Youth in Action
Time for Climate Actions!
The young delegated at the COP 18 held in Doha.
"A great many people -- young people -- come to see me, and ask me 'What is your hope for the world?' and I always answer them that hope for the world is in you. The whole world depends on you."- Sigurd F Olson, environmentalist and author.
'I made it'- those were the first words I told myself when I landed in Doha International Airport. I might have had an empty bank account and encountered many obstacles but I was successful in getting another Bangladeshi youth's voice to (Conference of Parties) COP 18, the largest climate change conference. It was not easy for the other two Bangladeshis who went to COP this year either. Struggle with financial issues was something all three of us faced. This time Kamrul Islam from North South University's Computer Science and Engineering department, Marufa Ishraque from Dhaka University's Geology and Environment Department and I from Greenherald International School were successful in making the trip.
Climate change is not something that will happen but it is already happening. Rise in temperature due to large amount of carbon emission is causing rapid melting of ice, rise in sea level, increased frequency of hurricanes and tropical storms to name a few. If the sea level rise continues, the Bangladeshi coastal areas and its nearby islands would disappear under water. The high carbon emission of the developed countries is the reason behind the sufferings of developing countries but the developed countries do not want to take the lead to fight against climate change. The youths in COP were there to help change all that.
COP was a whole new world itself. There was so much to do, so much to learn and so many people to meet with. It was there in COP when I first became aware about the active participation of youth through YOUNGO (Youth Non Governmental Organisation) in UNFCCC intergovernmental process.
The youth gathered to fight against climate change.
The young generations are the ones who will be affected the most and YOUNGO serves as the podium on which they could speak through sanctioned demonstrations (“Actions”) and by delivering interventions at plenary sessions. The youth can also meet up with negotiators, organise side-events, release policy statements and communicate major issues. I, myself, was working with the actions working group and the bottom lining working group. I was also participating in some of the actions like the gender balance action and the standing behind the developing countries action.
It was surprising to see most of the youths coming from the developed worlds. Developing countries are the most affected due to climate change but the voices of youth from these countries remain unheard and unknown.
Youth representation is important in these conferences as they are able to put pressure while important negotiations are going on. It can also increase their capacity as they are the future negotiators of these conferences.
To make people know of Bangladesh's presence, we roamed around in T-shirts representing Bangladesh for a whole day in the COP venue. The Bangladeshi delegation team, press and NGO were quite proud to see us marking our presence and encouraged us to continue with what we were doing. None of it would have been possible if without the help Kamrul received from Bangladesh Youth Movement for Climate (BYMC) and its friend Melody and Naima, also from Oxfam, the help Marufa received from ICIMOD, and the help I received from British Council and Bangladesh Youth Environmental Initiative (BYEI). We made it to COP 18 in Doha this year but COP 19 remains in the hands of uncertainty. We can only hope that it too would be possible.