“Our Leaders Have Failed Us at Every COP So We’re Building Our Own”: Youth Hold Virtual COP
Between 19 November and 01 December 2020, youth climate leaders will host a virtual Mock COP event in the same month that the now delayed COP26 would have been. The event is being hosted by Students Organising for Sustainability UK, with student staff members and volunteers taking the lead in organising.
At Mock COP26, 3-5 delegates per country will participate in and will receive targeted opportunities for education and to express their own ideas.
The aim of the event is to empower young people to be able to engage with their local, national and international leaders about the Climate Emergency. The discussions will be framed around five conference themes: climate justice; climate education; climate-resilient livelihoods; health and wellbeing; and Nationally-determined Contributions.
At the end of the event, delegates will present a collective high-level statement to leaders, summarising what they believe should be prioritised at COP26 in 2021.
Prithvesh Ashok from India said:
“Mock COP26 gives us - the youth- a stage to resonate our concerns. It gives us a way to put our voice out there amongst all the noise.”
Dom Jaramillo from Ecuador said:
“Young people are no longer waiting to be given permission to speak but are taking the floor themselves. Climate leaders have slammed the door of climate negotiations in our faces. Since they won’t listen, we won’t play their game anymore. We are building our own COP.”
Sofía Hernández, a young member of the COP25 Costa Rican delegation, said:
“COP25 failed the world. The hashtag #TimeForAction was plastered across the conference centre, but there was no ‘action’ to be found. Global leaders neglected human rights- the human face of the crisis- and prioritised their economic interests.”
Mitzi Jonelle Tan from the Philippines said:
“Marginalised communities are underrepresented, or have been drowned out by the most powerful countries. We demand urgency and for those being most affected by the crisis to have a seat at the table.”