28 October 2021
COY (Conference of Youth), is run in various forms by YOUNGO – the official children and youth constituency of UNFCCC. COY aims to gather together representatives of the world’s young people, and empower them by formally including their voices in the UNFCCC processes that shape intergovernmental policies on climate change.
With COP26 in Glasgow set to happen in the next few days, the world’s attention is firmly fixed on the imminent discussions of politicians and world leaders.
But taking place right now is a gathering of much younger, but arguably more vital voices in the climate fight, as COY16 gets underway. Taking place in various forms and at different times of the year, COY provides a platform for young people the world over to lend their voices to the climate discussion. The four major components of the Conference of Youth are:
There are different iterations of COY: global, virtual and regional. From 28th – 31st October 2021, the Global COY (or COY16), is taking place in Glasgow, just ahead of COP26. It brings together YOUNGO members and interested youth from around the world. This is the biggest and most substantial youth conference that relates to multilateral UN climate processes, and offers capacity building and policy training to prepare young people for their participation at COP itself. Global COY is also the space in which members can input into the COP climate negotiations through a position document – the official youth policy paper.
The Global Youth Statement forms part of the official youth policy paper, which is fed into the UN Climate Negotiations to officially represent the voice of the youth. It goes through the COP Presidency for consideration in the negotiation process. The statement includes input from young people of diverse backgrounds and nationalities across the globe, including indigenous and non-country affiliated groups. It features demands, recommendations and country-specific proposals submitted by global youth from each country and group.
Here are some of the key policy demands that have contributed to the Global Youth Statement of COY16:
We demand the necessary green investment in all forms of climate change response, to secure the livelihoods of those who are disproportionately affected.
We call for the recognition of the rights of indigenous and most affected communities, and we demand just, equal, and inclusive policy making.
We demand recognition of the right to a healthy environment and of the harmful impacts of pollution on health.
We demand clean energy systems that bring power to the people in an effective, ethical and sustainable way.
We demand the redirection of public funding from polluting and destructive activities, to ones that restore and promote biodiversity and the conservation of habitats.
As custodians of the planet, the voices of global youth need to be heard most urgently on the subject of climate action. COY is a formalised process, ensuring that the demands, proposals and concerns of the world’s young people are represented in the most important climate conversations of our time, taking place at COP26.
ClientEarth is offering our platform to COY16, to amplify the key policy demands of the Global Youth Statement throughout the youth conference, with content being shared on our Instagram account.