I graduated from university this summer and I haven’t written anything longer than a tweet since then, so you are witnessing something special. This is also my first ever blog, so I think I should introduce myself. My name is Sophia, I am one of the UK youth delegates going to the next UN Climate Talks in Qatar this winter. I am also a graduate from the University of Edinburgh and a reluctant Londoner. I attended the first 2012 delegation training weekend last week and want to share my first-timer perspective with you.
Three months ago I’d never heard of YOUNGO, I didn’t really know what the UNFCCC was and I certainly didn’t know that there was a chance young people like me could attend UN conferences. Enter Facebook. I saw a post advertising the chance to be a UK youth delegate and leapt at the chance. I had nothing planned for the rest of my life, literally, so where better to start than meeting people from all over the world and playing a part in negotiations that will shape our future? I am now a member of YOUNGO, the youth constituency at the UNFCCC, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change!
Delegation training weekend no. 1 (maybe it needs a catchier name…) was the first time the UKYCC international team came together, weekly Skype calls aside, to plan for the next COP18 (that stands for Conference of the Parties no. 18 – it may also need a catchier name). You can meet the UK delegation here. We set ourselves the task of discussing the history of the UNFCCC, our vision as a delegation, fundraising plans, communication strategies as well as bonding as a team – there was a lot to do! The good news is we did it! The bad news is I don’t have time to tell you about all of it. So here’s a picture:
It’s of the team mapping out the structure of the UNFCCC on the Saturday, day one. The International Team has a very friendly atmosphere and all new members are trained up on the past negotiations, major players in the process and the confusing UN acronyms. I think it also allows older members to refresh their understanding and learn about the newest developments. If you would like to learn more, you can find our interactive learning modules, called Prezis, here!
This kind of training means that we can be confident in our knowledge of the UNFCCC and then know how to tackle it. On Sunday, we began to apply this information as part of the process of imagining our vision as a delegation. We discussed what we want to achieve, in terms of building the capacity of international climate movement and the issues we want to confront (such as forests, climate finance and the role of young people in UNFCCC). That will be a conversation that extends into Delegation training weekend no. 2!
I haven’t even mentioned our meeting with a policy advisor from UNICEF, the human pyramid, the ‘story of self’ training or the falafel. Hopefully, I explained that our training weekends are about learning together and developing our confidence so we can set ambitious objectives and have a strong sense of direction! You can keep up to date with the delegation’s progress by following @ukyccdelegation, signing up to the UKYCC newsletter here and looking out for more blogs.
To be continued!