February 11, 2010

UN HABITAT Youth report from COP 15

I found this document very useful for us to understand better our position and the next steps in 2010. It also includes an analysis of some youth view points collected by UN HABITAT during the last days of COP from some youth representatives.
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Sustainable Urbanization, Climate Change and Urban Youth
UN-HABITAT Partners and Youth Branch

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to be held in Copenhagen in December 2009 (the 15th Conference of the Parties) will offer governments from around the world the opportunity to reach a politically binding agreement on climate change. Advances on core themes, such as mitigation, technology transfer, and adaptation financing, will be critical steps in order to stabilize our global climate system.

Today’s young people will live with the decisions made in Copenhagen. Their needs and concerns must not be overlooked as decision-makers negotiate important climate and development policies relevant to the health and well-being of the world’s young population. As governments convene to discuss measures to respond to harmful climate effects, decision-makers must envision future mitigation, adaptation, and poverty reduction efforts which involve young people, as the decisions and behavioral changes youth make over the next 30-50 years will largely determine the extent to which we effectively tackle the climate crisis.

The number of children and youth is currently the largest in history relative to the adult population. Young people ages 15-24 comprise an estimated 1.2 billion people of today’s world population, with about 87% living in developing countries. Due to rapid urbanization in Africa, Latin America, and Asia, a significant proportion of the world’s young people will live in urban areas in low and middle income countries. By 2030, the number of urban dwellers will reach 5 billion, or 60% of the world’s population, with most of the growth taking place in developing world.
The impacts of climate change are likely to affect the livelihood opportunities, health and overall well-being of urban youth. Climate-related risks can add to the socio-economic challenges urban youth face daily, such as poverty, unemployment, crime, and food insecurity. While there is insufficient research on the implications of climate change for youth, there is increasing evidence that the urban poor in low-income countries will be more negatively affected by climate impacts. They often live in illegal, hazardous sites which make them vulnerable to floods, storms, and disasters and they lack the financial and social capital to develop effective adaptation measures. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report, the risks to the health of the urban poor in low income countries are many, and include the impact of heat waves, floods, and changes in disease patterns.
Empowering young people to participate in the design, implementation, and monitoring of urban mitigation and adaptation policies will be a key strategy to protect their own generation and future generations from harmful climate effects. Young people can bring creativity and insight to policies and programs. They can educate others on the causes climate change and innovative actions. Unlike children, they have the capacity to mobilize themselves, to take action and to make their voices heard. They can lobby governments to implement policies which incorporate the concerns of young people. And they can pressure the private sector through their purchasing power, demanding that businesses take actions to implement mitigation measures.
Youth residing in cities in low income countries are already taking action to cope with climate change. For example, in Kampala, Uganda, youth groups have joined to coordinate a city-wide urban tree planting program, in efforts to offset carbon emissions, prevent erosion due to flooding, and reduce the effects of urban heat islands. In Dhaka, Bangladesh, young people have taken the lead to develop community-based adaptation projects through the construction of rain water harvesting structures and the setting up of seed storage facilities in preparation for climate disasters. In New Delhi, India, youth active with the Indian Youth Climate Network have organized climate change camps which train young people to lobby for climate protection at the municipal and international level.
However, all too often urban young people are excluded from political decision-making, with limited opportunities to provide input to policies and programs of relevance to youth. Few governments in the developing world have involved young people in the design of National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPA), nor have they allocated funding for youth-led projects in their NAPA budgets. Youth organizations in urban areas in developing countries remain financially constrained, lacking the resources to effectively support and sustain their own mitigation, adaptation, and poverty reduction projects. Mechanisms have not been put in place-- at the municipal, national, and global level-- to provide spaces for young people to present their proposals and concerns to key decision-makers.
The decisions taken at the UN climate conference in Copenhagen can have a significant impact on the present and future living conditions of young people. Representatives of governments and international development agencies attending the Copenhagen conference should recognize that young people are important actors for development, and they deserve to be consulted on policies which affect them. In efforts to ensure that decision-makers attending the Copenhagen climate conference address the concerns of urban young people, this briefing paper presents the following policy recommendations.
UN-Habitat Policy Recommendations
1) Make climate adaptation needs of urban youth an agenda point in the international climate negotiation process on adaptation financing.

• International negotiations on adaptation financing can provide a window of opportunity for governments and civil society organizations to advance proposals which address the concerns and needs of urban youth living in climate-sensitive regions.
• International adaptation funding programs such as the United Nations’ Least Developed Country Fund, the Special Climate Change Fund, and the Adaptation Fund should incorporate mechanisms which allow young representatives to participate in decision-making processes on adaptation financing.
• International adaptation funding programs which ensure that financial support is available for youth-led adaptation projects are needed.
2) Ensure that young people have access to employment opportunities within the growing green jobs sector. Job creation for unemployed urban youth in climate sensitive regions should be given priority.

