UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa said youth must be active and have their voices heard in international negotiations.
Forum outcomes were presented to government negotiators during an ACE workshop with the hope that youth proposals will be included in a COP 24 ACE decision.
The Forum proposed increasing youth involvement at all levels and including official youth delegates in national delegations at COP 24.
30 April 2018: The first-ever Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) Youth Forum (AYF) brought together youth climate change delegates from 70 countries to share ideas, coordinate efforts and urge negotiators to take strong climate action to safeguard their future. AYF outcomes call for youth involvement in ACE at all levels.
More than 100 youth participated in the AYF, which took place in Bonn, Germany, on 29 April, in the margins of the UN Climate Change Conference, which will conclude on 10 May. Forty youth from developing countries were fully funded through scholarships to participate in the event.
Addressing the Forum, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa said youth must be active and have their voices heard in international negotiations, noting that the role of the youth constituency is growing and that youth are a critical part of the “climate change solution.”
During breakout groups sessions, participants brainstormed on ways to increase the effectiveness of ACE activities, including linking youth ACE activities internationally, supporting ACE national focal points (NFPs), increasing funding for ACE activities and convening ACE festivals to create interest in, and awareness of the need for, climate action.
AYF outcomes were presented to government negotiators during an ACE workshop on 1 May, with the hope that youth proposals will be included in an ACE decision for consideration by the 24th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 24) to the UNFCCC, taking place in Katowice, Poland, from 3-14 December.
AYF outcomes call for enhancing youth capacity to navigate and formally seek funding from the GCF, GEF, Adaptation Fund and others.
AYF outcomes stress that ACE NFPs are crucial to successfully implement ACE and the Paris Agreement on climate change, and suggest, inter alia: nominating ACE Youth NFPs to complement and help ease the workload of ACE NFPs; improving the ACE webpage so it serves as a “platform between ACE-related training material and NFPs”; enabling access to material produced by the UNFCCC Secretariat; and creating national-level support groups with all relevant stakeholders to work on ACE issues in the spirit of the Talanoa Dialogue.
The AYF proposes increasing youth involvement at all levels, such as: including official youth delegates in national delegations at COP 24; providing financial support for youth to come to international conferences; and organizing regional model COPs and AYFs. Youth delegates also suggested that the Forums continue on an annual basis.
Regarding education, the Forum proposes: incorporating ACE in school curricula to ensure climate and sustainable development education is taught; integrating climate change education in both formal and informal education materials; promoting attractive online material on climate change, sustainability and the UNFCCC; and building a climate-resilient community through a sustainable capacity-building programme that targets and mentors youth to raise awareness on climate hazards.
On climate finance, the AYF notes that integrating ACE elements in Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and national adaptation plans (NAPs) could be a funding opportunity to finance ACE-related mitigation and adaptation strategies. The outcome document also suggests, inter alia: discussing ways in which ACE elements could be included as mandatory components in existing activities eligible for funding; increasing transparency standards for funding mechanisms so that youth-led projects can be financed to serve ACE goals; and enhancing youth capacity to navigate and formally seek funding from the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Adaptation Fund and others.
The concept of ACE includes activities on education, training and public awareness on climate change. UNFCCC Article 6 (education, training and public awareness) urges countries to cooperate on the development and exchange of educational and public awareness material on climate change and its effects, and to strengthen national institutions.
Recognizing that youth involvement is crucial for ACE implementation, the Fijian COP Presidency first proposed the idea for the AYF. The Youth non-governmental organization (NGO) constituency (YOUNGO) then took the lead on its organization, with the UNFCCC Secretariat and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) as co-organizers, and funding provided by the Government of Canada. [ACE Youth Forum Website] [UNFCCC Press Release] [Forum Outcomes] [ACE Workshop on Ways of Enhancing Implementation of Education, Training, Public Awareness, Public Participation and Public Access to Information so as to Enhance Actions under Paris Agreement] [Video of the ACE Youth Forum]