January 7, 2014
The voice of the youth in at the Climate Change Conference in Warsaw: how serious is the new generation taken in the sustainable development of the world?
From 11th to 22nd of November, the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) gathered in Warsaw for its 19th Conference of the Parties (COP)1. In the capital of Poland the parties attended the Climate Change Conference to discuss and draft an agreement on the way forward to a new global climate deal in 2015. This deal will be implemented in the participating parties from 2020 on, once the second commitment period ends.
It was very surprising the little attention media paid to the COP in Warsaw. I expected more articles in newspapers, interviews and media attention for this climate conference. Perhaps the media thought that the outcome would not be interesting, or decided that people are fed up of bad news that the earth is in danger and do not need any more calls to act now.
The outcomes were not that ambitious indeed; I will just mention the three most important ones. First, the Green Climate Fund (a fund to help developing countries to cope with climate change) has a board right now, and soon they will fulfill the essential requirements to receive, manage, program, and disburse financial resources. By 2020 the fund will receive 100 billion US dollars. The 4th of December the fund opened the headquarters in South Korea. Second, the Warsaw Framework REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) program pledges for 280 million dollars from US, Norway and UK. The REDD+ is initiated to stop deforestation and forest degradation on a global scale. Third, the Adaptation Fund, a fund to finance national projects on climate change adaptation, has received money from developed countries.
The outcomes of the Climate Change Conference were quite disappointing for the international youth and environmental and climate justice groups. Thirteen environmental and climate justice groups, Greenpeace, World Wide Fund and Oxfam International included, left the COP before the closing of the conference and made this joined statement: “The Warsaw Climate Conference, which should have been an important step in the just transition to a sustainable future, is on track to deliver virtually nothing.” Especially in the latest months, when you could read and see how many people become a victim of the typhoon at the Philippines, a clear example of climate change, it is necessary to take our responsibility. As an interesting contrast, outside the conference center the lobby for coal industry was taking place. The expression ‘green’ coal is still something hard to understand.
The Conference of the Youth took place one week before the COP and it was a preparation for the Climate Change Conference. During the COP the youth organisations and delegates worked together to lobby for action. Also other youth initiatives were taken, such as a climate train departing from Belgium2 with 700 young people in total on board. Overall, the feeling of the youth was that their voice is not heard, or not seriously enough taken, although climate change is something that will develop further in the future and affect us specially.
The next COP will be held in December 2014 in the capital of Peru, Lima. Youth will speak out loud and make sure its voice will be heard during this COP . Most of the big leaders in the world are driven by a financial motive, but without a world to live, money is nothing worth. We, Youth, will not give up and we will fight for a healthy future for yourself and the Earth!
Written by Iris Hordijk. AEGEE-Europe’s Policy Officer for Sustainability.
1 The UNFCCC consist of 195 parties and 192 of them adopted the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. 37 States in total are legally bind to emission limitations and to reduction commitments. The ultimate objective is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.
2 See the link http://train-en.climatejustice.eu/train.html