YOUNGO at COP15 Wraps Up

Sunday 20 December 2009

We had the YOUNGO Wrap-Up event today. It was a half-day event held where the Conference of the Youth was held. We reflected on the youth movement from Poznan until now; the past two weeks; the role of YOUNGO; YOUNGO's shared vision; the influence of YOUNGO in decision making and negotiations; improvements and suggestions for COP16; what we are going to do riding on the momentum of COP15; what we are going to do back at home.

YOUNGO group debrief session at the place where it all began with COY!

Some really interesting things came out of the small group discussions. The Youth Forest WG seemed to get really positive responses from all who were members – Maya said it was the best thing she did and Swati said for the first three days of COP15 she was feeling really lost until she found YFWG. Bruno said all policy groups should aim to be like YFWG but lamented that that would require multiple "Gemmas" who knew the policy, were creative, could mobilise youth and were passionate about what we were doing.

We spoke about developing mentoring roles for the next COP because one of the problems of youth movements is that they are very mobile. We spoke about building up more partnerships between the Global North and Global South – like Britain/Kenya; Australia/Pacific Islands. There was mention of India/Maldives; US/Caribbean. There were ideas about going home and having a film screening and Q&A about our experiences at COP15; using all sorts of festivals to spread the message of climate change like "Love the climate" on Valentine's Day.

After the small group discussions, we came together to hear from Lina about the focal points, we sang about world peace (sometimes YOUNGO sounds corny on paper but it always seems to work at the time) and then had a free vegetarian buffet which was delicious. During the buffet I looked around the room and saw about 50 people sitting around, sharing lunch. I had met several of the group at Conference of the Youth and others throughout the two weeks inside the Bella Centre. There were others that I hadn't yet met. But I couldn't believe how empowered everyone was to be at the wrap-up event after everything we had experienced and the sleepless nights many had had working on youth policy, actions, logistics, events and other unexpected things that popped up from the COP.

And we're all still here, alive and eating!

We had a great conversation at our table with Paul Ferris, Ron from Malaysia, Bruno, Anna from Sweden and me about the youth movement and such things. I've written notes which I think I'll use in my final report. Paul mentioned I should post my final report on the unfccc_youth google group but I said I intimidated. He said I should just put a disclaimer on it and even if it is rubbish, it'll be more of a reflection than most other people.

Kirk from New Zealand and I walked home together and I went to meet Shaun and Meg who were at a Christmas service at Marie Kirche near Central Station.

My second church service in two weeks - and I'm not even religious. Sitting through a service conducted entirely in another language is particularly conducive to naval gazing!




"So you get an Australian Military Medal after four years. La-aa-me"

"Bloody random .... goddamn random"

"Since getting married, you learn to not care what people think. I don't really give a shit anymore."

"Then the bitch chief said to pretty officer ..."

Shaun: "Maybe you should write a blog for yourself ... I don't know if Janette needs to know about the scary guy, us not knowing how to use the washing machines, almost running off without paying ..."


Possible research topics for next time:

  • Nuclear (is it being talked about?; anti campaigns; etc.)
  • Fossil of the Day plus reactions
  • Supreme Master Vegan and other outside campaigns, impacting on the inside
  • Following the media back home and what they choose to focus on
  • Women and gender
  • Children and babies
  • Girl Guides/Scot movement – linked into something bigger
  • Blockage and strategies used in negotiations (eg. Saudi Arabia)
  • Unexpected issues that arise during the conference eg. Lockout in Week 2 – impact it has on NGOs, civil society – stifling of voices and debate


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