Friday, 15 January 2016

COY11 at distance from Spain: Carlota's testimony

by Carlota Cruz Díez

I was one of the young Spanish “Let’s Take Care of the Planet”- participants who were elected to participate in COY11. Since the moment I knew I was one of them and that I was travelling to Paris in order to make the message from the youth of my country heard by people from all over the word, I got very excited.

One of my biggest dreams was going to come true! I had never heard of COY11 before and I didn’t know that our voice was really going to be important to adults!

Suddenly came the attacks in Paris and my “near reality” was again a dream and I got sad...

But then I thought “Why am I sad?”
So, I started to spread the word in my new school, asking my friends to tell their other friends how to pollute less the world... I made many conferences in my new school and made people change their mind.

Maybe, I couldn’t travel to Paris and make our common voice heard, but I can make my voice heard. So…if it’s not now, when? If not us, who?

Alone we go faster, but together we go further.

Monday, 4 January 2016

COY11 at distance from Spain: Jade's testimony

by Jade Vega Pueyo

I woke up on 14th November and knew about the massacre in Paris. I couldn’t believe it, I was totally shocked by what happened and felt sorry for all the people who had lost their lives so cruelly. Afterwards, one thing came to my mind: the celebration of the COP/COY had to take place, but a few days later I realized that the security was a main issue and understood the decision of the French authorities of not letting the youngest attend the 11th Conference of Youth.

However I had to do something. I just couldn’t sit back and ignore what’s going on with the environment. We have to make people conscious of the fact that caring for the Earth and solidarity must be top priorities for everybody. Therefore I decided to take an active part in most of the activities on Climate Change programmed by my school during the last week of November. For example, my school, together with other schools in Gran Canaria, took part in a parade through the main streets of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. So we all had the opportunity to raise our voices so that everybody could hear that it is important that we look after the environment by using renewable energies, recycling…

I was also interviewed by two local newspapers and had the opportunity to explain the reasons why I couldn’t attend the COY and to encourage people to care for the Earth.


Monday, 21 December 2015

COP21 Portraits: Clément and Marion, volunteers for the COY11

By Alexis Gillet


At the Climate Generations Area at Le Bourget, I spoke with Marion and Clément, two young French people who have volunteered for the COY11.

Marion is a young person who entered active life recently. Working as a professional consultant in the public domain, she was not predestined to work for the defence of the planet. But little by little, being sensitive to the impact of climate change, she decided to apply as a volunteer in her free time and help out in this event.

She therefore applied on the Internet and as the door to saving our planet is open to all, she was selected. She found this to be an enriching experience as it allowed her to meet other people like her, sensitive to issues that are being discussed right now and participate in a dynamic space for exchange and sharing.

It was a good experience for her and she would be willing to repeat it next year in Marrakech.

Clément, a member of CliMates, (co-organizer organization of COY) has followed the startup of this gathering since February.

He himself was more focused on the organization of writing the manifesto issued to heads of state. Prior to the COY, a first manifesto was realised by the host association for this event. This first manifesto was made to lay the foundations of the second manifesto (the largest) and show the first youth commitments to climate change.

During the COY, work on the manifesto was produced in partnership with YOUNGO (the youth group officially represented at the negotiations for the climate). The drafting of this manifesto was made during the 3 day running of the COY and different working groups were active in drafting it.

Moreover, a room was opened to the public so that everyone could state their opinions on what would be written in the manifesto and so contribute to it.

Therefore, people of different nationalities (about 150) were active in its drafting.
Alongside the COY in Paris, COYs were organized locally (in 8 other cities in the world) and could interact with people on the spot and give their opinions on the content of the document.

This event helped to launch different dynamics, the 5,000 participants present in Paris during those three days were mainly interested in what will happen after this gathering, starting with the presentation of the manifesto to the heads of state and of continuing the projects that were created or merged through this gathering.

More information here.

COY11 Portraits: KELI Simplice

 by Alexis Gillet

Keli Simplice is a self-taught Ivorian entrepreneur of 32 years of age. Uniquely through his life experiences, he has succeeded in creating his business from scratch. Little by little, he has, thanks to his perseverance, founded a security company in his country. But his actions did not stop there because, coming from a very poor background, he wanted to help young people who have no access to education.

To do this he educates youth to something that seems trivial to us but which is very important, especially in developing countries facing difficulties in medical treatment: hygiene. This seems trivial to us but a person who has never received any education cannot know, for example, that washing one's hands helps eliminate bacteria responsible for diseases.

