November 19, 2017  |  

COP23: Final blogpost – See you next year!

Fiji as the presidency of COP 23 has made this conference unique. It’s the first time a small vulnerable country is in this position and there has been an extra focus on loss and damage this year. Fiji represents all the pacific Islands making COP-history. I’ve heard ministers saying that “there is always next year” but for the countries like Fiji and the people living there, drastic change is needed. The sea level is rising, and the pacific islands can be unlivable in the future, due to climate change. After being at the conference for a week I see even more clearly how climate change is not just an issue that concerns the future, it’s a catastrophe that is happening all of over the world, at this minute. The people living in Fiji can’t “wait for next year”, because they don’t know how next year will look like.

Photo: World YMCA

Another hot topic this year has been creating an Indigenous People Platform. This has been approved, but the elaboration of the platform is not at all finished. The platform can either become an area where the indigenous people get to raise they’re voice, or it can be a platform where they actually have a vital say in the negotiations. To me, as part of the world biggest youth organization, I think the most important thing we can do is to empower the people who are being affected by climate change. Civil society should have a say in the decisions being made because they are the once affected by them. Creating a strong Indigenous People Platform is one way we can give a voice to those who needs it. Another way we can make a fair distributing of power is through actively involving gender equality as a part of the Paris-agreement.

Photo: World YMCA

Education is key. As part of the civil society we need to educate ourselves to be able to influence the politicians, and to make climate friendly decisions in our everyday life. Camp Climate is an amazing platform for young people who want’s to learn more about the climate issues and to be a part of the climate conference, but we also need to take the information we receive back to our local YMCA groups. It is when we know what is happening that we can do something about it, and therefore we need to share the information we have with as many as possible. For an example, me and my friend Sofie have just started a podcast for Norwegian youth, where we try to explain climate change in an understandable way. While making it we try to be creative, and use humor as an instrument, so that more people will listen to it and be encouraged to making a change. We need to keep engaging young men and women in a way only the Y can, with both mind spirit and body. Being young is often seen as a disadvantage, but we need to use this as our strength. We have the cheerfulness, faith and hope that it takes to solve this crisis, and youth are more engaged in political issues than ever. Not listening to young people is not just unfair, but it’s also not being provident. There is always next year, but together we can change the world, right now.

Photo: World YMCA

See you in Poland. COP, over.

Kristian Krystad, YMCA-YWCA Norway

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