Thursday, January 6, 2011

Report on Gambian Youth Participation in the CPO 16th sessions

NEWS BANJUL THE GAMBIA (MB)- Mr. Ebrima Dem an official youth participant at the Conference of Parties from the 29th to 10 December 2010 at Cacum, Mexico, gives an account of his report. Below is the full text of his report.

From the 29 November to the 10 December 2010, stakeholders in the climate change, including young people met in Cancun to discuss the future of planet earth in relation to risk to survival posed by the changing climate. The conference which was the 16th session of the conference of parties to the Kyoto protocol brought together young climate activists, politicians, policy makers and other development partners to negotiate for a fair climate treaty that will shape future engagement of both developed and developing countries in the struggle to avert the projected disaster of climate change.
I participated in this conference as an official youth delegated from the Gambia. My participation in this high level meeting was funded by the Global Campaign for Climate Action (GCCA), with accreditation from the government of the Gambia. As official youth delegate, I followed the negotiation at the high level plenary, supported my national delegation on physical work during the conference and also advised my delegation on how any treaty that our government will sign could reflect the voice and concern of young people.  
My task at the COP 16
During the COP 16 I carried out the following task:
1.    Support our national delegation.     
                                                                                                                                                       Every morning, we meet to plan our daily activities and to provide feedbacks to our delegation of the previous activities. As an official youth delegate, I had the opportunity to observe the negotiation, attend many of the high level plenary sessions on REDD+, Climate finance, Article 6 and KP. I also attended the meetings of the African group. In addition to this, I facilitated a meeting between our minister of environment and Global Biodiversity Information facility (GBIF), which led to the signing of memorandum of understanding between the government of the Gambia and GBIF. And I also sent daily feedback home to youth leaders and policy makers briefing them on the states of negotiation

2.    Participated in Global Campaign for Climate action (GCCA) activities   
                                                                                                                                                                   During the COP 16, I participate in some of the GCCA daily meetings, took part in GCCA action and provide feedbacks during the meetings of GCCA sponsored delegates from the Global south. During this meeting GCCA funded delegates share best practices and provided brief report on the activities they have undertook.

3.    Supported YOUNGO activities   
                                                                                                                                                       At the COP 16, I contributed in the drafting of YOUNGO policy document on article 6. I also took part in the article 6 working group meetings and also YOUNGO morning meetings. Through these meetings, we made plans and map out strategies for effective participation of young people in the COP 16 and subsequent UNFCCC processes.

4.    Plenary Sessions

I attended a number of plenary sessions such as REDD+, Climate finance, Kyoto protocol (KP) and Article 6 and African group meeting.  I followed the discussion keenly and noted some important points. I also prepared some reports on each of the plenary session I attended and send via email to the head of my national delegation.

5.    SIDE EVENTS   
                                                                                                                                                                         I attended series of side events which were quite interesting. By participating in these side events I had the opportunity to improve my knowledge on climate change. Some of the side events also provide me relevant information on funding opportunities for youth climate actions and to support local climate initiatives in Africa.

                                                                                                                                                                   In addition to the series of side events I attended, I also participated in other actions and meetings both within and outside the Cancun Messe. These include the forest day organised by International Centre forest Research (CIFOR), Mountain action, by youth from the Global south and fossil of the day award, among others.
Lesson Learnt
The COP 16 has helped me to improve my skills in organising youth climate action. I also had the chance to meet, interact and share ideas and best practices on climate change with young people and senior climate experts from around the world. As an aspiring climate negotiator, participating in the plenary sessions had improved skills on climate negotiation. Added to this, I had the opportunity to build new partnership and strengthen established ones.
Post COP 16 activities.
After the COP 16, I organised a debriefing session in the Gambia. During this session, I shared the outcome of Cancun agreement with young people, members of the media and policy makers.  I also submitted the Cancun agreement to number of development organisations and other youth groups.
 In addition to this, I was invited to a radio program to share my experience in Cancun, with the public. The radio program entitled: climate talk, is run my organisation-Global Unification, with funding from Actionaid international, the Gambia
I wish express my sincere appreciation to GCCA for funding my participation in the COP 16, which would not have been possible without their support. Special thanks to Aslihan for her invaluable support. Also, I would like appreciate so much the Government of the Gambia, through the head of national delegation and UNFCCC focal point for Gambia for providing me the accreditation needed to attend the COP 16. Finally, I would like to thank members of the Global Unification-the Gambia and African Youth Initiative on Climate change (AYICC) for their encouragement. 

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