From the very beginning, youth have been actively engaged at the Conferences of the Parties (COPs) which are organised by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
In 2005, they formally gathered in Montreal ahead of COP11 to make their voices heard, thus creating the first Conference of Youth (COY). In 2009 during COP15, the UNFCCC secretariat and the member states to the Convention officially recognised youth as an observer constituency of its own (confirming the status in 2011), to represent the formal voice of Children and Youth in UNFCCC processes. The constituency is known as YOUNGO.
The Conference of Youth (COY) is an official event of YOUNGO. COY continues to involve children and youths from different sectors of society and areas of the world, with number growing steadily over the years. It is organised by the youth for the youth. Moreover, in 2015, the idea of COY started spreading around the world. Young people recognized the value of COYs, and got inspired to organise local COYs (LCOYs).
In 2017, a formal process has been set up within YOUNGO to endorse and empower youths and youth organisations to organise Regional and Local COYs. More information about the LCOY process can be found here
Primary Objectives of COYs
Preparatory space for YOUNGO to COP
COY primarily serves as a space for capacity building and policy training to prepare young people for their participation at COP. The participants are introduced to the various Working Groups of YOUNGO, where they develop common policy positions (lobby points) and develop strategies to best advocate for the interests of youth in those policy areas.
Facilitating the exchange of knowledge and experience
The very nature of COY also provides for a brilliant space for young people coming together from different backgrounds to share experiences, knowledge, thoughts and ideas for enhanced global climate action, also providing space for various artwork and movement building.
Scopes of different COYs
Global COY is an annual gathering of young people from all over the world, who are passionate about climate change and environmental topics. It is organised by the youth for the youth. The take place once every year right before the annual UN Climate Change Conference, also known as the Conference of Parties (COP), at the same location organised by local youth in collaboration with YOUNGO. It aims to bring together the global youth to compile national and regional inputs into positions of global youth to be fed into the climate negotiations.
Regional COYs are organised (ideally) before or during GCOY in different parts of the world offering youth new opportunities for training and capacity building. Regional COYs aim to bring together youth from many different countries within one of the 7 world regions (North America, Latin America and Caribbean, South America, Africa, Europe, Asia and Oceania). They focus on climate related topics which have high regional importance, discuss and develop respective outputs and feed them into the Global COY and consequently into the climate negotiations.
Local COYs resemble regional COYs in many aspects. They, too, should ideally take place before or during the GCOY. They also serve the purpose to train youth and to build their capacities for climate action. The point in which the conferences differ is the scope. Local COYs aim to bring together youth from one country, which focus on climate related topics which have high national importance, discuss and develop respective outputs, which are fed into the Global COY and consequently into the climate negotiations.
Find out more
You want to get a better understanding of previous COYs, where they took place and what topics they discussed? Have a look at the History page! In case your questions have not been answered yet about participating or organising a COY, have a look at our FAQ section! Some frequently asked questions are compiled here.