Yesterday was our scientific day: we joined different side-events mainly organized by non governmental organizations and research institutions aiming on giving decision makers backgrounds of discussed topics.
We finished up the day with an event organized by Central American countries about loss and damage. Developing countries suffer more from negative effects of climate change than countries that can afford appropriate adaptation measures. Therefore the demand for industrialized countries to support developing countries suffering from climate change damages. Already at the last COP in Doha the international community started discussing how to deal with this issue. This years catastrophy at the Phillipines made it more obvious how pressing it is that developed countries recognize their responsibility for climate change impacts on vulnerable countries. It is embarrassing to follow how developed countries outgo each other with blocking any progress in the negotiations.
As an observer you can either resign or put more efforts into reminding the negotiators of their responsibility. Seizing progress in climate change mitigation does not only affect poor country, it especially affects future generations. We represent part of this mystical future generation and as such we joined the association at the COP: the YOUNGOs. YOUNGO members brief each other in the progress of the negotiations, arrange meetings with political representatives and prepare interventions, in order to make the voice of youth to be heard. This demands an impressing engagement of those volunteers. Contrary to other conference participants, most YOUNGO members invest private means and a lot of free time into attending and participate in the COP. We arrived in the second week and we could see the effect of short nights and engagements in their faces. A zombie-like face lighted up when he spoke about his intervention in the name of youth at 3am. The official negotiations take place from 10am to 10pm. Still, the will to get the negotiations to a successful end creates an ambiance of warmth and inspiration.
So, how can you do to remind negotiators to whom they represent? The options of influencing through actions are very limited at a COP but still there is the possibility of actions. This may be a crowd of young people freezing in the entrance of the building, silently building a symbolic bridge between actual and future generations. Or forming three letters with their bodies on the ground: WTF? “Where is the financing?” for keeping the planet a place to live.
I am interested in every pressing environmental sustainability issue! I study in the elite study program Global Change Ecology at the University of Bayreuth in Germany.