He therefore hopes that the COP21 will launch sewer creation projects in the slums of the big cities of Côte d'Ivoire, because there the waste is not treated and garbage decomposition can be seen by everybody.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

From the Portuguese delegation of "Let´s Take Care of the Planet"

The Portuguese Association for Environmental Education (ASPEA) is the coordinator in Portugal of Let's take care of the Planet! Through the Project and as a partner of the French association Monde Pluriel, ASPEA participated in the COP21 Conference in order to give visibility to the project and to collaborate with the International Youth Press Agency, a team of young journalists that give visibility to the activities taking place in COP21.

The participation of two youth of the Portugal-Galicia delegation was expected but after the November events in Paris and due to safety reasons, the presence of minors was not allowed.

This is the case of Ana Sofia (Viseu) and Pablo Romeu (Galicia), who had planned to participate but unfortunately could not. However this did not stop them to write a few lines about their expectations for COP21:

Ana Sofia : Earth is our home, let's save it!

If there is a topic right now that can unite politicians, journalists, youngsters and older people...of all cultures, races and religions of the world, it's the environment. We all know that there is still a lot to be done in order for us to be able to redeem our past actions and avoid a future possibly irreversible and profoundly damaging climate change. I know that this is the last opportunity (we are racing time) to achieve a political agreement that avoids the planet´s global warming.

I wish that in COP21 it will be possible to implement a new hope in our future of the survival of all species in the planet. I know that the first victory will be to convince all countries that economic growth is possible without the intensive consumption of fossil fuels. Therefore the most important thing will be to incentive countries to use new technologies and methods that allow economic and social development, for example the use of solar panels, wind turbines, policy that involve the use of cleaner energies, ecologic life styles and the use of public transportation. An important part of this process is to inform the population about the consequences of climate change and the effects that will be seen in the future (floods, droughts, extreme climate occurrences, price rises of food, worsening life quality, more diseases and wars, reduction of drinkable water, alteration in the sea currents due to the melting of the glaciers, which can cause the modification in the habits of the aquatic species, climate changes in the surface and the acidification of oceans, among many others) in order to sensitise and change peoples' actions.

Even though I couldn't be present at COY11 and COP21 due to the lack of safety, my thoughts go to everybody that is present there, so that the world can achieve an agreement, and that we can all show union and strength to fight climate change.

I truly believe information and knowledge are the only weapon we can use to save the planet.

Pablo Romeu_ What do I expect from COP21?

What I expect from this event is to become a historical moment when humans avoid climate change.
This problem traps us in a negative, self-destructive and obscene vicious circle, and not only in the biological or climatic environment.
Rich countries are fighting over territories rich in fuel and oil, creating confrontations that only cause more violence; and poor countries suffer these consequences.
For these reasons, we can say that climate change not only causes natural disasters, this problem promotes wars, poverty, and even terrorism.
Despite everything, I would love telling the world leaders that they must worry about what is really important, what really matters.
The economic model must change. The pollution that we cause is unsustainable, and we have already exceeded the limits.

Now is the time to change, and we must change drastically. We are technologically prepared to eradicate polluting energy sources, and replace them with more clean energy.
The economy can not be an impediment to do what we must do.

It's time to save the world. Let's do it.

The World Waits for the Planet's Future

By: José Jara @josema923 and Denisse Peduzzi @denipeduzzi (Argentina)

Today the COP21 has begun in Paris, where world leaders meet to discuss the future of climate change. Since early in the morning, young people have come together to witness the first negotiations of this process that will take two weeks.

The United Nations Conference of Parties started this morning with the presence of 172 representatives of the world. The objective of these 11 days of negotiations will be to reach an agreement to reduce emissions that damage the planet.

In the corridors of the COP, there are also those who are interested in the subject, who have come to Paris looking for an answer. We thus talked with young visitors and they told us what their expectations are:

Juan Diego, Ecuador, 27 years old:
“I hope there will be a real agreement among countries and not just another meeting where no solutions are found. I hope that there will be realistic expectations where the rights of indigenous peoples and forests are also respected, especially relating to the situation in Ecuador. Presidents need to be aware about our situation because it will put the future of young people at risk.”
Ambrioggio, Italy, 23 years old:
“One of my expectations for the COP21 is that an agreement will be signed because it's a huge event for the future of our planet. We are a lot of people who work for sustainability and it would be very sad if the countries involved do not reach a deal. I also think it is a great opportunity to get to know other people who work in civil society and exchange ideas about our own sustainable projects.”

Digna, United States, 17 years old:
“I hope States can reach a new agreement and fulfil their responsibilities. I am glad that the presidents recognize that climate change affects the whole population and also recognize their own errors.
I was born in New York but my parents are from Honduras. That’s why I think that the United States, as a developed country, must fulfil its responsibilities, and Honduras, a country that suffers so much from climate change effects, needs help from developed countries to adapt.”

