What's this all about then?
In November this year, a group of 14 young people aged between 18 - 28 will be travelling to Durban, South Africa to take part in the UN climate change talks as civil society observers. We're from right across the UK, from Aberdeen to Cardiff, Belfast to Bath, London to Liverpool. We're from different backgrounds and beliefs, but we have one thing in common: we all see the need for a fair, ambitious and legally-binding deal on climate change.
The delegation were selected in April 2011 and since then have been regularly attending training sessions, learning about policy, linking up with other young people across Europe to work on a common strategy, talking to friends and family, writing blogs and articles, going into schools to talk to students about the project and coming up with as many ways as possible to make the UN more accessible.
We're also raising money to support the Kenyan youth delegation to participate in the talks. Despite being more vulnerable to the immediate impacts of climate change, it's harder for young people from the global south to get support to attend these talks. We want to make access to the UN climate talks as equitable as possible and will be supporting them as much as we can.
Young people at the UN? Why would you want to do that?
Young people bring energy and enthusiasm, and a sense of urgency that can sometimes be lost in the political wrangling that bogs the process down. Once at the UN, we'll work with young people from around the world to work on policy areas of particular relevance to youth, lobby negotiators, take part in creative actions, communicate back to youth in the UK and bring important issues to the attention of the media.
Who are we?
We're a part of the UK Youth Climate Coalition, an organisation which works to “inspire, empower, mobilise and unite young people to take positive action on climate change.”
What does that actually mean? Put quite simply, we are a group of young people who are working together to create a future for ourselves which is happy, affordable, clean and safe. But we’re not just another organisation who points fingers at the bad guys and moans about how rubbish the government is. We believe that to tackle climate change, we need something new. We need an inspiring vision of how we want the world to be in the future and a movement that anyone can feel part of.
Our guiding principles
Justice across generations
Young people today, and future generations, have the right to a healthy planet that is free from dangerous climate change and is maintained through the sustainable use of resources.
Justice between people
Climate change is disproportionately harming the health and livelihoods of people living in poverty. These people tend to be least able to influence the decisions made at national and international levels. Efforts to tackle climate change should take into account the needs of the people at greatest risk, and such efforts should address the injustices we see across the world today, not enhance existing inequalities.
Empowering young people
The impacts of climate change, and the responsibility for mitigating climate change, will fall largely on young people, as we inherit the legacies of past generations. Young people need to be empowered right now, to take action to influence decisions that will shape our lives.
Broadening and diversifying the youth movement on climate change
Climate change will affect everyone, everywhere – it’s not a special interest issue. Young people in diverse communities across the UK deserve to have their say in the climate change debate, and as a movement we can only benefit from listening to other people.
Participation and deliberation in government decision-making
No decisions about us without us! Policies on climate change mitigation and adaptation will shape our lives for decades to come, so young people must be actively involved.
A holistic approach to climate change
This isn't about numbers and targets but people, communities and the places we live in.
Why the UN climate talks?
There isn't one single solution to climate change - it's going to take a whole lot of different approaches but one integral part of that is a global deal that ensures all countries are onboard in reducing their carbon emissions. It's easier said than done - we're still sore after the disappointment of Copenhagen's failure to produce what we need. This year will be crucial, as the Kyoto Protocol runs out in 2012 and there needs to be something to fill the legal void that will follow. UKYCC have been sending youth delegations since 2008, working with young people from around the world to lobby negotiators, skill share and capacity build, learn from each other, inspire and fight for a clean, fair future.
You can learn more about what we do at www.un.ukycc.org follow us on Twitter (@UKYCC) or find us on facebook.
Massive thanks for your support!
A massive thank you to everyone who's shown us support so far. It's really exciting that we've reached nearly 10% of our goal in under 24 hours! It's not just the financial help but knowing that there are people out there who support what we're doing makes a massive amount of difference. I'm really looking forward to sending all those postcards from Durban, as well as keeping everyone updated on what we get up to.
Big love to all,