• A significant proportion of the world’s young people lack employment opportunities. Sealing a deal on an international climate treaty in Copenhagen could lead to an increase in the number of green jobs available worldwide, providing greater employment opportunities for urban young people in low and middle income countries who hope to escape poverty.
• City governments should invest in green jobs education, training and skills development programs for young people, preparing them for careers in fields such as renewable energy, transportation, and green building.

• United Nations agencies, such as the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), need to work in conjunction with municipalities and civil society organizations in order to establish green jobs training centers for young people.
• Partnerships between municipalities and green enterprises are needed. Governments can provide incentives, such as subsidies and research support, for green enterprises which offer internships and employment for young people.
3) Provide an enabling environment for youth to participate in urban mitigation and adaptation planning.
• Young people can bring energy, idealism and critical thinking to urban mitigation and adaptation planning. City officials and urban planners should engage youth in decision-making processes for improving urban resilience.
• International development agencies should provide financial, capacity-building, and research support to programs which engage youth in urban adaptation planning.
• Mechanisms are needed to involve youth in budget planning for urban mitigation and adaptation programs. Such a participatory approach would give youth the opportunity to advocate for poverty reduction and climate-related projects which address their immediate needs. The participatory budget model has already been implemented in cities such as Barra Mansa, Brazil, where a children’s participatory budget council has successfully engaged children and teenagers in the urban budget planning process.
• Urban youth councils are required, so that young people can be directly involved in urban planning processes which affect their health and well-being. The councils give young people the opportunity to share their insights on strategies to tackle the climate crisis.
4) Involve youth in the design of National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs).

• Least Developed Countries (LDC) can ask for financial support for their climate adaptation projects by submitting National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). To date, the UNFCCC has received NAPAs from 38 least developed countries, the majority of which do not mention youth.

• Guidelines calling for youth participation in the preparation of NAPAs are essential. National and municipal policy-makers can organize consultative meetings to solicit inputs and ideas from young people who can then identify and prioritize adaptation activities which address their needs.

• Involve young people in discussions on funding available in NAPAs for youth-led mitigation and adaptation projects.

5) Increase funding for research and monitoring programs on youth and climate change.

• There is a growing body of research work focused on the implications of climate change for women and children. However, little has been written about youth. The uncertainties about how young people will be affected by climate change make it challenging to advance youth-centered policies.

• Increase funding for research programs which collect and disseminate new insights on the interactions between climate change and young people.

• Youth-led monitoring programs related to climate impacts should involve them directly in assessing potential problems.

6) Increase funding for educational resources on global climate change.

• Scientifically accurate, educational resources on global climate change are needed and should be made readily available to urban youth in low and middle income countries. These materials can inform, educate and inspire youth to take actions to tackle climate change.

• Increase funding for youth-led communications initiatives and materials, such as pamphlets, policy reports, videos, and action guides. Priority should be given to youth organizations in developing countries already designing and distributing their own innovative communication materials. Magazines, newsletters, and websites produced by young people can be effective tools to raise awareness on the adverse effects of climate change.

7) Involve urban young people in the planning of urban disaster risk reduction programs.

• Climate-related disasters, such as storms, floods, and droughts, can undermine the livelihoods of urban youth in the developing world. The implementation of disaster risk reduction measures are necessary in order to reduce the vulnerability of youth to climate disasters.

• Young people should be involved in the design of urban climate disaster management policies and programs. They can disseminate information about climate hazards, coordinate education campaigns on disaster preparedness, and advocate for disaster management strategies which address the needs of urban youth.

Author: Ambika Chawla
For More information contact: Partners and Youth Branch, Monitoring and Research Division,
UN-HABITAT, Nairobi, Kenya. Email: partners@unhabitat.org. Tel: + 254 20 7623870
Fax:+ 254 20 7624588


Youth Opinions on the COP 15 Climate Summit

Ambika Chawla

In the eyes of many young people, the outcome of the COP 15 UN climate summit falls short of what they hoped would be achieved in Copenhagen-- ambitious, legally binding targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions and consensus on how to move forward with a climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which phases out in 2012.

The main result of the COP 15 climate summit is the Copenhagen Accord, a political framework drafted by Brazil, China, India, South Africa and the United States, which sets a goal of limiting global warming to 2 degree C. The Copenhagen Accord fails to outline specific, legally binding actions to prevent dangerous climate change. Rather, it is based on the approach that governments make voluntary commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in line with their domestic laws and regulations. Initially, countries were expected to pledge their emissions targets by the end of January 2010, with developed countries implementing their targets by the beginning of 2020. However, the UN recently dropped the January 31 deadline, as only 20 of the 192 countries have submitted proposals to reduce emissions.

