Youths of COP: A brief Q&A with people met at COP23.
Q: Please tell me about yourself.
A: Graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in sustainable agricultural system, I started my journey improvising climate actions and innovations in China through various projects of China Youth Climate Action Network(CYCAN). Before joining CYCAN in spring 2017, I’ve actively engaged in student-initiatives and grassroots NGOs during my study, where I gained experiences working with projects focusing on youth engagement, intercultural education, and food advocacy.
Q: What inspired you to be involved in the fight against climate change?
A: There is a strong linkage between food, livelihood and climate change. My study provides me a perspective to reflect on the urgency of tackling climate change in terms of global food security. Industrial agriculture and intensive livestock production contribute a significant share to human-induced warming effects, meanwhile, consequences of climate change are continuously altering the natural landscape for food production, especially for the climate-vulnerable communities. The fight for global food security couldn’t be completed without addressing climate change issues.
Q: Could you highlight one of the projects you or your organization is involved right now?
A: With the Presidency of Fiji for COP 23, climate conference this year has a particular focus on climate justice. In China, there is also a huge economic and environmental gap between the East and West part of the country. People live in the Western regions of China encounter more frequent extreme weathers and have access to limited resources, thus their livelihood becomes extra vulnerable to climate shocks. The organization I work in CYCAN has initiated a field research project on climate adaption, which we aim to create a knowledge transfer and capacity building between young environmentalists and local communities in climate vulnerable regions. Through a series of workshop, case studies and field interviews, we encourage students to work together with the villagers and different stakeholders at the local level to strengthen their resilience and finding a sustainable approach for better livelihood strategies.
Q: What are the topics you are following in this COP?
A: In this COP, the negotiation topics that I follow are mainly on Loss and Damage, and gender justice. The meetings on Warsaw International Mechanism of Loss and Damage, unfortunately, had not made much real progress. The public observers were shut out of negotiation process after the first meeting. The urgent need for sufficient climate fund, technology, and knowledge exchange opportunities to the climate-vulnerable communities was failed to be given priority. However, not all negotiation scenes are looking so grim. There has been progressive steps taken to support the equal and meaningful female participation and promote gender-responsive climate policy in UNFCCC process. I was involved in the YOUNGO Women and Gender Justice working group, which was working together with the Women and Gender Constituency under the UNFCCC which pushed very strongly for the Gender Action Plan and finally got adopted through SBI by all parties last weekend.
Q: What are the key messages you would like to share with youths in general?
A: Like I shared in the previous question, climate negotiation is a complex process heavily involved with different political interests, as well as economic and environmental loss and gains on different levels. As the young environmentalists who’re engaging in the process, we have to be a little patient to accept the reality that it goes up and down. But don’t drop the hope yet, it doesn’t mean that we are impaired to make any impacts – follow your passion, learn from experiences, communicate with others and act now! Together we can make a difference.
Content and Media Provided by Wing Wu
Edited and Arranged by Xiandi