Introducing Feasta’s COP-28 Youth Delegation

Feasta continues to support the youth climate justice movement, with a growing delegation for COP-28 to be held in Dubai, UAE in November 2023.

For information on the previous delegations to COP-26 and COP-27, click here.

One of the goals of the delegation is to spread word about CapGlobalCarbon, FEASTA’s vision for a global cap on carbon with revenues returned back to people as a climate dividend.

Special thanks to the Youth Climate Collaborative, which referred a few of the delegates to Feasta. Please also support the organizations and causes that these young people are working with.

Rania, Morocco

Rania is dedicated to creating positive change in her community and beyond. She is a human rights defender, environmentalist, and community organizer. Currently serving as an executive member of Girl Up Morocco, Rania plays an instrumental role in advancing the organization’s mission to support and inspire girls to become global leaders and champions of gender equality. Additionally, she is the coalition leader for Girl Up Arab World, working closely with other regional leaders to amplify the voices of Arab girls and advocate for their rights on a larger scale. Furthermore, Rania actively engages in advocacy work as a National Gender Justice Activist at UN Women, where she collaborates with stakeholders and policymakers to promote gender equality and women’s rights in the MENA region and Globally. Her dedication to addressing gender-based disparities and fostering social justice has led her to recently found the Young Arab Feminists Coalition—a grassroots initiative aimed at uniting young Arab feminists in their pursuit of gender equality, women’s rights, and social justice. Through this platform, Rania aims to create a space for Arab women to connect, collaborate, and mobilize, ultimately fostering a strong and supportive network for change. She is FFF MAPA and Morocco organizer and was recognized as an Aspen Institute Future Leader. She is currently pursuing a second year in International Politics at Georgetown University in Qatar, Rania leverages her academic journey to deepen her understanding of global affairs, human rights, and legal frameworks. Combining her academic knowledge with her community organizing efforts, she aspires to become a catalyst for legal reforms concerning women’s rights in Morocco. With a firm belief in the power of the law to effect meaningful change, she envisions herself at the forefront of legal reform, championing the rights of marginalized communities in MENA.

Why are you attending COP-28?

The impact of climate change on my community has been nothing short of devastating. I have seen firsthand how it has upended the lives of farmers and pushed families into dire financial straits. This has had a ripple effect throughout the community, and I have seen how it has disproportionately impacted girls and women, who are often the ones forced to bear the brunt of the crisis. One of the most heart-wrenching examples of this is the plight of my cousins, who were forced into child marriage due to the critical financial situation caused by the effects of climate change on our community’s farmers. As the situation worsened, their parents saw no other way to ensure their survival than to marry them off to older men. The pain and trauma that my cousins experienced as a result of this decision will stay with me forever, and it is a stark reminder of just how much is at stake in the fight against climate change .

It is deeply troubling to realize that I, or any other girl in my community, could be the next victim of climate change. As a participant in COP, I hope to be meaningfully engaged and to play a role in ensuring that the voices of young Arab women and girls are heard and taken into account. However, I am also aware of the risk of tokenization and the tendency to simply include young women and girls as a box-ticking exercise. I see my role as a delegate as being not just an advocate, but also a catalyst for change. Therefore, I am committed to using my position to advocate for genuine and meaningful inclusion of marginalized Arab communities in the negotiation process and to push for policies and programs that prioritize our needs and experiences. Especially, I aim to advocate for the development and implementation of climate adaptation plans to build resilience against extreme weather events in the MENA region. This includes investing in infrastructure that can withstand climate-related impacts, such as floods and storms, and adopting climate-smart agricultural practices to ensure food security. Moreover, I will demand comprehensive reforestation initiatives and the protection of natural habitats in the MENA region. Preserving biodiversity is crucial for ecosystem health and resilience, and restoring forests can sequester carbon dioxide, contributing to climate change mitigation. Lastly, I want to advocate for an increased investment in gender-sensitive climate research and data collection, focusing on understanding the differential impacts of climate change on women and men in the MENA region, which will help identify targeted interventions and ensure that climate policies address the specific vulnerabilities and needs of women.

I know the need for representing the community I belong to, a community that has been underrepresented in climate decision-making spaces for far too long. Though I might make mistakes and not always do justice to my community, one thing is certain: I will raise my voice to represent Arab farmers, Arab youth, and Arabs in conflict zones whose lives and futures have been impacted by militarization.