COP 15 did make some headway in regard to climate adaptation policy and financing, recognizing the need to scale up financial support to help countries in the developing world cope with harmful climate impacts. “We recognize the critical impacts of climate change and the potential impacts of response measures on countries particularly vulnerable to its adverse effects….and stress the need to establish a comprehensive adaptation programme including international development support,” stated the Copenhagen Accord. It outlined that rich countries will contribute to adaptation programs the amount of $30 billion for the 2010 - 2012 period, and $100 billion a year by 2020. Governments decided that the majority of these funds would be channeled through a ‘Copenhagen Green Climate Fund,’ which will support mitigation, adaptation and technology transfer projects in the developing world.

Yet, the important details have yet to be hammered out. There is still no agreement as to how to manage the Fund. U.S. negotiators are asking that the World Bank act as the main overseer of the Fund, while developing countries are hopeful for a new, democratically elected body, which would be under control of the Conference of Parties. Developing countries are also pushing to have direct access to the Climate Fund, arguing that experience has shown them that there are frustrating delays when it comes to accessing large donor funds. In terms of deforestation, Australia, France, Japan, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States collectively agreed to provide $3.5 billion to slow and halt deforestation in developing countries. The funding will go to developing countries that develop REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) projects. Yet, similar to the Green Climate Fund, there was no agreement as to the mechanisms required to properly monitor and manage the fund for REDD. And, in the view of many representatives of environmental and indigenous groups, the combination of scaled up funds and limited controls could in fact increase the risks and pressures on forests and forest people in developing countries.

Young people will be affected by the outcome of the COP 15 Climate Summit. The failure on the part of governments to agree on an ambitious, fair, and legally binding climate agreement will impact the well-being and livelihoods of the world’s youth. Fortunately, youth from all parts of the world are increasingly taking bold steps to protect the climate. In Copenhagen, there were an unprecedented number of youth activists from all parts of the globe; they organized educational and cultural side events, lobbied their respective policy-makers, web-blogged on a daily basis, held skills sharing workshops in order to learn from one another, and took part in the colorful and noisy protests in the streets outside of the Bella conference center. While many considered COP 15 a failure at the official level, it could be considered a success at the informal level, as thousands of future leaders had the opportunity to share information, ideas, and develop collaborative partnerships.

Over 1,500 youth leaders from more than 100 countries gathered in Copenhagen to attend COP 15. They represented national, grassroots youth organizations as well regional coalitions and international organizations, such as 350.org, various agencies of the United Nations, World Wildlife Fund, and Peace Child International. The Copenhagen conference was the first time that youth, united under the banner YOUNGO, were formally accredited into a COP meeting as a constituency. As a result, they were able to participate as an official stakeholder in the UNFCCC process, sharing their climate policy positions with policy-makers and negotiators. Collectively, they pushed for a goal of limiting temperature rise to no more than 1.5 degrees C and mechanisms to ensure that youth have a voice in decision-making processes on climate policy. Copenhagen offered young people with a unique opportunity to learn from one another, build alliances, and strengthen an international movement for intergenerational climate justice.

At the end of the conference, UN-Habitat circulated a questionnaire form to youth delegates active within YOUNGO, to learn more about their opinions on the Copenhagen conference. What do young people think about the outcome of COP 15? Are they happy or disappointed with the Copenhagen Accord? Did they feel that their concerns were adequately addressed by decision-makers? What are their hopes for the next UN climate summit, COP 16, which will take place in Mexico? Youth activists from India, Botswana, Fiji, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Guyana, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Mexico, Barbados, and the Bahamas provided insightful, knowledgeable, and often impassioned responses. It is important that policy-makers hear their recommendations and develop ways to support their inclusion in decision-making processes on global climate change policy. Here is what they have to say.







1) Name: Prakhar Goel
Organization: Indian Youth Climate Network
Country: India
Age:23

1) What did you think about the outcome of COP 15?

I am very disappointed by the outcome of COP15. The Copenhagen Accord came as a surprise to everyone and it was sad to see the way the negotiations were handled. In international negotiations we look for transparency, and this was lacking in Copenhagen. In conclusion, I was disappointed and unhappy with the outcome.

2) Do you think the concerns of young people were adequately addressed by decision-makers attending COP-15?

I was happy to see the large role which youth played in the whole negotiation process. The youth constituency is doing a great job. I think decision-makers were affected by the actions which were done by youth. But, since the COP 15 process failed, decision-makers failed to meet the expectations of young people.

