In November 2022 a team of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts attended the world’s largest climate change event. Read about their key learnings from attending COP27.
Clara - Tanazania Girl Guides
"Before going to COP27, I actively participated in the WAGGGS online training which meant to prepare delegates for the conference, especially with WAGGS key demands at COP27. I also attended pre COP events prepared by other NGOs to gain more knowledge and skills. WAGGGS delegates were divided into three working teams which are; event, policy and communication and so I was assigned in the event team. My personal objectives were to ensure improvements in confidence level and public speaking with international community, improving leadership, teamwork and lobbying skills, as well as learning from other people about climate action as well as connecting with others. I am glad that, I achieved them all.
I participated in making our voices heard through; pitching our key demands to the big leaders, interviews with different house Medias, distributing our flyers to people of concern and using speaking opportunities in the COP plenary sessions. I plan to arrange a meeting with a National Minister of Environment where I will present GLACC key demands and ask for his support and collaboration. My message to the world is; the key aspect in successfully solving climate crisis is by involving girls at all stages. We should be one thing living in one Earth protecting one Earth; everyone should be responsible in protecting it, since it is the only thing we all share."
Joy Marlène KODO - Benin Girl Guides
"During the COP27, we participated in many meetings on different themes related to climate change such as finance, sustainable food, gender equality, and youth representation... We also organized side events such as #BringInThegirls, and the intergenerational discussion, and participated in panel discussions at the youth pavilion level.
I came out of this COP brimming with energy, action, and confidence that we can act in this struggle and that it is more than necessary to #BringInthegirls.
For this reason, I first intend to share my experience with my OM and the GLACC team in Benin, then bring the Beninese leaders to meet at the Cop to fulfill their promise to support us in the framework of GLACC but also submit our key requests for this to be incorporated into their planning for 2023.
I realized that as young people, and as women, we have to stand up for ourselves. We have the power to change things, and we have to act because the world of tomorrow is ours, and we have to choose how we want it to be. "
Mercedes Ramacieri - Argentine Girl Guides
"Sometimes I think that international events become a routine for decision makers and the interests of a few people win out over others, however, I was motivated to see youth activists and especially women's movements that share similar ideals to WAGGGS. Every day during my stay at COP27 I had a reason to be excited and proud to be a Girl Guide. I felt part of a struggle that is bigger than I could have imagined and I went with a commitment to bring the voice of young women to an event that defines the decisions that will shape our future and I came back even more involved in making this cause visible. As a GLACC advocacy mentor in my MO, I am committed to accompanying a group of Girl Guides in my community to carry out advocacy campaigns. I would love to encourage them to participate in environmental events in my country and motivate them to find spaces to speak and share their ideas. As a final message I would like to say that our generation and those to come have the right to live in a more just and sustainable world, that is why the youth of today are pushing for the interests of some people not to take away the dreams of others. Being part of this kind of event encourages me to keep joining spaces for debate and action. Being part of a WAGGGS delegation exceeded my expectations and wearing the world scarf was a huge honor. I am immensely grateful to the GLACC team for this opportunity and for motivating me and millions of other young women to fight for an equal and sustainable future. "
Sherrese Andrew - Dominican Girl Guides
"My main takeaway was that, despite the vast quantity of environmental issues, there are more amazing people trying and succeeding to rectify them. The message I would like to share with the world is the words of Jens Martin Skibsted, “The challenge of pollution and global warming is no longer the science, or the rate of innovation, but the rate of implementation: We have the clean solutions; now let's bundle them and install them.”
Thuto Matobo - Lesotho Girl Guides
" At COP27 I represented WAGGGS as a panelist on the panel discussion titled “Transforming education for sustainable development through youth climate action”. This was an opportunity to show case the Girl Led Action on climate change programme under WAGGGS.
The Panel discussion also entailed a high level pair conversation where I interviewed Camila Zepeda who is Mexico’s director general for global affairs and Mexico’s chief climate negotiator. The aim of the conversation was to draw lessons from Mexico on behalf of WAGGGS on what they are doing to connect youth and climate change education and to get advise on what we can we do as active civil society organisations to collaborate efficiently with government on implementation of National Adaptation Plans. The livestream of the panel discussion is available on Youtube at https://youtu.be/Y1v4_qhrnPc
Post COP 27, the aim is to collaborate with government delegates that attended COP 27 in order to influence decision makers in Lesotho to adopt the WAGGGS key demands particularly, to integrate girls and youth in all climate decision making platforms in Lesotho and to push for political will to enhance resilience and assistance to girls and young women in vulnerable communities. Further as an environmental law expert, to contribute towards research and policy development in Lesotho. Lastly, the GLACC programme will be ending soon. However, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. The aim is to seek adequate finance from prominent institutions to invest in girls and young women climate action initiatives."
Veronica Monserrat Arjona - Girl Guides of Mexico
"One of my concerns was that I would feel intimidated by the personalities at COP, for this I needed to work a lot in my confidence and trust, fortunately I did not feel that way when arriving and being there. Instead of feeling intimidated, I felt inspired and motivated to know more about them, their work and their cause, even making a deeper connection. Most of my motivation came from the ones I could see as similar to me, the youth, the women, those how I could see as a reflection of me, those having similar fights and yet succeeding and doing so much for their cause. Thanks to that I could see more clearly all the opportunities that we as young climate activists have if we work together with an intergenerational and intersectoral approach.
That is my main take away: The opportunities to fight Climate Change and make a difference are out there, we need to be brave enough to take on the challenges and work for a greater good together. Our association is doing an amazing job that could reach even further if we expand our work with strategic actors. We need to keep assisting these places, to contribute with our participation to a better and more equitable world for girls and women. Speaking for myself, I will more than ever push my climate action to real changes. I want to grow a community of people who are willing to invest some time, effort and energy in the present to have a living world in the future. This, especially with girls and women, I would like to create a bigger community of empowered women that knows all the potential we have as a team, and the importance of our participation in all areas. I want to keep educating myself into climate change and sustainability areas, the famous phrase “Knowledge is power” applies here. We need to recover power by knowing what we are fighting against and how with science, technology and public policies we can face it. My work in life will continue to be towards ending gender gaps in science and academia, because it helps reduce the vulnerability of millions of girls and women around the world. I know I am not alone, each one of us has an impact and we must come together to make it stronger and beneficial, as we say in Guides: We are many and we are strong."