International climate talks will be influenced again, this December, by young people from all over the world. Twelve young kiwis will be standing alongside an estimated 150000 members of civil society in Cancun, Mexico at the COP16. They have been selected from across New Zealand to form the New Zealand Youth Delegation. They met for the first time in Wellington last month.
COP16, the sixteenth annual Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, is the follow-up conference to COP15, which happened in Copenhagen, Denmark in December 2009. The focus of both COP15 and COP16 is the issue of climate change.
In 2009, the first New Zealand Youth Delegation (NZYD) sent a group of young people to COP15, and now this year, a further twelve delegates were brought together to create the 2010 Delegation.
The 2010 NZYD delegates are:
Luke Carey (16 years old, from Auckland)
Jessie Dennis (23, Wellington)
Rachel Dobric (18, Auckland)
Emily Harris (25, Auckland)
Emma Moon (20, Wellington)
Brittany Packer (18, Nelson)
Mike Price (22, Dunedin)
Suzanna Remmerswaal (22, Christchurch)
Chelsea Robinson (18, Wellington)
Kirk Serpes (25, Auckland)
Paul Young (25, Dunedin),
and Rick Zwaan (17, Auckland).
“NZYD provides the opportunity to bring a youthful Kiwi perspective to international climate negotiations” states Brittany Packer. “NZYD delegates will be engaging with NZ leaders to encourage strong climate policy. They will be teaming up with other youth delegations and non-governmental organisations from across the world, to push for the creation of a fair, ambitious and binding international deal on climate change.”
NZYD also plans to provide opportunities for education and empowerment of youth here in New Zealand. Their campaigns include connecting with young people across the country through schools, universities and youth groups, and working with them on positive climate action.
NZYD has just launched their first campaign: F.A.B. Fern. F.A.B. stands for Fair, Ambitious and Binding, which is what the NZYD would like to see from an international climate treaty. A giant banner will be created displaying a NZ icon- the silver fern- and signed with messages from hundreds of young kiwis from across the country. The fern has been divided into 12 separate ‘fronds’ and each NZYD delegate has taken one frond back to their hometown. The delegates aim to hold workshops about climate change with as many groups of young people as possible between now and December. Following this, interested young people can sign a frond of the fern with two messages; one to world leaders and the NZ government, and the other incorporating a personal pledge for environmental action. The fronds will later be brought together on a banner and this banner will be used for displays at the COP16 conference, and presented to the NZ government.
Mike Price, who conceived the idea of the using a fern as the symbol for NZYD’s campaign, “wanted something that was a symbol for rejuvenation, for New Zealand and for the environment, something that was big enough to convey our magnitude of vision and practical enough that we could split it up and recombine it to get as much exposure and engagement with young people as possible. Naturally a gigantic fern was an answer that popped into my head."
If you would like to know more about the FAB Fern campaign, please email the group at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to keep up to date with NZYD you can visit their website www.youthdelegation.org.nz.