Angel, USA

Angel is current Emerging Leaders for Climate Action Fellow and a recent graduate of Rice University’s Master of Global Affairs program. Her research interests include US-Gulf relations and climate statecraft. Her research focuses on how oil-producing Gulf states negotiate energy demands and their economic interests with domestic and global sustainability goals and objectives. Ms. Smith will conduct further research on climate statecraft as a Fulbright awardee to the United Arab Emirates. Ms. Smith is from Denver, Colorado, USA, and received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Bachelor of Arts in International Studies degrees from Colorado State University. Outside of her research, she has also spent time living abroad and studying Arabic as a Gilman Scholar, Critical Language Scholarship Awardee, and Boren Fellow.

Why are you attending COP-28?

I would like the opportunity to attend COP28 because doing so will help me better understand how global leaders plan to address climate change. As a young, Black, low-income woman, I have experienced the impacts and barriers to climate advocacy that stem from a lack of access to events like COP. Without a firm understanding of what is being discussed and decided at events like COP, marginalized groups have a limited capacity to voice concerns and champion solutions that may be more effective and cause less harm. By participating in COP28, I will have direct access to negotiations and other observers; thus, I will be able to not only observe the negotiations but also critically examine them with others. Having attended COP28, I will bring back to my community the information I learned, making us better positioned to advocate for ourselves. Outside of the benefits to my community, I would also like to attend COP28 because it highly overlaps with my academic interest—climate statecraft.

I would consider myself a part of a vulnerable population as I am a young, black, low-income woman. Although I am American, Black communities and low-income communities in the US and globally tend to be left out of conversation regarding climate change and a just transition, although we are severely impacted by climate change. Additionally, women also experience undue burden stemming from climate change. Young people also face significant barriers engaging with IGOs and governments who are ultimately in charge of making decisions that impact youth. In all, I am a member of multiple communities that have been left out of the decision-making process and who are not fully informed about what is being decided which creates immense vulnerability.

Liudmyla, Ukraine

I’m Mila, a Fridays For Future Ukraine Spokesperson and Operations Contact Point. I am also a WWF Build Back Better Ukraine Intern, and former Head of the “social events department” within the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. I am coming from Mariupol, Ukraine, a city completely destroyed in the war. I understand firsthand that the war in Ukraine is part of the wider climate crisis.

The participation at COP28 will benefit my Advocacy for Climate and Peace aligned with Fridays For Future Ukraine (as a Non-Profit in Ukraine), our climate action and representatives of war refugees.

Bel, Ireland
I am a youth activist with Fridays for Future and Young Friends of the Earth. I have been an equality advocate for my entire life and an activist with Fridays for Future and YFOE for a year now but I have had an interest in climate activism for my entire life.
I am currently involved with many groups including ISSU, The Elpis Organization, NYCI (National Youth Council Of Ireland), SAME, ECO UNESCO, IGG (Irish Girl Guides), LDYC (Loss and Damage Youth Coalition), Amnesty, UNICEF, Comhairle Na Nog, LIFT (Leading Ireland’s Future Together), and more.

Marina, Brazil

I am a climate justice activist from Brazil. COP-28 will be my 4th UNFCCC event attending with a Feasta badge. I have been working with Fridays For Future Brasil and MAPA movement/ International, MockCOP, and Climate Live.

As one of the authors of the Manifesto for Climate Education in Brazil, I took the text to COP26 (where I attended as part of FEASTA delegation as well) asking for the commitment of Brazilian leaders to the topic. I curated LivMundi, the largest socio-environmental festival in Brazil, and also continue my work with and indigenous communities in the post-pandemic context.

Theresa, Ireland

I am an Indian Irish climate activist from the rebel county of Cork, Ireland. I am originally from Kerala in the Southern part of India. I work with Fridays For Future on a local (Cork), national (Ireland) and international basis, and founded an international NGO called Re Earth Initiative. I now have projects based in Ireland like Able2Change, a youth empowerment project and the Climate Assembly, which is a youth led assembly to curate demands and keep our decisionmakers accountable.

Luna, USA
Luna is a trilingual environmentalist, gender justice activist, and technology ethics advocate. She is a Sophomore at Duke University studying Political Science and International Relations. Luna is Founder and Executive Director of the Effective Climate Action Project, an organization empowering young people through STEM climate education. Her interactive workshops have engaged hundreds worldwide.

Luna is passionate about securing a decolonial and youth-inclusive environment in international development. She speaks publicly on human rights issues, and works with NGO and government to inform policy creation from gender-based violence to climate finance. Luna served as U.S. Youth Delegate to the United Nations CSW67 conference and the pre-COP26 youth conference (COY16). She works on policy and advocacy on Plan International’s USA Youth Advisory Board.

Why are you attending COP-28?

It wasn’t until I took a regulatory policy class at Duke last year that I realized I could belong in policymaking. For the past five years, my roots have been in the grassroots climate advocacy space, where I testified for climate policy and founded a climate organization harnessing STEM computer models to mobilize youth. Now I am transitioning from solely activism to concrete policy leadership—and COP28 is critical for my evolution in this field.

