Monday 7 December
Today was the first day of the main COP-15 conference. It has set the scene for the next two weeks, which will be amazing, tiring, busy, interesting and at some points overwhelming, but also a valuable learning experience.
We all attended a press conference held by UNICEF and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which focused on using youth and music to break barriers and build bridges towards global climate action. These two organizations have partnered with WAGGGS to produce the Climate Challenge Badge.
There were eight youth delegates speaking on behalf of the Children’s Climate Summit, and they shared their experiences of music’s influence in the climate change movement. During the open question time, two WAGGGS delegates asked the panel questions regarding the impact of climate change on girls and young women in their communities, and how they were being included in the decision making process to take action. A number of WAGGGS delegates also attended a press conference held by the Women’s Environment and Development Organisation, which identified why gender equality matters in a global climate change agreement.
After lunch we took part in a joint youth action, performing a ‘flash dance’ in the main common area of the Bella Centre. Over 200 youth took part to demand climate justice through dance and song. These types of actions are important as they gain the attention of the media and put pressure on government delegations.
A number of delegates also had the opportunity to attend a panel discussion including the Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen and the Executive Director of Greenpeace Kumi Naidoo. The closing statement of this discussion was made by Professor Wanguri Maathai, an exceptional woman whose work and influence has grown from a one woman campaign to save the environment to being internationally recognised for her struggle for democracy, human rights, and environmental conservation. She was presented with a World Citizenship Award by WAGGGS in 2007, and we were lucky enough to meet with her and have a photo taken.
It was a jam-packed day, challenging at times, but we can’t wait for more!