Observing meetings, making interventions, lobbying negotiators in the corridors, holding mini-side events and staging actions: staple components of a youth delegate’s day by now. Add to that the visit of the United Nations Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi, however, and the day takes on a slightly different orbit.
It was a busy day: Ahmad had bilateral meetings with Poland’s Environment Minister and COP President, Marcin Korolec, and UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Christiana Figueres, to speak about youth engagement and interests. He interacted with various groupings within the constituency of youth NGOs (YOUNGO) working on different issues, for instance consulting with a group committed to sparking a dialogue on Intergenerational Equity in the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) process, and attending a side-event debating options for divestment from fossil fuels organized by another. He also ‘hung out’ on Google+ with YOUNGO members from the UK to Mexico and the Maldives, communicating via livestream and responding to Twitter questions.
The highlight of the day, however, was the meeting to begin exploring how members of YOUNGO would like to shape their ‘seat at the table’ at the Climate Summit Ban Ki-moon has scheduled for September 2014. Joining Ahmad at the table - or, rather, in the circle - was Tracy Raczek of the SG’s Climate Change Support Team. Thanks to Tracy, the delegates were given a first idea of how the Summit was slowly taking form. This gave them the opportunity to start thinking about how their involvement could be most meaningfully conceived. Breaking off into smaller groups, the participants began playing with ideas. How about...
...each country is asked to hold a youth consultation in the run-up to the Summit?
...young people stage actions related to the Summit around the world on International Youth Day 2014 (12 August, more or less a month in advance of the meeting)?
...mobilizing funding and developing capacity building initiatives to allow for diverse and inclusive youth participation?
...developing a united pledge from youth to offer to the Summit as a ‘gift’? And then really delivering it. After all, that’s the kind of leading by concrete example the SG is looking for…
The promising list of suggestions goes on.
During the course of the day, Ahmad was, of course, introduced to YOUNGO’s communicative hand signals. (Curl your hand in a ‘C’ to ask for clarification; point an ‘L’ with your thumb and forefinger to ask an explanation of ‘Language’ and spread out your fingers like starts and make them ripple to ‘twinkle’ your support.) The brainstorming closed in a shower of twinkles. And now the work towards 2014 really begins.