The official gathering of YOUNGO members happens every year at the Conference of YOUTH (COY), which takes place for 3 days preceding the annual Conference of the Parties (COP). COY serves as a preparation session of youth NGOs to develop position papers, network and meet new members, and hold strategic discussions on climate change solutions.
Annually, the Youth Conference, or COY, is held in the same country and prior to the dealings in COP to unify the opinion and experience of young people during the year and enforce them at that meeting.
Since 2005, ahead of COP11 in Montreal, a Conference of Youth has been held annually. Since 2014, COP20 in Lima, participation has grown massively, with a peak of 4,000 youth participating in COY11 in Paris (COP21).
COY primarily serves as a space for capacity building and policy training to prepare young people for their participation at COP. The participants are introduced to the various Working Groups of YOUNGO, where they develop common policy positions (lobby points) and develop strategies to best advocate for the interests of youth in those policy areas.
YOUNGO is the official youth constituency at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). YOUNGO is made up of organisations and individuals who identify as youth it is not an organisation, but, rather, a collection of groups and/or individuals.
The work and structure of YOUNGO is at its core guided bu the overwriting principles of consensus-based decision making, flat hierarchies, as well as inclusion and equitable representation. YOUNGO annually elects two Focal Points to liaise with the UNFCCC Secretariat. They do not have decision-making mandate, and are expected to serve the constituency in a neutral manner.
Focal Points are supported by a Bottomlining Team (BLT). The BLT serves to support YOUNGO to work more effectively. These dedicated and experienced volunteers are mandated to facilitate processes, though do not make decisions on behalf of YOUNGO. The BLT provides logistical guidance and support to YOUNGO.
Finally, YOUNGO supports over 20 Working Groups. These working groups come together from individuals within the constituency to address thematic issues ranging from education to renewable energies, oceans to IPCC. They work to develop position papers and lobby for inclusion of specific content in negotiations, and their outcomes. All are welcome to join a working group, as membership is based exclusively on your individual expression of interest.
For More information on YOUNGO, visit their website at: https://youthclimatemovement.wordpress.com/youngo/
UNFCCC & COP
The United Nations Framework Convention (UNFCCC) is the international response to climate change. It is a treaty that establishes the basic obligations of the 196 Parties (States) plus the European Union to combat climate change. It was signed at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, and entered into force in 1994.
The Conference of the Parties (COP) is the supreme decision-making body of the Convention. The Parties meet annually to review the progress in the implementation of the Convention where other instruments that support its establishment are proposed, evaluated and approved.
The first COP was held in Berlin, in 1995. To date, 24 COPs have been made, the last one in Katowice, Poland, in December 2018. 2019 is the turn of Chile.
The COP Presidency rotates through the following 5 regions of the United Nations: Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Western Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean.
At the official launch of COP25 Chile, President Sebastián Piñera stated:
"This COP25 Summit is, without a doubt, a great opportunity to help the whole world to become aware that it has not yet taken on this matter, and that we can change the course of history, and that we can stop this mad race towards a true “collective suicide,” as Pope Francis said, because it is very important that we become aware that our obligation as a generation is to give our children a better country, with less pollution, with purer air, with a cleaner sea, with a sky more bluish, with forests and crystalline streams as we have known them, to be really a generation, our generation that committed to give our children a better world, than the one we received from our parents. That is our task and I am sure that I interpret all my compatriots and reflect the commitment of all of us s to tell Chile and the whole world that Chileans do not and will not fail. "
This year, Chile is the host of the annual Conference of the Parties. The Chilean Presidency, headed by Environmental Minister Ms. Carolina Schmidt Zaldivar. They have declared COP25 to be the "Blue COP", indicating a focus on the oceans. In addition, their slogan is "Time for Action", which indicates a focus on pressuring parties to ramp up their commitments (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement during this conference.