UNFCCC Conversations: the Youth Delegate #FYEGClimateDel

During the UNFCCC Intercessional we’ve noticed that a lot of our fellow youth know a lot about this process and we thought why not share their expertise with everyone?

Continuing in our series we are featuring a discussion with Ties, one of the few European representatives in the UN Youth Delegates program. Read more to see how programs like this help connect your local Scouts chapter to United Nations.

Ties, Dutch Youth Delegate

Why are you here?
In the Netherlands we have the Dutch Youth Council which is an umbrella organization, at this moment it has 37 youth led organizations for its members. Very wide ranged, from farmer youth and unions and scouting, everting as long as it’s youth led and they have this youth delegates program, where the mandate is transferred from all of these youth organization to one representative, or actually two for each topic. So together with my colleague I represents the youth at the UN for the topic of sustainable development. Of course climate change is a very relevant and an integral part of sustainable development, so that’s why I’m here.

More in detail, what I do is throughout the year I go throughout the country and give lectures. It’s actually not so much that it’s me doing the talking but I try get ahold on what the youth in the Netherlands thinks and feels about topics such as climate change. So when I’m here I have my own agenda, I actually push for the topics that were emphasized for by the young people in the Netherlands. So the government facilitates this by actually providing the accreditation, the badge, other than that I don’t have a government agenda but a youth agenda which is inspired throughout the year by the lectures, events. I try to attend anything where youth is present in order to ask them what is important.

What is the most important issue for you?
Right now is the issue of intergenerational issue, I think it’s a challenge for every youth program. You have to translate what you hear from the youth and translate to something tangible or workable within the framework of the United Nations. For me, from the messages I got from the young people was that intergenerational equity could capture most of what they were saying.

The Dutch program is actually pretty good by now. It’s been there for 30 years and most of the practicalities have been worked out. Some of my colleagues will host a side event at the General Assembly which will look more in-depth into the roll of how to start youth delegate programs.

What is the most important thing for young people at home to know?
Become active! That is the most important thing. What I’ve learned here is that these processes are very complicated and very hard to follow and understand, even when you involved. Actually, for all the people at home it’s not entirely relevant to understand every single detail. The main issue that you have to understand is that climate change is an issue, it’s real and there’s plenty of scientific evidence for these facts. What’s important actually is concrete actions- hands and feet on the ground at home, having real impact. We need to get things moving from different sides. Both bottom up and top down. So what’s happening here is really the top down approach. Governments discussing solutions, but equally important are these initiatives that are coming from bottom up. Somewhere these will have to meet, so people back home can be making a valuable contribution in initiating bottom up projects. Of course it’s important to be assured that bottom up and top down will eventually meet in the middle. Even though it is hard to follow here, there is ambition here and doing their best so it’s not a useless effort. It makes it even more relevant to them to be engaging in climate change and active.

Final words?
The easiest is to start small. Look at your own personal impacts and try to extend it from there. That’s especially when you have to become involved, become engaged. Reducing your meat consumption by one day a week would actually be a very valuable contribution and is actually fairly simple. So even if you are busy and your priorities are somewhere else, there’s so many things you can do that are really no effort at all. For most people who don’t have the time to be involved full time, these things are good to realize.

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