COP26 was delayed by a year in 2020 due to the worldwide covid pandemic. But young people whose present and future are at the biggest stake knew that delaying COP26 is not a reason to delay climate action. So, we did not waste a second. Over 330 youth delegates representing over 140 countries gathered online at Mock COP26 to fill the void of COP26 and prepared 18 ambitious, yet realistic policies covering 6 important themes; climate education, climate justice, climate-resilient livelihoods, physical and mental health, nationally determined contributions, and biodiversity. It showed the ambition and dreams of young people worldwide fighting for a fair, equal, and green world. After the conference, we are mobilizing a movement of young people globally to campaign for their leaders to show this ambition and implement parts of our treaty.
COP26 finally took place in Glasgow, UK from 31st Oct to 13th Nov amid the fears of the coronavirus. Mock COP26 was present at both weeks of COP26 and we engaged through our wonderful delegates, volunteers, and partners. Now, COP26 has come to an end and it is time to reflect on the progress we made at COP26.
- Lobbying Mock COP treaty asks:
We met with the President of Columbia, the President of Ghana, Prime Minister of Thailand, Prime Minister of Norway, Vice-President of European Commission, Frank Timmermans, and other high-level officials and handed them a postcard with Mock COP26 treaty asks.
- Lobbying Climate Education:
1st ask in our Mock COP treaty is about climate education as it is very crucial to prepare young people of today to understand and tackle the impacts of the climate crisis. On 4th November, we delivered Teach the Teacher to the Permanent Secretary of the Department for Education, and other invited key educationalists in their Gen Z COP26 classroom which was live-streamed to an audience of up to 10k. We also spoke on a panel discussion entitled “Education in Climate Policies: Are Countries Making the Grade” organized by Education International at the Nature pavilion. We highlighted the importance of mandatory climate education which should provide comprehensive and up-to-date teaching regarding climate and ecological crises and the need for it to be accessible to everyone.
- Education Ministers Summit:
We worked with the UK Presidency, Government of Italy, UNESCO, and Youth4Climate to bring Ministers of Education and Environment together at COP26 to pledge to integrate climate change and sustainability into learning in formal education systems. Over 23 countries have put forward national climate education pledges, ranging from developing new resources on climate education to enacting a framework act on education. The declaration from the Education Ministers Summit can be read here, and the pledges can be watched here and here. The full live stream of the summit can be found here.
- My Climate Reality:
On 3rd November at Green Zone of COP26, we showed our five “My Climate Reality” VR videos. Bea, Jonathan, Daniela, Rakesh, and Txai transports you to the Philippines, Uganda, Columbia, India, and Brazil to show you what it feels like to be on the front lines of the climate crisis and to work to tackle those impacts. Filmed on 360 cameras and presented in VR headsets, this zero-carbon project was created by a global collaboration of activists and filmmakers from Picture Zero and the Rubber Republic to transport you right to the heart of the action. All the videos can be watched here.
- Meaningful Youth Participation and Leadership:
On 5th Nov, we organized a panel discussion on “What Does Meaningful Youth Leadership Looks Like?” in the Green Zone. We discussed how activism differs in the global south and north and how young people are working with the community and the government. The full video can be watched here.
- Advocacy, Networking and broader engagement:
We advocated with different groups such as YOUNGO, CAN International, Education International, UNICEF to name a few. Main topics we worked on included climate education, meaningful youth participation, loss and damage, action for climate empowerment, and gender justice among others.
We joined various networking events and dinners and met plenty of high-level people such as PM of The Netherlands and Nepal, High-Level Champions, Education Minister of Sierra Leone among others, and other wonderful people from different countries, NGO/INGO representatives, media, youth, and indigenous people, activists, and potential partners for EMS at COP27. We got plenty of media opportunities such as talking with BBC, Sky News, COP26 TV, UN Podcast among others.
We also had the opportunity to speak in numerous panel discussions such as “Beyond Rhetoric; Youth Leadership and Climate Action” at websters theatre organized by Soka Gakkai International UK, and side event such as “The Climate Crisis: A Child Rights Crisis” organized by UNICEF.
- Protest and Strikes
On 5th and 6th Nov, we marched together with millions of strikers in the streets of Glasgow demanding climate justice. We also joined various protests inside-outside the COP venue, to pressurize world leaders not to fail us at COP26.
Mock COP26 representatives at COP26 are back with lots of learning and engagement and also with new energy and proper rest. We would like to thank everyone for supporting and encouraging us throughout COP26 whether by being in-person or from home! We look forward to working together to achieve more of the Mock COP treaty in the days to come.
-Shreya K.C., Campaign Coordinator at Mock COP26