The Local Conference of Youth (LCOY) is an event under the umbrella of YOUNGO, the official youth constituency of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Its aims are to be a space to boost youth climate action locally and create input into international conferences. It represents a national version of the International Conference of Youth (COY), which takes place immediately before the Conference of Parties (COP), the annual UN Climate Change Conference. To date, more than 300 local youth conferences have been successfully organized, attracting the participation of over 40,000 young delegates. These conferences serve as dynamic spaces where young people from diverse backgrounds come together to exchange ideas, share experiences, discuss pressing challenges, and collaboratively develop innovative solutions to combat the multifaceted issue of climate change.
LCOYs are driven by a set of core objectives that underpin their significance and impact. These objectives encompass the following key areas:
Empowering Youth: LCOYs are designed to empower young individuals by providing them with a robust platform to voice their concerns, ideas, and perspectives on climate change. By empowering youth, LCOYs aim to cultivate a sense of agency and ownership, motivating young individuals to become effective change agents in addressing climate challenges.
Capacity Building: Recognising the critical importance of capacity building and awareness among young people, LCOYs place a strong emphasis on enhancing climate literacy. These conferences offer valuable opportunities for capacity building, knowledge sharing, and skill development, equipping youth with the necessary tools to comprehend the complexities of climate change and its multifaceted impacts. By fostering climate education, LCOYs empower young individuals to become informed advocates and catalysts for change within their communities as well as internationally.
Engagement in Policy-Making: LCOYs aim to provide young individuals with the training and exposure needed to engage in policy-making processes related to climate change. By organizing workshops, panel discussions, and interactive sessions focused on policy, LCOYs enable young participants to understand the intricacies of climate policy and develop the necessary skills to effectively engage with decision-making platforms. This helps bridge the gap between youth perspectives and policy development, ensuring that young voices are heard and considered in shaping climate-related policies.
LCOYs are organized under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its designated youth constituency, known as YOUNGO. The UNFCCC Secretariat (UN Climate Change) is the United Nations entity tasked with supporting the global response to the threat of climate change. The Convention has near universal membership (198 Parties) and is the parent treaty of the 2015 Paris Agreement. YOUNGO, as the official youth constituency within the UNFCCC, serves as a platform to represent young people and their organizations in global climate negotiations and discussions.
LCOYs serve as a significant platform for young people to engage with the UNFCCC process and meaningfully contribute to climate discussions. These conferences also provide opportunities for youth delegates to exchange ideas, build networks, and amplify their voices. Moreover, LCOYs play a pivotal role in capacity building and skill development, equipping young individuals with the knowledge and tools necessary to participate effectively in international climate negotiations. By bridging the gap between youth-led initiatives and global climate policy, LCOYs strengthen the voice of young people and facilitate their meaningful engagement in shaping climate agendas and decisions.
Youth engagement holds paramount significance in addressing climate change and driving local action. Young individuals are at the forefront of the climate crisis, and their active involvement is essential in formulating and implementing effective solutions. The following key aspects underscore the critical role of youth engagement:
Fresh Perspectives: Young people bring a fresh perspective to the discourse on climate change. Their unique experiences, creativity, and innovative ideas challenge existing paradigms and offer novel approaches to climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Agents of Change: Youth engagement empowers young individuals to become agents of change within their communities. Young individuals are poised to be influential drivers of change, and their active participation is indispensable in achieving sustainable and impactful results.
Interconnectedness: Climate change is a global challenge that requires collective action. Youth engagement facilitates interconnectedness among young people, enabling them to collaborate across borders, share experiences, and learn from one another.