Keeping up the Pressure: Youth Delegate Reports from the UNFCCC’s Bonn Intercessional (SB58)

Feasta has been supporting the global youth climate justice movement by providing badges to attend the UN Climate Conference (UNFCCC) events also known as COPs.  Background and reports from COP-26 and COP-27 can be found here and here.  Several of the youth delegates expressed interest in attending the recent Intercessional in Bonn, Germany (SB58), which took place June 5 to 15, 2023.

This is the first time Feasta has supported a delegation to a sub-meeting between COPs (but it probably won’t be the last).  Their reports are below:

Jessica’s report

Youth delegates in Bonn. Jessica is on the lower right.
For SB58 a small group of us in Fridays for Future (FFF) organised a delegation of 35 activists to attend the conference. These were delegates from Most Affected People and Areas (MAPA) who couldn’t otherwise have made it to the conference and it was incredible to be able to connect with them and work together on the ground. During the conference we protested the injustice of the visa system specifically in relation to the way many people are excluded from the SBs by discriminatory embassies.

We also organised a working group on the topic of Conflict Of Interest, a hot topic considering the presidency for COP28. As part of this we held an action inside the conference.

The frustration at SB58 was palpable while we waited for an agenda to be adopted and as the days went on we began prolonging our campaigning for the agenda item of the mitigation work programme, an obviously crucial part of climate negotiations. When the agenda was finally adopted on the second to last day we were shocked to find out that the mitigation work programme was relegated to an easily dismissed footnote.

In the closing plenary us youth came together and sang a protest song as part of our closing remarks. If anything beautiful comes out of these conferences it is that community that gives us the strength to keep fighting.

In the leadup to COP28 I am hoping for the agenda to be revised, I am also hoping that more action is taken to protect marginalised communities who will not be safe in Dubai.

Marina’s report

Attending the SB58 in Bonn as a climate activist from the Global South was challenging and inspiring in many ways. I was there as part of the Fridays For Future delegation, as well as engaging with Global Youth Coalition advocacy and mobilizations during the second week of the conference. By the side of other young change makers from YOUNGO’s finance and markets Working Group, I gained a deeper understanding of different technical aspects of climate finance and how it impacts on mitigation negotiations, crucial points on the road to COP28. In addition, we could do a lot of actions inside and outside the venue, mainly focussing on pressuring for decision makers to phase out fossil fuels and also advocating for a more ambitious agenda, so it could include mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage funding. Unfortunately they adopted an agenda only on the last days and we still have a lot of work to do to make sure youth will have meaningful participation on these conferences’ outcomes.

My highlight of those days in Bonn would definitely be the beauty that can be found in coalition building among young people from all over the world. I left the conference with even more love and fury to fight until climate justice is guaranteed.

Featured image: Marina Guião (centre, holding sign) and other youth activists in Bonn.

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