3) What do you hope for from COP 16?

I hope that in COP 16 we do not face the same problems. I hope that the plenary sessions will not be suspended, that protestors will not be hit on the road, and that important decisions will not be made at the last moment. I hope to see the world uniting around a common agreement, an agreement with a vision towards the future, rather than focused on protecting self-interests.

4) Did you enjoy yourself in Copenhagen?

COP 15 was my first exposure to the UN climate negotiation and I enjoyed it a lot. I had a great time. I learned a lot and gained a greater understanding of the issues. The youth activities and events brought a lot of fun during my stay.

2) Name: Yolisa Modise
Age: 22
Organization: Botswana National Youth Council
Country: Botswana

1) What did you think about the outcome of COP 15?

It was rather disappointing, but not all is lost-- at least the developing countries managed to get some pledges for adaptation from the Copenhagen Accord, although the level of ambition is not satisfactory. More could have been done. A legally binding agreement on the total level of emissions reductions required should have been reached.

2) Do you think the concerns of young people were adequately addressed by decision-makers attending COP-15? Explain.

Young people’s concerns were not adequately addressed because most of the youth were involved with NGO’s. Towards the end of the conference, their access into the negotiation halls was restricted.

3) What do you hope for from COP 16?

I hope for an ambitious and legally binding climate deal, with a firm commitment on the part of developed countries to tackle climate change. I hope industry will also take the lead and that there will be technology transfer between industries in the Global South and the North. I also hope for greater solidarity between the international youth.

4) Did you enjoy yourself in Copenhagen?

I enjoyed myself very much. I had the opportunity to network and see what other youth are doing to fight climate change in their respective countries. Denmark is a key player in renewable energy and energy efficiency, so I learned a lot in terms of possible policy recommendations. In addition, it was a beautiful city, which made sightseeing worthwhile.

3) Name: Subhashni Raj
Age: 24
Organization: 350.org
Country: Fiji

1) What did you think about the outcome of COP 15?

There was no outcome at COP 15. The Copenhagen Accord was not acknowledged by all of the 191 countries. There was no Deal. The Copenhagen Accord is a piece of paper where 25 countries decided to write down what they think is best for the world. The accord was not negotiated—it was jammed down the throats of the rest of the world. I did not expect great things to happen at COP 15, but I really did not expect such an undemocratic, non-transparent, and unjust negotiation process to take place. Maybe it is me who was naïve in thinking that our world leaders are better than this, but I was sadly mistaken. The only good thing that happened at COP 15 was that the island nations stood up for themselves. Some say we blocked the process. The vulnerable countries were the only ones who really had anything to lose, so if we were being handed death sentences, of course we should be fighting for our survival. We did not block the process, but were left out of the process as were many other countries. The last 36 hours or so of the negotiations was a sham. How the UN could let something like that happen—I am still at a loss of understanding. This cannot be the way we decide for the world—the countries cannot be left out of the decision-making process. We need to re-prioritize. COP 15 was another trade negotiation meeting where real people were forgotten.

2) Do you think the concerns of young people were adequately addressed by decision-makers attending COP-15? Explain.

How can we even be asked this question when from the second week, the NGO’s and civil society were at first restricted, and then removed from the Bella Center and the process? How could our concerns have been adequately voiced when our futures were being decided for us, but without us? No, the decision-makers did not provide adequate space within the negotiations for young people. Ban Ki Moon even cancelled his high level session with youth, and we were not even warned, but we were waiting patiently for him. He did not show up. So no—youth were not valued at COP 15.

3) What do you hope for from COP 16?

This depends on what the agenda for COP 16 is. Will the leaders, in light of Haiti, take a stronger stand on climate change in Mexico, or will it be another trade negotiation meeting? If people like Stern keep on harping on about how it is about numbers and not people, then we will never be able to make it anything but that. The reality is that though there are real people suffering, in real countries, and they are not responsible for what is happening, nor can they alone stop it. I really do wish we could do this without the rest of the world, but we cannot. So, with some optimism, I hope that by the time we get to Mexico, the global movement against climate change has grown so much, that the leaders cannot ignore us. I hope that the global people’s movement flows out into the streets and pushes governments into action. Results will come from people acting—not from our political leaders. Most leaders have no gumption.

4) Did you enjoy yourself in Copenhagen?

In light of the results, I did not enjoy COP 15. However, I value the experience and enjoyed working with the youth movement—being at the forefront of this fight. I enjoyed learning from my colleagues at 350.org—sbsolutely amazing and talented people.

