Tuesday, November 27, 2018

My City My Responsibility - Youth for Climate action Part I

A casual group photo at CEE
Dear All, 

I am very excited to share with you the insights of a Youth Conference that I attended last week in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. It was the Local Conference for Youth (LCOY 14) for South Asia region hosted by Centre for Environment Education (CEE) in Ahmedabad. The theme of this conference was what actions the youth of the country can take in order to have a low carbon future. Students, budding environment entrepreneurs, researchers, PHD scholars and professionals from all over India and Bangladesh participated in this conference. Being a South Asia regional conference participants from Nepal, Afghanistan and Pakistan were also supposed to attend but couldn't make it this time. So we were a cozy group of around 30 Climate enthusiasts for the conference.  

As a researcher working in the field of Climate action I have been curious about what exactly happens at the Conference of Parties (COP) especially after the  COP21 at Paris that led to a landmark agreement bringing all the nations together to combat climate change and accelerate actions for a sustainable low carbon future. When I heard about LCOY last year my curiosity had been awakened. and I wanted to know more about it. That's when I learnt that Conference of Youth (COY) happens within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and aims at engaging youth for understanding the climate negotiations happening at the global level in COP and strengthens the capacity for actions at the local level. 

LCOY provides an opportunity where all the initiatives and research happening at local level towards climate change impacts are discussed, compiled and presented at the GCOY i.e the Global Conference for Youth. The GCOY takes place before or during the COP every year. This year GCOY will be happening around 29th November ahead of COP24 in Katowice, Poland. I am glad that I could attend LCOY this year and could share our work on climate vulnerability and low carbon lifestyles choices. I really hope these suggestions get discussed in this year's COP.

At the COP, LCOY India is endorsed by YOUNGO which is an official constituency of UNFCCC and is a dynamic network of individuals and organizations focused on youth for climate action. YOUNGO has been accredited a status of  'Observer' at the COP and presents all the inputs from the LCOY's at the GCOY.  It was overwhelming to meet the south coordinator of YOUNGO - Yugratna Srivastava  in this conference. 

On the first day, after all the introductions and background, one of the activities involved role playing. Here we actually got a hang of what happens at the COP through mock climate negotiations. We all were grouped as different regional groups known as Party Groupings. The regional groups include G77+ China - a group that comprises of developing nations (India is included in this group), the like minded developing countries (LMDC's), Least Developed Countries (LDC's) and the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) - one of the biggest group of nations. Then there is the African Group of Negotiators, the EU group comprising 28 member states of European union, an Umbrella group consisting of US and Russia predominately, the Environmental Integrity group comprising the Mexico, Korea and Switzerland etc. While there are some non party groups as well known as the Observers which includes all the non formal associations like NGO's, activists, professionals etc. 

I was a part of the G77+China group where we all had to advocate for the voices of the LMDC's who were struggling to just survive in the face of the climate change impacts, to other climate negotiators. We had a great debating session. I realised how important it is to have knowledge of country statistical data in putting forth one's point strongly. Moreover, I realized that the job of a negotiator representing his/her country is highly critical, knowledge based, political, diplomatic and absolutely risky. There may be more to it for sure. I also realised how tricky it is to come to a consensus for any single given issue. The mock took almost two hours for us as party groups, to come to a consensus on the single issue of deciding what should be the limits for the global temperature rise in this century. Should it be below 2 degree Celsius or  well below 1.5 deg Celsius??? Tuff job!

I am going to write more about my reflections on the other sessions at LCOY, some highlights and views on the Sabarmati riverfront development and the city of Ahmedabad in general in my next blogs. Stay tuned!

Pournima Agarkar. 

1 comment:

Heli Shah said...

Very well summarised! Waiting to read about Sabarmati Riverfront.