If there is one thing I’ve learned over the last three months, it’s that Conference of the Parties (COP) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) processes are not simple. When I was fortunate enough to be selected as this year’s youth ambassador, I was bouncing off the walls, super excited to finally figure out all the intricacies of international climate negotiations. Well, it turns out that although I’ve learned a mountain of information in these past months, I am far from understanding all the complex details and workings of COP.
Throughout this process, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to some pretty incredible Yukoners. I’ve talked to several climate change scientists and experts, and a youth organization director. They’ve all shared interesting but different perspectives on climate change with me. These perspectives have helped change my direction from purely focusing on learning about the COP and UNFCCC processes, to focusing on the stories of how people view climate change and how this issue should be tackled.
|Youth Day at COP21, Paris 2015 (Photo: Climate Policy Observer)
Alison Perrin from the Northern Climate ExChange spoke about climate change as a social issue as well as an environment problem. Shelby Maunder, the director of BYTE, talked about how the younger generation of youth and young adults will have to face the challenges of climate change and find innovative solutions. It was absolutely fascinating to hear so many different key messages about climate change and the challenges it presents.
For me, going to COP will be an amazing chance to not only get a better feel for the international climate negotiations scene, but to also meet and talk to people from a huge range of countries and backgrounds. I will have the chance to engage with youth, negotiators and high government officials from Canada as well as from the rest of the world. I am so excited to learn from the amazing people I’ll meet, and gain a better understanding of their perceptions of climate change, what challenges they face, and what possible solutions or strategies they envision.
|Canadian Youth Delegation at COP21, Paris 2015 (Photo: WildernessCommittee.org)
This will be the first time I go to Africa and I’m beyond excited to immerse myself in the culture there and explore the perspectives it brings to climate change. I’ll admit, I am also looking forward to tasting the local cuisine – I’ve been making my own tagines but I’m sure they’ll pale in comparison!
|Moroccan tagine refers to both the spicy stew and the North African pot it's made it! (Photo: EthnicSpoon.com)
The next time you’ll hear from me I’ll be in Morocco, jet-lagged and tired, but hopefully I’ll remember enough French as not to get too lost on my way to COP22!