I will be closely following negotiations on gender equality as a cross-cutting issue. Specifically, I’ll be looking at gender equality in the areas of loss and damage and Just Energy Transition Partnerships. At the core of my interest in gender is my passion for languages and decolonization. I grew up bilingual in Spanish and English with my Colombian dad. I later taught myself Japanese, driven to explore cultures and solutions grounded in knowledge outside my own. Being trilingual solidified my belief in the value of multilingualism and diverse political representation. Climate change is an amplifier of existing inequalities, and puts women at risk of gender-based violence. Marginalized genders hold critical knowledge that must be embedded at COP—yet representation remains lacking.

I realized the importance of decolonial climate financing as it relates to COP27’s loss and damage agreement during CSW, when I observed very hierarchical conversations on gender-climate finance in a U.S.-Fiji bilateral. This is why I’d also like to focus on exploring how Just Energy Transition Partnerships can better center community stakeholders and build agency. JETPs must deliver on gender-just commitments for the important task of decarbonizing and transitioning emerging economies. I’ll follow updates on South Africa, Indonesia, and Vietnam, as well as others created. I also look forward to learning more about the finale of the first Global Stocktake, a key mechanism for accountability and the follow-through of NDCs and pledges to the Green Climate Fund.

Throughout all issue areas, I am motivated to bring measurable action to COP28.

Amália, Brazil

I am a climate activist and physics student from southern Brazil, active in Fridays for Future (FFF) at local, national, and international levels. I focus my activism on social and climate justice – showing how STEM, social and climate issues are interconnected and present in our daily lives. I started striking in 2019 to oppose a plan to build Brazil’s largest open pit coal mine near my city, which would have several social and environmental impacts, but now has been suspended. Considering this, a big portion of my local activism has been focused on coal and shale mining. In Fridays for Future, I take part in a series of projects, like the SOS Amazônia Campaign, which has raised over $1 million Reais to help indigenous communities, and a working group in FFF Brazil to push for inclusion of socio-climatic topics in the debate.

I would like to attend COP to push for the change we want to see: inclusion, climate education and justice in our society.

Jessica, Ireland

I’m involved in Fridays For Future, organising global climate strikes since 2019. I’m also a member of Young Friends of the Earth where we work on a national and global level to make climate justice a reality. This COP is a reminder of the continued inaction that has resulted from all its predecessors. I hope, this time, that we achieve agreements based on climate justice and informed by science that enact radical changes.

This COP is more inaccessible than most and I hope to go and be a voice for those who can’t be there, highlighting the continued injustice which continues as a result of the lack of progress we have seen at previous events.

Mikaelle, Brazil

I am a young black activist from the Brazilian northeast region, one of the regions most affected by climate change and social issues in Brazil. I am a student of Renewable Energy Engineering at the federal university of my state – UFPB. I am part of movements for climate justice such as Fridays For Future Brasil, and Fridays For Future MAPA, My fight started long before I was here in life, I started with my acentrias, and today I fight for the rights of women of the black people and also for an energy transition where the countries of the global south and the vulnerable territories are included as the main focus of change, and not only of resource extraction. Youth has managed to reach important spaces, but we still have to pressure politicians for inclusion. Being inside such an important space as the COP is a starting point for civil society to come together and shout to the world about the real reality we live in. In my region the catastrophic events of climate change are intensifying more and more. Furthermore, we need to make Brazil’s politicians declare a climate emergency in vulnerable regions.

Hania, Pakistan

I have been a climate activist for the last five years, and have also founded a Youth Climate Movement called YCAPK with a 100+ activists from across Pakistan. Here we organise protests, mobilise youth and our community and have tough conversations regarding the climate crisis.
I am a Muslim woman, and from Pakistan, so these are the two communities I hope to represent. I would specifically like to focus on Pakistan and Asia, and how climate justice intercepts with the regions I live in. Also how it affects the daily lives of Pakistanis.

COP is a the biggest climate conference that occurs every year, and Pakistan being one of the top ten countries most affected by the climate crisis, I believe there has to be more representation from MAPA regions (Most Affected People and Areas), which is why I deserve to exist in such a space where our representation lacks severely. The decisions that affect my country, my people and my land my people have had no say in. The challenges I would like to raise awareness about are children, education and women in relation to the climate crisis in the context of Pakistan. The policies I wish to support are what the IPCC reports recommend, the actions we need to take to ensure the survival of our planet.

Note: Feasta is a forum for exchanging ideas. By posting on its site Feasta agrees that the ideas expressed by authors are worthy of consideration. However, there is no one ‘Feasta line’. The views of the article do not necessarily represent the views of all Feasta members. 

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