Options for Enhanced Youth Participation at COP16                                                Meta Level−   Youth parti...
Participation Process−   Enable good preparation of youth delegates in terms of content (e.g. like in CSD Youth Caucus).− ...
−   Make sure most meetings are public and supporting information such as negotiating texts are easily and    freely avail...
Additional Activities − Organize a preparatory conference for youth (e.g. as the conference in Sweden before the    Johann...
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Options for Enhanced Youth Participation at COP16

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This is a list of options of how youth participation at and aroud the UNFCCC Climate Change Conference in Cancun 2010 (COP16) could be made more effective. It is also relevant for other international processes where youth participation is needed, since most of the options are not specific to this topic.

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Options for Enhanced Youth Participation at COP16

  1. 1. Options for Enhanced Youth Participation at COP16 Meta Level− Youth participation is a common challenge for many policy processes.− Enabling youth participation should not be considered as an act of goodwill, but rather a right that young people have (as recognized in various international conventions).− The young generations interests tend to get marginalized in national political processes and that bias should be counterbalanced on the international level especially since youth have a special stake in the issue of climate change and need to be engaged and empowered.− The voice of youth is a necessary part of climate change negotiations because it reminds government officials who get too much into their positions and negotiation strategies of the real world out there.− Effective youth participation is a hallmark of good governance as defined by UNDP in 1997 (Core Characteristics: Participation, Rule of Law, Transparency, Responsiveness, Consensus Orientation, Equity, Effectiveness and Efficiency, Accountability and Strategic Vision) - if we strive for good governance in the UNFCCC, we must give youth participation a more prominent role, but also inclusion of civil society in general.− Where the split between adults and youth is too broad, young peoples participation becomes less productive: more events based advocacy and very visible actions but less policy work.− Mexican government could pledge to promote the active inclusion of civil society members at COP16, especially youth and indigenous people.− Mexico could pioneer and set standards (the “Cancun Standards” or “Mexico Standards”) others would then have to measure up against. (e.g. min 1 youth + 1 child participates in every group, children get a space for their daily press conference, min 1 child + 1 youth is allowed to speak during the high-level segment, the presidency allows youth and children delegates to ask for the floor on their behalf,.....)− Mexican Government has the COP Presidency up to COP 17 and needs to maintain a sustained dialogue with civil society and other governments, academia etc. Through discussions, meetings, communicating developments either in Mexico itself or through Mexican embassies around the world.− Division of work between children and youth: children adress emotions and long-term priorities (e.g. climate justice), at occasions also concrete points from the negotiations, youth do more work on the current topics of negotiations and address them.− Develop intrinsic motivation in our leaders on a daily basis: talk to them personally and in a friendly way, take action locally and make sure they know about it, get them involved in activities, make them feel part of the solution if they don’t manage to take initiative themselves. If the community shows support to the actions, the policymakers will support them as well, because they want to keep the voters on their side.− Synergies in participation activities (e.g. with the topics of MDGs and Sustainable Development, advocacy and education/capacity building) must be used, because no single strategy guarantees success but they mutually reinforce each other.− More youth representatives from Parties, NGOs, UN Agencies etc. are needed.− Implementation of Article 6 of the Convention on Education, Training and Public Awareness is needed before, during, and after the COP.− Make this list available to everybody and use it for future events.
  2. 2. Participation Process− Enable good preparation of youth delegates in terms of content (e.g. like in CSD Youth Caucus).− Motivation and empowerment is a very important dimension of participation activities, many of the participants of past events are active today.− Selection process of delegates is a critical point, since we want to foster cooperation not competition.− A condition for becoming a youth delegate could be that he/she has a participation and outreach strategy.− Reducing youth participation to a selected elite is an obstacle we should aim to remove.− Look for ways to have broad masses of kids/youth join participation activities/processes.− Virtual engagement through a dedicated website opens the door to a broader participation of young people.− Unite for Climate at UNICEF offered to provide their internet space for the youth participating in COP16.− Earth Child Institute would like to cooperate. They have experience with children participation at COP15, UNICEFs Childrens World Water Forum in Mexico in 2006, and International Childrens Climate Change Conference in Brasilia in 2010.− Participation or youth engagement should be a continuous process, not one that starts and stops around the event.− Government should provide money for some of the actions.− Approve a special budget for COP related youth participation activities, form a steering committee including youth representatives for exercising the budget.