4) Name: Abdullah Al Razwan
Age: 25
Organization: Youth in Action on Climate (YAC)
Country: Bangladesh

1) What did you think about the outcome of COP 15?
I can say that something is better than nothing. For the first time, the new Copenhagen Accord will include a list of what each country will be doing to tackle climate; it will introduce scrutiny and transparency to ensure that emission targets are put into effect; it will provide $30 billion of immediate short funding from developed countries over the next three years; and it will commit developed countries to provide long term financing of $100 billion a year by 2020. But, it is not success, as the main goal of the conferences was to get a legally binding treaty.
2) Do you think the concerns of young people were adequately addressed by decision-makers attending COP-15? Explain.
No. The decision makers didn’t mention youth issues adequately. Youth are the victims of climate change in the future. The decision-makers should generate an extra paper in COP 16 where they include all relevant issues important for youth.

3) What do you hope for from COP 16?

A fair and legally binding treaty for future generations. No more accord or nothing.

4) Did you enjoy yourself in Copenhagen?

Though Copenhagen became Flopenhagen, we did learn lots of thing. This is the first time I participated in an international summit. I am inspired to see the youth movement and engagement on the issue of climate change. Now I am planning to start a youth movement on climate change in my country.

5) Name: Krishneil Narayan
Age: 23
Organization: Project Survival Pacific
Country: Fiji

1) What did you think about the outcome of COP 15?

Disappointing, simply disappointing!! The outcome is a minimalist agreement, disappointing in substance. The process was hectic. The agreement found is somehow the lowest common denominator. This is not the deal we hoped for.

At the conference, no legally binding treaty was reached. Insufficient funding for technology transfer and adaptation was offered. Pollution reduction targets offered by most countries were below the level needed to ensure the survival of island nations and to avoid dangerous and deadly climate tipping points. Instead, we got the Copenhagen Accord, an inadequate agreement negotiated by some of the major polluters outside of the formal United Nations negotiating process. The status of the Copenhagen Accord is highly uncertain from both a political and legal perspective. The biggest losers from the Copenhagen Accord are the small island developing states who are obviously the canary in the coal mine for climate change. There are no figures yet in the Accord. But, the addition of current pledges is likely to lead towards a 3 degree C or even 3.5 degree C increase in temperature, putting mere existence at a very high risk. On the other hand, it can be argued that the deal is positive in the sense that it avoided the total collapse of the negotiations and commits countries to at least some of the necessary climate mitigation and adaptation funding. While Copenhagen was mostly a failure from my perspective, it did provide a base for future success.

2) Do you think the concerns of young people were adequately addressed by decision-makers attending COP-15? Explain.

No, the concerns of young people were not at all adequately addressed in the Copenhagen outcome. Youth were calling for a fair, ambitious, binding deal in Copenhagen. We were asking to avoid catastrophic climate change and ensure the survival of current and future generations with an agreement that ensures climate justice, limits global temperature rise to no more than 1.5 °C, reduces atmospheric carbon dioxide levels back down to 350 ppm or lower, commits developed countries to financing for adaptation of at least 5% GDP by 2020, and reduces the emissions of developed countries by at least 45% below 1990 levels by 2020.
However, none of these points were effectively addressed. Instead, we got the Copenhagen Accord, which was negotiated outside of the formal United Nations negotiating process. We were hopeful that we would see a substantial discussion on legal texts and that there might be a breakthrough on a legally binding outcome, given the fact that there were 115 heads of state coming to the meeting. We thought it would be possible, if the mood was right, for a legally binding outcome. We have all worked so hard for the past two years with the promise of a strong deal in Copenhagen to safeguard our future. But, this promise was not delivered. It is unacceptable. We placed our trust in our leaders but they failed to assume responsibility on the urgency of the matter. They failed to remove the brackets from our future. The world leaders should be ashamed. They have been negotiating for 17 years, how much more time do they need?
3) What do you hope for from COP 16?

The Copenhagen climax is not the end of the story. There is still a lot of work to be done. The next few months will be critical to the future of climate change politics/policy. World leaders who have agreed to the Copenhagen Accord now have an opportunity to take immediate, concrete steps to reduce emissions and fund adaptation programs for developing countries. February 1, 2010 is a key date in the Accord, as it is the deadline for countries to inscribe their targets, policies and measures into the Appendix of the Accord.

The question is to know if and how the Copenhagen Accord can help reach a consensus in both LCA and KP tracks in the coming months up to Mexico, because the Copenhagen Accord does not bind the contracting parties for the work to be continued under the AWG’s. The implementation of the Copenhagen Accord will depend upon the willingness of its signatory countries to make it happen – their Political Will.







