On the eve of the Paris climate conference Cop21, 5000 young people from around the world gathered for the 11th Conference of Youth (COY11), held 26-28 November, 2015, at the Parc des Expositions in Paris.
Within this context, which represents one of the largest youth gatherings in France, UNESCO and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) jointly held a workshop on 26 November entitled “Mobilizing young climate change leaders.”
The workshop provided a space for 60 young opinion leaders to exchange their views on promoting climate change actions and engage in group discussions around specific climate change scenarios. It was facilitated by five youth leaders from Cameroon, Lebanon, Ecuador/USA, UK, and Netherlands, who participated in the UNESCO ESD (Education for Sustainable Development) Youth Conference in Okayama, Japan last November.
The two and a half hour workshop was first initiated by a facilitator Manus McCaffery who shared his personal experiences of the severe damage caused by Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana, USA and by the Japanese Tsunami of 2011 , followed up by a discussion on mock-up scenarios on two families facing drought in Africa and floods in Europe, presenting ESD challenges for participants to solve, and was concluded by a pledge by all participants to commit to one action to further the ESD agenda. The participants were also invited to stay informed of different capacity-building modalities available to become youth leaders.
Facilitator Hilary Ngide from Cameroon said: “I am sure we got our message across and the examples we shared will inspire young leaders.”
Participant Bryan Figueroa, a 22-year old university student from León, Guanajuato, Mexico said: “the workshop encouraged us to share our experiences with other participants from around the world to understand both similar and different approaches that are essential to cope with climate change.”