It has been a month now since I came back from Glasgow. I had the chance to represent Mauritius as a delegate for the 16th United Nations Climate Change Conference of Youth, also called COY16.
The event lasted four days, it is organized through YOUNGO, the official youth constituency of the UNFCCC, and precedes COP26. This conference regroups the world’s youth – more than two hundred young minds from more than a hundred and fifty countries were gathered in Glasgow.
Now that I had time to reflect on the conference, I can honestly say that traveling to Glasgow and be part of the COY16 was an amazing experience.
Between high-level panel discussions with Scotland’s Minister of Environment, the World Meteorological Organization, and the British Council, speeches from the COP26 President, the Prime Minister of Scotland, and the UNFCCC's Secretary-General, and discussions to learn about the IPCC report, climate education, indigenous power and so much more, the conference was intense – but definitely worth it.
I would say that the people that I met were the highlight of my trip. I had the chance to speak with a countless number of delegates during those four days, and it was humbling to learn about their experience, their vision of the future, their fears, and their opinions on their countries' policies regarding climate change. Chad, Uruguay, Switzerland, Japan, Nigeria… the world’s youth was reunited to fight for a better future. This energy, devotion, and passion to fight climate change are what I want to bring to Mauritius.
The major output of COY16 is the policy document crafted by our voices, the Global Youth Statement. This statement is unique. For the first time, the policy document united 40 000 climate demand inputs from the world’s youth. Those recommendations seek to officially represent the voice of the youth and their policy demands, englobing every aspect of the climate crisis, from 'technology and innovation' to 'loss and damage' all the way to 'politics and policy making. The document is filled with demands, and suggestions for world leaders and was presented during the COP26 to Alok Sharma, Patricia Espinoza, and other world leaders.
The main demand that unifies all those themes is youth representation. The youth should be actively and meaningfullyincluded in the decision-making processes concerning climate change governance and implementation. The message is clear: we want, and we need, a seat at the table.
Text written by Yuv Sungur – Delegate for Mauritius