the trajectory for global climate goals and commitments. I hope the Youth Stocktake will improve our understanding of where we are in ensuring youth participation in the process. Something we have all committed to”, said Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, Simon Stiell.
“Equitable climate action calls for youth to be heard, given access and enabled to contribute to decision-making. As we approach COP28, our vision is clear: each subsequent COP must surpass its predecessor. The COP28 International Youth Climate Delegate Program recognizes that youth have a pivotal role to play in the success of COP28 and climate progress,” said COP28 Youth Climate Champion Al Mazrui. “Youth hold the key to our shared future, their passion and innovation ignite change. We are committed to enhancing youth participation within the COP28 Presidency and the COP process, strengthening platforms that advance the youth climate agenda, formalizing their involvement, relaying and amplifying their voices, and empowering them through capacity building.”
“Success is incumbent on authentic inclusivity. Everyone is needed if we are to succeed,” said UN Climate Change High Level Champion for COP28 Ms. Al Mubarak. “We need to deliver for our youth and children by mobilizing support for youth-led solutions and ensuring that the non-state actors and the private sector support capacity-building, skills development and green jobs opportunities.”
During the session, youth leaders highlighted notable milestones of youth inclusion including the establishment of YOUNGO; the annual Conference of Youth which precedes COP and local pre-COP youth conferences, which took place in 80 countries in 2022. Speakers at the event also discussed progress made on the Global Youth Statement, an annual comprehensive set of youth policy proposals agreed to by global youth organizations, paragraph 64 of the COP26 Glasgow Climate Pact, and paragraph 55-57 of the COP27 Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan.
At the event, YOUNGO and youth leaders discussed persistent challenges faced by young people, including the lack of resources and funding for youth climate volunteers; gaps in education and capacity building to understand the complex negotiation topics, a lack of formalized processes for youth policy proposals to be considered by governments, and a disconnect between youth needs in formal negotiation spaces.
Young people called on the UNFCCC to reform international youth policy input processes and establish an accessible catalog of capacity-building content. Based on recommendations at the event, the incoming COP28 Presidency and the Youth Climate Champion agreed to deliver a roadmap and action plan on the road to COP28 to improve UNFCCC youth engagement structures.
First Cohort of the COP28 International Youth Climate Delegate Program Selected
The COP28 Presidency have also selected the first International Youth Climate Delegate Program (International YCDP) cohort of 100 youth delegates, representing the world’s least-developed countries, small island developing states, Indigenous Peoples, and minority groups.
Seventy-four percent of the delegates represent least-developed countries and small-island developing states across Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia, Oceania, the Middle East, and North Africa. The cohort of delegates include 12 from Indigenous communities and 10 from conflict areas. Fifty-six delegates are female, six are People of Determination, and 72 of the 100 delegates have never attended a COP.
The COP28 Youth Climate Champion team and YOUNGO oversee the International YCDP program. Six youth delegates from the International YCDP and three from the UAE Youth Climate Delegate Program participated in the SB58 as party observers.
The program was designed to provide a platform for the needs and policy proposals of youth in global climate decision-making, build climate capacity, knowledge, and networks among youth, and establish a model for equitable youth inclusion in all future COPs.
Leading up to COP28, youth delegates will be involved in capacity-building sessions, follow the UNFCCC negotiation process closely throughout the year, gather inputs from their home countries to build a youth-centered strategic plan for COP28, and participate in key climate events.
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Notes to Editors:
COP28 UAE will take place at Expo City Dubai from November 30-December 12, 2023. The Conference is expected to convene over 70,000 participants, including heads of state, government officials, international industry leaders, private sector representatives, academics, experts, youth, and non-state actors. As mandated by the Paris Climate Agreement, COP28 UAE will deliver the first ever Global Stocktake – a comprehensive evaluation of progress against climate goals. The UAE will lead a process for all parties to agree upon a clear roadmap to accelerate progress through a pragmatic global energy transition and a “leave no one behind” approach to inclusive climate action.