Obviously, hopefully things will change on the U.S. legislation front. If they do, it will relieve pressure from the situation and allow for more progress to occur. Hopefully, the meeting in Bonn in June will allow us to move forward in a more substantive way, leading up to Mexico with the U.S. having signed a legal agreement. If that works out favorably, then I think we can really get into some negotiations of proper outcomes at COP16 and not just window dressing, which is what happened in Copenhagen. If we thought Copenhagen was tough, COP16 will be a lot more so. There, countries will need to fill in the aspects sketched in the Copenhagen Accord.

4) Did you enjoy yourself in Copenhagen?

Yes, I certainly enjoyed my time in Copenhagen, it is a wonderful city. There are many stories to tell about Copenhagen, and even more left to create in the long path to achieving climate solutions. The biggest story for me has been my feelings of inspiration & motivation from the committed young people I met there who are so enthusiastic about realizing solutions to climate change. I went to Copenhagen as a Fijian youth delegate, and there I met with about 2,000 young people from across the world, all calling out to our leaders with one unified voice for climate justice.
This unity of the international youth movement on climate change is growing and will surely keep on growing beyond Copenhagen. If we the youth, the future of this world, can unite as one movement on this issue, we expect leaders deciding out future to do the same. We hope leaders will deliver a legal binding treaty without any further delay in Mexico City this year to ensure our survival.
6) Name: Jessie James L. Marcellones
Age: 23
Organization: MRP Green Project, Philippine Youth Climate Movement, UNEP TUNZA
Country: Philippines

1) What did you think about the outcome of COP 15?

The outcome of COP 15 is not really what people wanted. People around the world, especially the youth, are asking for a legally-binding instrument with concrete commitments among countries (developed and developing countries) to reduce carbon emissions by 2020 and beyond. Youth are still on the move to continue to pressure the leaders of the world to seal the deal and come up with a legally-binding protocol during COP 16 in Mexico.

2) Do you think the concerns of young people were adequately addressed by decision-makers attending COP-15? Explain.

Not really. Most youth are not happy with the result of the negotiations. We, however, consider COP 15 as a step towards the making of a legally-binding instrument that will ensure a better place in the future including the survival of people, especially those who are living in small island states.

3) What do you hope for from COP 16?

I am hoping that COP 16 will not be a repetition of COP 15. Concrete plans must be done and a united decision must be made so that a legally-binding protocol will be made, ensuring that there will be a better and sustainable life for the future. Survival is not negotiable. COP 16 must be a success.

4) Did you enjoy yourself in Copenhagen?

Yes, I enjoyed myself in Copenhagen because I met with a lot of people who are deeply concerned for the future of our planet. However, the results of the negotiation are somehow affecting the personal happiness that I felt. Actions must be done. Plans must be written, with a focus on survival.

7) Name: Elon Mc Curdy
Age: 25
Organization: Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN)
Country: Guyana

1) What did you think about the outcome of COP 15?

Given the fact that COP 15 was graced with the presence of the largest contingent of world leaders and the importance having a decision, I believe more could have been done. There was no binding agreement of any sort. What we heard were words that will take time to materialize. More could have been done, but I guess the negotiators and the others parties already knew what some of the outcomes were going to be. There could have been more commitment from countries that are large greenhouse gas emitters.

2) Do you think the concerns of young people were adequately addressed by decision-makers attending COP-15? Explain.

We having being saying for the longest time that young people are the leaders of tomorrow -- how we are the ones who will have the bulk of work to do-- so why aren’t we given the opportunity to address our concerns on matters of great magnitude? Decision-makers need to understand that whatever decisions they make, they may not live to see what the outcomes are. I believe countries, especially in the Caribbean, need to have a youth representative on their delegation. No, the concerns of young people were not addressed. And, if they were, I guess it was minimal because we have been receiving such a treatment for the longest time.




3) What do you hope for from COP 16?

COP15 saw so much dedication, enthusiasm and passion from youth from all around the world. I hope we can bring that and more to COP16. I want each Caribbean government to have at least one youth delegate on their team. I want to see the Superpowers do more to make the 350ppm and 1.5 C goal a reality. I want them to realize that we are at the frontline of being totally gone. I want the UNFCCC to have a better system in place because the participation for COP 16 is going to be bigger and better than COP15. Youth are now seeing the importance of having their voices heard and the importance of being climate change advocates. I want to see youth having a greater say in the process. They should be acknowledged and put to the front line of further discussions.

4) Did you enjoy yourself in Copenhagen?

Copenhagen is a beautiful city. People were very appreciative towards us (me) and in a sense I felt welcomed. Enjoyment for me was getting up in the morning knowing that there are some great activities for me to attend, including information that I will be able to collect to share with my fellow members. I was given the opportunity to meet and work with some great and inspiring people who were kind enough to give advice. They allowed us (me) to see how they do what they are passionate about.

