Fai Tongdethsri: The ambitious task at COP24 in Katowice, Poland

‘Ambivalent’ comes to mind as I ponder on the reality that I’ll be off tomorrow to Poland for the UN Climate Change Conference 2018 (COP24). The hectic schedules of meetings and events, the imminent sub-zero temperatures, and living with 10 like-minded but multifarious youth for 3 weeks, all contribute to the unknown journey.

Fortunately, the Training Weekend in Auckland with my AYLI team last weekend helped ease the distress. The excellent speakers and alumni provided insights and guidance. We learned the many facets of the conference - what are the procedures, expectations and avenues for action or participation? We also became readily aware of the challenges and politics surrounding climate change and the negotiations. What factors are causing tension between the global north and south, states and civil organisations etc? We learned about our potential role as one of the YOUNGO (Youth NGO). There were many critical questions to be asked and many still to be developed.

Throughout the weekend, I also bonded with my team through LIME-ing, eating vegan burgers and discussing innumerable content. With most from the fringe, perhaps this dynamic matches well with a youth group that are passionate about climate change!

Over the last week, I have been inundated with information on COP24 by YOUNGO - key documents, condensed explanations and webinars. This has been extremely helpful. It also showed a massive global network of youth assisting each other not only on the technical part of COP but participation at the forum. The lessons from the Training Weekend started to become apparent. Indeed ‘privilege’ was implicit - acquiring daily badges or accommodation was still an issue for some. Yet youth from across the globe were offering to meet these needs to those they have not met. This to me highlighted a united front that speaks volume to what the world’s governments, organisations and societies can do to truly act on climate change.

As for tomorrow, I am extremely excited to be meeting my team again. I am sure the team will be an important part of this experience and ‘survival’. While it is fantastic that AYLI provides us with an opportunity to develop our own paths at COP24 (instead of a central delegation purpose), having the support network to fall back on is vital. And for the 24+ hours of travel, I will be learning those acronyms, some basic Polish and not fretting over whether I have packed enough gear!

All posts by Institute delegates reflect their own thoughts, opinions and experiences.

Posted on November 25, 2018 and filed under UN Climate Talks 2018.