Coming to Poland for the very first time and attending the Conference of Youth (COY) 14 was surreal for me. COY is the event where passionate youths from all around the world gather to organize various kinds of exciting and capacity-building events related to climate change and issues of sustainability. COY acts as a platform for sharing knowledge and experiences, building networks and movements, developing creative ideas, and preparing youths to attend the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (COP).
For this COY, I was involved with the Asian Youth Climate Network (AYCN) planning team, and I collaborated with Climate Youth Japan (CYJ), Taiwan Youth Climate Change Coalition (TWYCC), Global Youth Environment Korea (GEYK), and China Youth Climate Action Network (CYCAN) to organize the World Café 2.0, an event which was a sequel to last year’s event comprised of three sessions: Climate and Culture, Talanoa Dialogue, and the Toilet Agreement.
I dedicated myself to preparing for this event 8 weeks prior to COY. It felt unachievable at first, but as soon as I got to the venue, I just went with the flow. The first session managed to exhibit 5 different countries’ climate policies that were influenced by their culture. Also, each country shared their snacks and interesting items from their cultures.
Following the first session of climate and culture, Talanoa Dialogue commenced with a breakout into three groups where AYCN facilitators shared their experiences and engaged with participants to work on the theme of “How can youth bring awareness on climate change through climate action?”. With a diverse group of people from the global South and global North, we had an engaging, diverse and interactive session. For instance, the group I facilitated had youths from the global North working on climate action in Germany (who were engaging in local forestry issues) and Hungary (who were engaging the lack of urgency for climate action), while the global South youths from Korea (who cycled 50 km in solidarity of climate change) and Singapore shared that they too work on individual efforts in spreading climate change awareness.
The final session was on the Toilet Agreement which I conducted on behalf of MYD. Having the experience from MYD’s retreat session, I conducted this simulation. It is essentially a game which depicts how negotiators work at UNFCCC. The simulation begins by dividing participants into 2 groups, Annexe and Non-Annexe, which reflects the reality of developed and developing countries being divided and integrated by certain attributes. With a given situation of a broken toilet and each group having their own agenda, both groups needs to come to a consensus on how to fix the toilet.
In summary, it was a productive workshop which brought together youths globally towards sharing their local climate action initiatives, consolidating youth awareness on climate change, and nurturing positive discussions towards creating a better world. A collective effort from youths from all over the world will definitely bring change for a better world and future generations.
Written by Liyana Yamin
Edited by M. O. Denney