− Help youth organizations to raise funds to grow our movement, recognizing that many of us are struggling to do this on very little money, especially considering youth from the Global South (e.g. as the Netherlands government last year). Official Programme/Procedure− Participation is fairer and works better when young people are actually part of the negotiations in the same quality as adults. This may be difficult, but has always proven more effective than having two separated events, where the youths voices are expressed only through a declaration.− Often civil society makes statements during the final moments of a plenary or to an almost empty room. It would be more meaningful if civil society could actually engage in a dialogue with governments during key parts of the negotiating process. This may make more sense during intersessionals or in initial phases of negotiations but the CSD major group model could be an effective example.− Recognize youth as full participants in the negotiations and not spectators or booth exhibitors or side events holders.− Why people younger than 18 years old can’t attend COP16 and have a say there? (Is there such a rule?)− Yvos four worlds scheme should apply to all equally, i.e. government delegations, IGOs and NGOs.− Ensure youth have full access to the negotiations and plenaries throughout the two weeks, ensure civil society presence is not restricted at COP16 (bad example: Copenhagen, good example: Bali), because United Nations were established for humankind and social welfare purposes and governments accountability and transparency in the process for all citizens of the world needs to be assured.
  3. 3. − Make sure most meetings are public and supporting information such as negotiating texts are easily and freely available.− Ensure that YOUNGO receives funding equal to or more than for COP15.− Include youth/indigenous members in Mexicos delegation.− Encourage national delegations to include youth delegates and to work with their youth constituency.− Ask country delegations to “adopt” youth (similar to Ditas Mullers adoption by Sudan) and allow them to speak on their behalf. - Candidates: Maldives, Tuvalu, Nauru,...Mexico?− Give youth a simple, but potentially very influential opportunity: proposing the agenda of the meeting. Not dictating, only proposing. Delegates will decide whether to follow the proposal or not. Youths moral authority may come to bear and change the course of the negotiations.− Allow for a speech by several children at the high-level plenary.− Include “Plant for the planet” on Forest Day.− Make sure another Young & Future Generations Day is held. Around the Conference− Use youth for an independent feedback to measure progress that is not distorted by special interests.− Youth could work out a declaration of principles or a similar document and invite presidents and ministers to sign it and voluntarily commit themselves to these principles.− Children could translate for TV what has happened at the conference every day.− Create a feedback loop Negotiations – Translators – Children – Press – Negotiations, e.g. through daily childrens press conferences and briefing of the children by NGO or other “translators”.− Arrange meetings between youth delegations and formal delegations.− Provide special logistics support to YOUNGO (meeting rooms, SMS service, support to COY, etc).− Facilitate visas for youth who attend COY and post-COP feedback sessions.− Presidents and ministers plant trees together with children from Plant for the planet e.g. in a lunch break.− Ministerial lunch with youth delegates (such as at COP14).− Briefings with youth (such as at COP15).− Joint Press Conferences - Youth, Indigenous, UNFCCC Secretariat, Barack Obama, Hu Jintao.− Establish a live remote global intergenerational dialogue where a larger number of kids can go into studios in their countries to participate (without need to fly all over the world) through web-cast facilities which the World Bank and other donors such as JICA have in most developing countries.− Create a blog for youth and children like the Climate Champions Blog by the British Council in 2009 http://climatechampions.britishcouncil.org/).− Use the international network of youth climate groups for informing people outside of the negotiations about what is being negotiated.
  4. 4. Additional Activities − Organize a preparatory conference for youth (e.g. as the conference in Sweden before the Johannesburg Summit).− Hold a Children’s Climate Forum (as in 2009 which was a great success) either before or during COP16.− Write a booklet that explains the process in accessible terms together with youth organizations.− Call upon youth and student organizations to organize activities (workshops, conferences etc.) about the topic.− Hold contests to collect perspectives and ideas.− Do preparation workshops for the event.− Strengthen the capacity of youth in terms of the issues discussed in UNFCCC through a series of workshops and seminars in specific areas of youth concern.− Youth could debate. Outreach− Address the whole youth community by going directly through schools.− Connect participation with awareness raising activities (workshops, seminars, model conferences....).− Organize fora in different communities.− Information dissemination campaign targeting youth.− Promote information about the event in universities.− Use Facebook to spread the word.− Create a network with kids all around the world, create channels of communication so that kids can react to what happens in the negotiations and demonstrate in front of embassies and governments. (maybe rather for NGO channels)− Couple these initiatives with offline networks.− Help to get youth actively engaged in events that are happening anyway now organized by government, academia, civil society etc. Invite them to all kinds of public discussions, working groups etc. so they will understand more and more and can get involved in the current issues.27/7/2010Kjell Kühne, Instituto Nacional de Ecología, México, Tel. +52-55-54246443, kjell@ine.gob.mx

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