By Sebastian Kägler
The first obligatory date for our delegation of the second week wasn’t any official plenary, but the kick-off meeting of YOUNGO, the official representatives of youth in the UNFCCC. It was a good opportunity for us to get some insight in the negotiations and the ongoing processes.
Besides that, basic information, we were able to get to know the structures and working process of YOUNGO. A major importance in the work of it depends on the working groups, which are formed by personal interest and cover topics like conflict of interest(COI), gender equality, oceans or agriculture. Within those working groups, you can work on submission papers for the upcoming COP24 in Katovice, formulating press conference statements on certain topics or plan some so called ‘actions’. Those actions are more or less small demonstrations which highlight some critical issues which occurred during the negotiations.
You might have recognized, that within the mentioned groups, there has not been any working group on forests. On my question where to put ‘forests’ into a working group, we were put with agriculture altogether, due to any better opportunity.
I was a little bit disappointed, that such a big issue for the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change was sort of forgotten. But this is not an accusation of YOUNGO, it just points out the standing problems of forest in the international process.
Forest don’t have a body on its own, forests are somehow addressed by several bodies of the UN like UNCBD, UNEP or UNCCD, but none of them with a proper body which addresses on forests alone.
But due to our presence and our will to actively participate in the work for the youth, we were able to add ‘forests’ in the working group on agriculture and forests. Furthermore, did we convince our working group that agriculture without a link to forestry is neither good for biodiversity, nor sustainable in any matter. So now YOUNGO will make a press-statement which is even pointing out the need for an intergovernmental body on forest and will keep on focussing on biodiversity, landscape protection and the role of forests in halting climate change.
Although we might have other conferences like GLF or UNFF, where we have the opportunity to participate in greater numbers, we should not forget to try to link with other youth organisations. I do not question our position and main-goal in providing a platform for forestry and forestry related students to form international bonds and participate in international processes for gaining experience. We have to take the opportunity to talk to each other and make advantage of our exchange and our passion. At the end we have to speak up as one voice, as we will be in charge in the very near future.