8) Name: Angela St. Denis
Age: 26
Organization: Caribbean Youth Environment Network
Country: St. Lucia

1) What did you think about the outcome of COP 15?

I believe the outcome of COP15 is unsatisfactory because the “agreement” is not legally binding and leaves much to be desired. Moreover, the decisions made entail more benefits for developed countries rather than the ones who will be most adversely affected by climate change. Developing countries like those in the Caribbean are disadvantaged in the end. However, we can be mindful that the target is 2%, which is .5 percent more than what was requested by CARICOM and AOSIS. The outcome of COP15 could have been different had the grouping such as AOSIS and G77 been more united in their interventions.

2) Do you think the concerns of young people were adequately addressed by decision-makers attending COP-15?

The outcome alone says that the concerns of youth were not adequately addressed. Further, the fact that most youth organizations had none or restricted access to activities in the final week signified the lack of importance the officials placed on our concerns. More importantly, only a few governments had youth members as part of their delegations. To me, this sends the message that they are not all ready to include us in the process of developing our nations to deal with the effects of climate change. Nonetheless, I say “bravo” to governments like St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Barbados, who saw the need to include youth. I hope this is a sign that they are willing to make an effort far into the future. I believe that other governments should have used youth from their countries to make interventions in the plenary sessions.

3) What do you hope for from COP 16?

I hope that the planners of COP16 learn from the experience of COP15. They should bear in mind the outcome from 2009 and encourage a more concrete deal for all parties. Additionally, plans should be made to include more contributions from NGO’s and youth organizations.

4) Did you enjoy yourself in Copenhagen?

Despite the weather, my time in Copenhagen was enjoyable. It was an invaluable experience being part of such a massive UN conference and taking part in climate history. If I did not attend the conference, my understanding of the issues would have been limited. It was a great learning experience. The welcoming and generous people of Copenhagen made my stay even more pleasant.

9) Name: Yoland London
Age: 28
Organization: CYEN
Country: St. Vincent and the Grenadines

1) What did you think about the outcome of COP 15?

The outcome was very disappointing. I think that climate change issues are obviously not a priority for many developed nations. They fail to realize that we do not have much time to make the changes that need to be made. Hence, they refused to seal the deal. We see island nations already experiencing the effects of climate change-- some greater than others, but at the end of the day, climate change is happening and something needs to be done now. Something could have been done during COP15, and yet nothing was agreed upon. I hope that one day very soon the leaders of the developed nations will stop and reflect on the decisions they made. Decisions that are doing nothing to preserve this planet. I left Denmark very saddened and disappointed because of the outcome of the negotiations.

2) Do you think the concerns of young people were adequately addressed by decision-makers attending COP-15? Explain.

I do not think the concerns of young people were adequately addressed for the simple reason that there was no deal. Thousands of young people gathered in and outside of Bella center day after day saying we need the deal-- we need a fair, legally binding agreement. We need to survive. We need developed nations to take responsibility -- yet they do not seem to be listening. Young people are the future leaders and whatever decisions the present leaders make, will affect us. Young people’s voices should be heard and that did not happen at COP15.

3) What do you hope for from COP 16?

My main hope is that leaders from the developed world take a little time to reflect, prior to COP 16. The islands are already disappearing due to climate change. Think about all the negative effects that climate change is having and will continue to have, if mitigation measures are not in place. Think about the thousands of youth who plead day after day for decision-makers to do the right thing (seal the deal). Finally, think about how they could have done the right thing by giving us that legally binding agreement and did not. Seal the deal and we all will be happy!

4) Did you enjoy yourself in Copenhagen?

Yes I did. A lot of things in Copenhagen were new experiences for me, especially the food and the weather. I enjoyed every minute of being there and I’m left with fond memories. Thank you!

10) Name: Mariama Branker
Age: 22
Organization: The Caribbean Youth Environment Network
Country: Barbados

1) What did you think about the outcome of COP 15?

I believe that there was success and disappointment with the outcome of COP15.
The Copenhagen Accord is not a legally binding treaty and it is not representative of what is necessary for the sustainable development of vulnerable countries. By virtue of its very definition, the Accord is simply a harmony of ideas of our global heads of government.

Our Caribbean governments were unable to achieve through the negotiating bloc AOSIS the necessary legally binding agreement. The silver lining in the entire issue is that America, which has proved to be an infuriating and resistant stumbling block, now has a document that they can present to Senate for review. If the document is accepted, it will allow for a more successful negotiation at the next COP. For the Caribbean region, COP- 15 was successful for two reasons:

i. The establishment of the sustainable energy initiative fund- SIDS-Dock

Caribbean governments, along with the Pacific and Mediterranean countries launched an energy initiative to reduce emissions and pursue low carbon development. SIDS-Dock is an institutional mechanism which will allow small island nations to transition into clean energy economies.

ii. Development of the relationship between Caribbean youth and our governments.

