High Level Youth Briefings with the UNFCCC Executive Secretary and the SBI and SBSTA Chairs
During SB 42, YOUNGO representatives had the opportunity to meet with UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Ms. Christiana Figueres as well as with the SBI and SBSTA Chairs, Mr. Amena Yauvoli and Ms. Lidia Wojtal to pose questions on several key issues relating to the current negotiation process. Both sessions stressed the high potential youth and youth participation has to positively contribute to the debate on climate change issues.
"Complexity is not an excuse for non-action"
YOUNGO was specifically interested in several issues including the divestment of the UN pension fund, human rights issues to be anchored more specifically in the Geneva text, advice on how youth can become more impactful in the negotiation process and beyond and, whether the involvement of Heads of State at the beginning of the Paris talks will assist with ensuring that political issues are covered first, therefore allowing for negotiations to progress afterwards. It was during this exchange that Ms. Figueres emphasized the influential role youth play in combating climate change.
Ms. Figueres welcomed YOUNGO’s questions and encouraged their continued participation in the issues related to climate change negotiations. Ms. Figueres also encouraged YOUNGO to engage with delegates within their home countries, and those that are aligned with similar causes. Further, she suggested that YOUNGO should seek to assist negotiators by putting forward recommendations that can be commonly agreed upon as this would assist the negotiation process.
The Briefing closed with remarks from Ms. Figueres, highlighting the importance of youth and youth participation. Indeed, she noted that despite the notion of climate change being a complex issue, complexity is never an excuse for non-action.
SBI and SBSTA Chairs advocate for more youth participation in decision-making
Besides the UNFCCC Executive Secretary, YOUNGO representatives also met with the SBI and SBSTA Chairs. This meeting included discussions on how human rights issues are being integrated into the methodological guidance for REDD+ and CDM, the imperative of reaching long-term 2 degree goals, and the negotiations on markets and the way in which those discussions have progressed so far throughout this session. Article 6 of the Convention (Action for Climate Empowerment) was raised as a critical issue as well, particularly focusing on the 3rd Dialogue and its inclusive and participatory organization, with recommendations to the Chairs that this organization be carried into other parts of the process.
The SBI and SBSTA Chairs welcomed YOUNGO’s questions and noted that admitted observers, such as YOUNGO, are always welcome to make formal submissions via the submissions portals, which could then influence the negotiation process. They were also encouraged to engage in bilateral discussions with Parties, on the understanding that the process is a Party-driven one, and therefore based on the stated requirements and responses of Parties. It is thus important and appropriate for YOUNGO to further their discussions and direct their concerns at that level.