November 29, 2023

Getting ready for COP28

We all know that climate change disproportionately impacts young people. Our lives are defined by a crisis we didn’t create, giving our generation a unique perspective and sense of urgency to solve it. However, as urgent as we know this problem is, we’ve always had to fight for a seat at the table.  

Earning our seat

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s 28th Conference of Parties (COP28) begins tomorrow. This global convention is where many of the most critical climate commitments have been made, with parties and representatives from every corner of the globe. For many years, young people were left out of formal negotiations and workshops at COP, but that changed with the creation of the Conference of Youth (COY) in 2005 and YOUNGO, the official children and youth constituency of UNFCCC in 2009.  

A Unified Youth Voice

COY, which concluded its 18th conference yesterday, is a place for young people from around the world to come together before COP and build one cohesive Global Youth Statement. This statement is presented at the COP and represents the desires and demands of the unified global youth community. This statement is both functional and symbolic. It demonstrates the technical understanding young people have of climate change and why they deserve to be included in decisions, and how people from diverse backgrounds with diverse priorities can come together to advocate for their collective future. 

Engaging a global community

Last week Nick Haas, campaigns project manager at Defend Our Future, packed his bags and headed halfway around the world to be a part of global climate solutions. Nick is part of an impressive delegation of young activists who have spent the last week learning about youth advocacy and climate priorities across the world. As a representative of Defend Our Future and the U.S., Nick also hosted a panel with advocates from Nigeria, the United Arab Emirates and the Dominican Republic. Nearly 100 people attended to learn how young people can engage their elected and government officials in different countries. Hear directly from the speakers on our Instagram! 

Now Nick turns his attention to COP28 and how he can best represent the youth priorities to the larger COP delegation. We can’t wait to keep following Nick’s journey via Instagram @defendourfuture