We were able to get representatives of the national delegations of Barbados, St. Vincent and St. Lucia to Copenhagen. The Santo Domingo Caribbean Youth Declaration on Climate Change, which was created at the Caribbean Youth Environment Network’s biennial exchange in the Dominican Republic, indicates that having youth involved in the Copenhagen process is imperative in order to develop the relationship between governments and the youth sector in the fight against climate change. One of the major goals of this document is that young people should officially be a part of the government delegations, so that they can have the youth voice represented within the negotiations. It is also important that to truly understand the UNFCCC negotiations, youth need to be on national delegations so that they can have access to sessions which would normally be restricted to high level technocrats, presidents and prime ministers.

2) Do you think the concerns of young people were adequately addressed by decision-makers attending COP-15? Explain.

I believe that within the Caribbean the concerns of our young people and civil society in general were readily accepted by our governments. They acknowledged that they were fighting for the goal of reducing average global temperatures to no more than 1.5 degrees.
However, I am disappointed that the negotiations bloc AOSIS settled for a goal of 2 degrees on behalf of our small island developing states.

The reality is that youth from developed countries were not taken seriously at the meetings and were in fact met with animosity. The major player in the negotiations, the United States, was completely oblivious to the pleas of their young people. The major carbon emitting countries in fact were not receptive to the demands of their young people. Had they listened to their voices, there would have been a legally binding outcome from Copenhagen, which included the scientifically proven goal of reducing global average temperatures to below 1.5 degrees.

3) What do you hope for from COP 16?

I hope for a negotiating process which is effective and considers the vulnerability of small island developing states. I want government leaders globally to listen to their young people. They need to stop thinking in the now and consider tomorrow. Specifically, COP 16 should produce a legally binding agreement with the goals of: a) reducing greenhouse gas emissions to well below 350ppm; b) reducing global average temperatures to below 1.5 degrees; c) allocating $250 billion in financing for developing countries to adapt to climate change. The allocation should be determined by those countries which are most at risk or most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change; designing and implementing mechanisms (short, medium, and long term) which help the big emitters to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the national level.


4) Did you enjoy yourself in Copenhagen?

The experiences I had in Copenhagen will last forever. I think that the hostility of the weather in Copenhagen was echoed within the negotiations, neither of which I enjoyed. Hopefully the sunshine of the tropics in Mexico will help in the upcoming negotiations.


11) Name: Carolina Aguayo Miranda
Age: 22
Organization: Asociación de Scouts de México.
Country: México

1) What did you think about the outcome of COP 15?

Which outcome? I think that this time, politicians were more worried about their own interests and companies didn´t want to create partnerships to benefit humanity. They only sought financial interests.

2) Do you think the concerns of young people were adequately addressed by decision-makers attending COP-15? Explain.

I believe that decision-makers must take into account the declarations of youth, in order to make decisions for the future.

3) What do you hope for from COP 16?

I hope that several youth organizations unite to create projects in favor of CO2 reductions and that they participate actively in the decision-making processes at COP16. I hope that there will be a real agreement between all parties related to the reduction of CO2 emissions.

4) Did you enjoy yourself in Copenhagen?

I loved the city, culture and way of life, but with the constant uprisings during COP15,
I was worried about the security of the place where I was staying.












12) Name: Arvis Elaine Mortimer
Age: 21
Organization: The Caribbean Youth Environment Network
Country: The Bahamas


1) What did you think about the outcome of COP 15?

I was somewhat disappointed with the outcome of COP-15. I really wanted a unified and solid policy, with developed countries taking responsibility for their astronomical carbon dioxide emissions.

2) Do you think the concerns of young people were adequately addressed by decision-makers attending COP-15? Explain.

Unfortunately, I do not think that the concerns of young people were adequately addressed by decision makers attending COP-15. One of the main reasons being that many of the plenary sessions were closed to young individuals. Additionally, it appeared that many of the decision-makers did not seek to have discussions with the young individuals present.

3) What do you hope for from COP 16?

At COP-16, I would like to hear that all of the countries present were able to develop and agree on an official energy policy, addressing global warming and its effects. Furthermore, I hope that this policy would limit CO2 emissions to no more than 350ppm and would advocate a temperature increase of less than 1.5˚C.

4) Did you enjoy yourself in Copenhagen?

I really did enjoy myself in Copenhagen, Demark! It was a wonderful experience, my knowledge about climate change and energy policy increased. I also made an immense amount of friends.

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