My experiences as a young person at COY16 and COP26
For the past week, I was fortunate enough to be in Glasgow, Scotland attending the pre-summit Conference on Youth (UKCOY16) as well as the United Nations’ annual Climate Change Conference (COP26). I was amazed by the energy surrounding the event and felt recharged by the enthusiasm that saturated the atmosphere, despite combatting jet lag and a wave of assignments.
The UN Climate Change Conference of Youth (COY) is an event under the banner of YOUNGO – The Official Youth Constituency of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The conference takes place right before the annual UN Climate Change Conference, also known as Conference of the Parties (COP), in the same host country as the COP. COY serves as a space for capacity building and policy training, in order to prepare young people for their participation at COP.
COP 26 is the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the third meeting of the parties to the Paris Agreement. This conference is the first time that parties are expected to commit to enhanced ambition since COP21.
During COY, I was fortunate enough to network with other youth climate advocates, give a speech on the Social Cost of Carbon, be interviewed for a spotlight in a COY16 documentary, and attend informative sessions hosted by other youth.
COP was another beast entirely. The sessions are divided by blue and green zones, where blue requires stakeholder registration for negotiators, country delegates, observers, parties, etc. The green zone is a public-facing parallel that organizations are able to host parallel events through. (You can also find in-depth coverage of my experience through my Instagram takeover of @unausayouth under the COP/COY ’21 highlights section.) I want to note here how grateful I was to be able to access this opportunity as well as how thankful I am to the tireless work of the organizers in ensuring this would be a safe and productive gathering.
I was also able to connect ahead of time with other UNA-USA members who were also attending COP26. One part of UNA-USA that I love is that there are so many others who are interested in similar initiatives – there’s always someone to talk to about any SDG-related program! Both UN Foundation employees and UNA-USA attendees were also incredibly helpful and supportive in navigating the logistics of my first COP.
While COP26 is still ongoing, I am confident that the youth who have been working tirelessly toward a more ambitious climate future have positively influenced the trajectory of the conference. If any of our readers ever have a chance to attend, I highly recommend seizing the opportunity.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to me at: email@example.com