Aviral, United States, 25 years old:
“I hope the majority of countries reach the goal of not letting global temperature increase more than 2°C. I think that is all that young people are waiting for. I think that everybody, especially Indian people, believes it is a very ambitious objective but I hope for the best possible solution.”
The presence of young people at the COP21 was remarkable, with a strong commitment to the future of the planet and interest in a favourable agreement. The world wants a change and young people are raising their voice for it.

Discussion avec lobbyistes de l'industrie: l'autre point de vue de la négociation

Par Evelyn Araripe (Youth Press Agency)
Traduit par Mariella Foscheri

Que se passe-t-il au cours des négociations sur le climat? D'une part, il y a les gouvernements qui tentent (sans succès) de créer un document commun qui puisse permettre de minimiser les impacts conséquents aux changements climatiques; d’autre part, il y a de nombreux représentants de la société qui défendent leurs idées et leur travail et qui veillent à ce que l'accord leur soit favorable. Cependant, au milieu de ce labyrinthe appelé la «société civile», participent aussi les industries dont les activités seront affectées par ce qui sera décidé lors de la Conférence sur le climat des Nations unies.

La Youth Reporter Angency a parlé avec Joachim Hein, représentant de la BDI – Groupement de l’industrie allemande - (Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie). Hein nous a expliqué comment se définissent les différents points de vue dans les négociations, et nous a parlé de l’inquiétude face aux changements climatiques, de la responsabilité des industries et des difficultés de mise en œuvre de ce qui est proposé par les gouvernements.

Le BDI représente les associations des industries allemandes dans différents domaines. C’est précisément pour cette raison, nous explique Joachim, qu'il est très difficile d’avoir une position commune qui puisse vraiment représenter la vision de tous. Tout au cours de l’année, leurs associés ont tenu des réunions et des groupes de travail pour élaborer un document final contenant les arguments que l'industrie du pays estime qu'il est important de défendre dans le cadre des négociations sur le climat.

« Beaucoup de gens pensent que les industries ne se soucient pas du changement climatique, tandis qu’il est naturel qu’elles soient inquiètes parce que cela interfère dans la manière de produire et d’exister », dit-il.

Cependant, Joachim affirme que la chose la plus commune est que les citoyens accusent les entreprises sans pour autant donner de propositions efficaces sur la transition, la mise en œuvre ou sur le financement d’un modèle de production durable.

« Par exemple, la proposition de la création d’'énergie renouvelable à 100% d'ici 2050 est faisable? Bien sûr que oui. S'il y a un investissement, c’est possible. Mais comment investir? D’où viendra l'argent? Comment faudrait- il le réaliser? Comment intervenir pour que les investissements soient rentables? Il y a beaucoup de questions à traiter », dit-il.

En tant que représentant du secteur industriel allemand, Joachim explique aussi que son pays dispose déjà d'une législation environnementale stricte, qui demande déjà l’engagement des industries ; un point encore discuté pendant les négociations internationales. « Souvent, ce qui est proposé lors des COP est encore plus simple que ce qui se trouve dans la législation environnementale allemande » dit-il.

A la question sur ce qu'il pense du financement de la transition vers des modèles plus durables par une contribution des entreprises au Fonds Vert (un des débats qui prend de l'importance dans cette COP21), il nous répond qu'il est juste que le secteur privé contribue, mais il estime qu'il s’agit déjà d’une chose acquise. « En fin de compte, d'où vient l'argent public pour financer ce processus? Souvent, il provient des impôts payés par le secteur privé ». Alors Joachim suggère que les entreprises, au lieu de contribuer sur une base purement volontaire au Fonds pour le climat, soient obligées de payer une taxe dont le rendement soit entièrement attribué au Fonds.

Enfin, en parlant de la relation entre l'industrie et les organisations de la société civile, il déclare que les entreprises allemandes ont de très bons rapports avec certaines ONG, mais qu’elles rencontrent beaucoup de difficultés avec d’autres. Pour lui, la différence réside dans la capacité de se mettre à l’écoute. «Certaines ONG acceptent le dialogue, elles comprennent notre position et le fonctionnement des choses. Cela ne veut pas toujours dire qu'elles sont d'accord avec nous, mais au moins qu’elles nous écoutent .D’autres ONG protestent sans cesse, elles nous montrent du doigt pour dire que nous agissons mal, que nous sommes méchants, mais par contre, elles ne nous présentent aucune proposition efficace de solution », dit Joachim.

Pour lui, le rôle de la société civile, et surtout des jeunes, dans les négociations est extrêmement important - même s’il pense que trop souvent les jeunes sont concentrés sur l’action et non sur l’approfondissement du processus politique des négociations. « Nous avons besoin d’un plus grand nombre de jeunes intéressés par la politique, afin de négocier en profondeur les sujets qui sont sur la table », a-t-il conclu.