Washington University Students for International Collaboration on the Environment

Individuals that make a difference

Aya IMAI is the girl from Doshisha University, Japan. She is the Head Office Student Representative of the student group WSEN(World Students Environmental Network) which holds annual environmental conferences in different countries including Germany, UK, etc. The students come together to talk about innovative sustainable solutions and get educated on climate change issues.
It is interesting to see how these students are all doing the similar things as we do in different parts of the world. WE ARE NOT ALONE.

From left to right: Liam from Canada, Katy from Mexico and Luana from Cook Island

The girl on the right is Luana, the student delegate from Cook Island. Cook Island is a beautiful beautiful pacific island that is affected by climate change. Do you remember at MOCK COP16, you guys argued for a long long time for how to write the text about LDCs (least developed countries) and small pacidic islands? How to make the agreement fair for them? How much sacrifice or compensation should we make? I introduced our conference to her and what the delegates agreed upon, and I said it would be so cool if we can have her presence at the conference. Her voice and input will be so important and interesting for us to hear about. Later that day she sent me a document, a statement from all the pacific islands. It indicates that the global temperature increase should be limited to less than 1.5 degree Celsius in order to save the islands. It is the goal 350.org is advocating also. It was not written on the two texts passed in the end, so we still have a long way to fight for.

Maira Niode is from Jakarta, Indonesia. She is 16 years old but is already a party member of Indonesia UNFCCC delegations. (Look at her pink badge!) So we can see many youths in some countries are very active. With the passage of Article Six under UNFCCC (Article Six emphasizes the educational part of climate negotiation, and it approves that the government officials can bring youth delegates to the COP meetings.) Therefore Fudan guys and Wash Uers, please notice the fact that youths are playing a more important role in UN process. There are more ways to get our voice heard. Pressure the government but also collaborate with it! In U.S. and China, the national delegations are pretty exclusive from the youths; there are no planned agenda for the negotiators to meet with their youth at COP16, and it was so hard for us to find chances to meet with them. In contrast, Australia, Indonesia and New Zealand’s governments are more open and flexible with youths from their countries. I do believe there should a special section at COP where national delegations are required and scheduled to meet with the youth delegates.

There is another U.S.-China Youth Climate Exchange program going on at Cancun and I was part of it. Many organizations including SustainUS, CY-CAN(China Youth Climate Action Network), SSC(Sierra Student Coalition), CCN(Climate Cascade Network) and Golden bridges participated in this project. During COP16, two workshops and one shared action were organized. The speakers are mainly youth delegates and the form of workshops was more interactive and casual, so people bonded very well. I launched the WUSICE MOU at the first workshop. It was exciting to see the same kind of exchange and communications going on between U.S. and China youths, but it was also a pity that you guys could not attend and share your insights and experience. They were very curious about the MOCK COP16 at WUSICE conference held, and many are interested in the idea of a MOCK COP17 next year. A website is just established, and I encourage you to take a look at http://www.cuyce.org/. It would be great to let you guys get to know these people who share the same passions and experiences to further the U.S.-China youth communications.

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