What is “Conference of Youth”?
Conference of Parties (COP) is the supreme decision-making body of the Climate Change Convention. With the presence of all the States that are parties of it, they review and discuss the solutions to prevent our planet from the risk of climate change. Starting from 1995, all those States meet to implement new legal instrumental needed to reduce the climate change effects.
Some youngsters were against the idea of leaving decision-making to old politicians only, which introduced the idea of the Conference of Youth. The objective is including the younger generation from around the globe in the decision-making process to negotiate and to share their ideas with the word.
The first edition of the Conference of Youth took place in 2005, when YOUNGO volunteers gathered ahead of COP11 in Montréal to prepare and raise the collective voice of young people to be heard at COP11 and in the future.
Morocco hosts the “Conference of Youth 12”
An edition of Conference of Youth has been held every year, a few days before the annual UN Climate Change Conferences, and each edition has been organized by local youth associations, organizations, and multiple volunteers for a period of 3 days.
In 2016, Morocco was selected as the host country of Conference of parties, therefore a host for Conference of Youth also. All young people were invited to take part in the various workshops, lectures from specialists and exhibitions, all under the theme of climate change.
How volunteers made “Conference of Youth” a successful event
The Conference of Youth 12, in the locals of Cadi Ayad University, gathered around 1300 youngsters that all share a passion for environmental and climate change thematic. The conference also gathered more than 300 local and international volunteers and 600 projects all involved in the event’s organization.
It goes without saying that volunteering held a big part of the conference. There were 2 comities entirely formed by volunteers. The first was responsible for the conference, workshops, and competitions and the second was responsible for the management and the logistics of the Conference of Youth.
Volunteers share knowledge and experience about climate change
The main objective of the first committee of volunteers was to facilitate sharing knowledge and experience in the broader context of climate change between the participants by animating a lot of workshop, conferences, and discussions.
A group of this committee was in charge of making planning the conference itinerary during the 3 days of the event.
Both of the groups of volunteers had the main mission to persuade and prepare youths for their involvement in the upcoming climate negotiations in the Conference of Parties.
Volunteers managers of the event
Good management is a bit like oxygen; it is very important, invisible and you don’t feel its presence until it’s gone. This is what the role of the second committee of volunteers was. They were in charge of ensuring the good ongoing of the event. Due to the complexity of this big task, this committee was also divided into five small teams, because nothing is hard if you divided it into small jobs.
As the second committee of volunteers was the biggest leader in the field, every team of volunteers had a particular job. Their main job was to make sure that everything in the event is going well. Ensuring security, food, logistics for the participants by making a line between disorder and order, because behind every great event there is a great logistical team.
Conference of Youth policy paper
The impact of this event was huge. After 3 days of discussions, debates about different topics related to climate change, workshops, and other activities, the participants come out with a policy paper with several decisions to discuss in the conference of parties. The policy paper shared the voice of youth and their ideas about how we can save our planet earth. Young representatives will use the policy paper to negotiate during the upcoming climate gatherings.
The Conference of Youth was a great opportunity for youth to get together from all around the world and discuss how to adapt and mitigate climate change, and to prepare for the next climate negotiations. None of these results would have been achieved without the hard work of the volunteers.
© All photos are from the Conference of Youth facebook page and do not belong to the author of this article.
IVolunteer International is a Gold Seal nonprofit organization on Guidestar. Operating from Savannah, Georgia, IVolunteer International connects volunteers to volunteer projects around the world. Since 2017, IVolunteer has connected over 3,000 volunteers worldwide. In 2019, World Trade Center Savannah selected IVolunteer International as finalists of the Peace Through Trade Competition. In 2020, IVolunteer International will develop and launch a geo-connecting mobile application which will be available to volunteers around the world.