Why is Connected Voices Important?
Each November, the United Nations brings together every nation in the world to try to tackle the global issue of climate change. These annual talks are not only attended by official negotiators from each country, but also by non-governmental organisations including businesses, charities and youth. Young people come from all over the world – many self-funded – to try to push for an ambitious and equitable deal that values the future as much as the present.
Because of financial and logistical hurdles, only a small number of countries can send youth delegates. Approximately 1.5 billion young people in more than 150 countries are NOT represented by peers at the UN climate change conferences. These young people live mainly in developing countries and are often highly vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change.
They are the most important stakeholders – it is their futures which are at stake, and yet their voices are not heard. The Connected Voices initiative works to change this.
How does Connected Voices Work?
Connected Voices works to encourage and support partnerships between youth delegations fortunate enough to attend the UN climate change conferences, and young people from countries without direct youth representation.
Connected Voices facilitates these partnerships by providing a centralised and simplified platform for engagement.
As well as promoting the importance of youth engagement with the UN climate change process, Connected Voices provides up-to-date mapping of youth representation, template emails, engagement forms and contact details of potential partners. Further, Connected Voices looks to work with the UNFCCC secretariat to ensure that the messages that are brought to COP can be displayed and communicated effectively.
Connected Voices is run by an international steering committee of ten young volunteers from seven different countries. The project is web-based and uses a number of communication and social fora including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and, of course, our website.
What Does Partnership Look Like?
We work hard to make engagement with partner countries quick and easy. In the lead-up to COP18 last year we put together an engagement template as a very simple form of initial engagement. This template was designed so that unrepresented young people could voice their major concerns and explain their key interests. We also asked for photos of young people holding their demands in written form. This gave these demands a human face, making them difficult for negotiators, ministers and heads of state to ignore.
Become a partner here.
Beyond this initial engagement template, we strongly encouraged further communication between partner countries. This was left open ended and youth delegates could put as much or as little time towards further engagement as they were able.
Find out more about what we got up to at COP18 here.
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