The Initial African Presence

by Julian Velez

At the Conference of the Youth (COY7) the presence of the African youth was very noticeable, in fact they set the mood for the following three days. The “We Have Faith Youth Climate Justice Caravan” that had over a hundred and seventy youth brought a very strong sense of unity, inspiration and joyfulness to the conference. Their uplifted energy and strong commitment for taking action and connecting with the youth from around the world, occupied the atmosphere of the conference and also became a contagious attitude of engagement. It was a particularly binding agent for the rest of the African youth. All of this excitement and attitude of engagement that was harvested created the right ground for the South African Youth Climate Coalition to be formed with the vision of uniting all young South Africans across all borders in the fight for climate justice and a sustainable future. This was the main highlight of the conference.

I left with this experience to attend the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The first thing at the Opening Plenary of the convention was the ceremony to present the new President of the COP17/CMP7 Maite Nkoana-Mashabane. With this also came the statements of the different parties that where representing different groups. The voices of the African countries and the Least Developed Countries (LDC´s) was very strong and advocated for big commitments specially form the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), the Central African Group, and the Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas (ALBA) .

I can see that the fact that the conference is being held at an African country and that the President of the conference is African, can help set a certain tone for the conference That will allow  the position of the developing countries in particular the African ones to be more noticed. Not to mean that the agreements are going to favor the African positions but there will be more chance for that voice to be heard. Nevertheless I think that the outcome of the convention will not be very bright for the developing countries. There is a lot of empty political jargon that camouflages the deals that are not made in open meetings.




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