Reflections from COP20, Day 5

Luciano Frontelle and Milena Rettondini, Youth Press Centre

The Subsidiary Board of Implementation (SBI) – created to support the work of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) through the assessment and review of the effective implementation of the Convention, the Kyoto Protocol and the Bali Action Plan – finalised most of its agenda on Friday in the first part of its closing plenary.
Youth, as with all of the other civil society groups in the UNFCCC, have being lobbing negotiators in order to reach more ambitious agreements. In a way of evaluating this process, Youth had the opportunity to deliver a speech on Friday.

During his two minute intervention, the Peruvian representative for UNEP-TUNZA – the initiative for engaging young people in the work of United Nations Environment Programme – Christian Herrera, delivered the position of YOUNGO (the UNFCCC observer constituency of youth non-governmental organisations). At the beginning of his speech, he called upon Parties to ratify the Doha Amendment, which established the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. So far, only 21 parties have done this, and we have 123 more to go.

Christian also expressed the need of Parties to transform words into actions. He recalled that the Green Climate Fund must raise $100 billion a year by 2020, although commitments have so far reached only the 10 per cent of that total. YOUNGO said that they are aware of what has been achieved so far, nevertheless they know that a lot more is needed in order to halt the consequences of climate change. For that, Christian emphasised the important role of youth in developing and implementing policies to guarantee a more sustainable future.

“All Parties should give their young people more visibility and additional means so as to increase the fantastic potential they are demonstrating in every country. We are part of the solution. We are here, available to take the engagements and the responsibility that it means.”

Reflection on the Global Landscapes Forum

Johanna Lee Sadik, Wageningen University and Research Centre

I was given the opportunity to attend the second week of the COP20, and I was excited to participate to the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) as a warm up to the second week of the negotiations. I am intrigued by the politics of climate change and agriculture, which is what drew me to the GLF this weekend.

In earlier years, Forest Day and Agriculture Day were separate events. But because of the growing recognition of the inseparable nature of these sectors, the two events were joined to create the GLF.

As a first time attendee of the GLF, I had expected the forum to merely involve a number of high-level policy makers discussing critical political and technical matters to develop strategic frameworks for global land use.

Arriving on Saturday morning, however, I found myself immersed in a sea of diverse stakeholders that ranged from indigenous people to executives. Rather than being technocratic, I found it to be accessible because of the variety of stakeholders engaging in a dialogue, grounded in their shared passion for an integrated approach to land use. This multidimensional aspect of the Forum is what makes the event such a meaningful exchange of ideas.

By the time the event concluded on Sunday, I felt overwhelmed and excited by the cloud of buzzwords and trending topics discussed over the weekend. I can now imagine how negotiators must feel at COP, trying to craft a meaningful agreement on such wide-ranging issues. It is truly impressive what negotiators must accomplish during such an event, putting together an agreement of global consequence under such pressure, with the whole world watching.