Bilateral Meetings with International Youth Groups in COP21

So we have mission to accomplish.

The mission is bilateral meetings with other youth delegations during COP21,  to understand what other youth groups are doing in COP and to gain exposure from their experiences. We are newbie and they may have been here for years. I think this exposure is worth an article because it was one of my exciting parts in COP.

Each of the MYD members were in charged of “adopting” a country’s youth coalition and arrange a meeting with them. I was in charge of contacting New Zealand Youth Delegation (NZYD) but it did not happen in the end because they were very occupied and it was a problem to find a mutual free time for all the members. The secured ones include meetings with the United Kingdom Youth Climate Coalition (UKYCC), Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) and Taiwan Youth Climate Coalition (TWYCC).

Fun fact: UKYCC and AYCC have more female members than male, but it is another way round for TWYCC.

UKYCC meeting was our first one on 10th Dec, in green zone. There are around 6 to 8 of them. We were quite excited as we have no experience in handling such big number of participants in such meeting. It was a bit delayed and I tried to take lead and to conduct the flow, just a simple one- introduction from both side on what we did before COP and during COP; then it will be a free Q&A or chatting session. It was fine initially but when it reached the free chatting part, the note taker – Shak got a bit lost because everyone was kinda split into small groups; with various diverse topics. I was sitting in the middle, trying to bridge the gap without spoiling the  anticipated conversations, so you could imagine how challenging it was ! :/

The next day, we had lunch with AYCC, there were only 4 of them. Conversation was much converged given the advantage of us seated in a roundtable (now I know the significant role seatings play in a discussion!).

The session with TWYCC was in the evening and we did some serious walking to our meeting venue. TWYCC intended to interview and film some of us, resulting our meeting started a bit late. There are around 4-5 members from TWYCC (not the whole team). However, only 2 of them are the “real” members as the other 2-3 people were from the media team who exclusively worked on  recordings and shootings (interesting team structure!). So those are the kind of problems that you would probably face when it comes to bilateral meetings- many things are uncertain- timing; venues; unexpected incidents like delays and number of people who turned up.

Lesson Learnt: It could be better if we could know more about the logistical information beforehand- e.g. number of people attending, so we can find a suitable place to comfortably fit us; and location, whether it is blue zone or green zone (travelling between these 2 places can take 15-20 minutes to and fro).

I personally felt at ease after talking to these bunch of youths because I am not the only one who was overwhelmed and lost in this COP circus; and I am also not the only one who thinks team problem is a shame because that’s what happened to everyone. Most importantly, I learnt from these youth coalitions that they all have a proper structure within the team, so at least they know how to coordinate stuff although they are all moving around individually. Great learning from them! I think this bilateral should be made another MYD traditions for the upcoming batches.

bilateral meeting

Written by: Emily
Edited by: Wanji

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