Watch: Expo turns into stunning visual spectacle as UAE announces initiative to empower 100 youth globally for COP28

More than 3,000 members of the community attended the event, including leaders, ministers, students, youth in national service


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Published: Sun 19 Mar 2023, 8:49 PM

Last updated: Sun 19 Mar 2023, 10:06 PM

The famous Al Wasl Plaza, the dome which witnessed some of the most spectacular moments of Expo 2020, lit up again when thousands attended the 'Road to COP28' event. The 360-degree projection surface of the world displayed a stunning visual exhibition corresponding with the event's theme.

Under one roof, over 3,000 members of the community attended the launch of a new global program, the 'International Youth Climate Delegate Program' (International YCDP). The attendees included the COP28 leadership team, UAE Ministers, students, youth in national service, youth climate advocates, senior citizens, people of determination, green business owners, farmers, entertainers, and volunteers.

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The platform

Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, President-Designate of COP28 UAE, said, “Young people are at the forefront of addressing the climate challenge. They are leading the way by sharing their perspectives, bringing their creativity and contributing to the positive impact that the world needs.

"As future leaders, future scientists, future entrepreneurs, and future climate activists, their energy and youth is what will make the difference. The International Youth Climate Delegate Program – the largest initiative of its kind – will empower young people from around the world to fully participate in the COP process, and give a special focus to those from least developed countries and small island states.”

When the young minds and thought leaders took centre stage, the Al Wasl Plaza gave them visibility no less than Coldplay, Alicia Keys and Kadim Al Saher.

Focused on themes including participation, action, voice, and education; the day-long event conducted range of activities such as climate-focused workshops, youth circles, youth debates, intergenerational dialogue, and a climate leaders panel.

100 youth delegates

Elevating the voices, perspectives, and priorities of the global youth in the multilateral COP process, the International YCDP will select 100 youth delegates primarily from least developed countries (LDC) and small island developing states (SIDS), to participate in climate negotiations and related public-private partnership initiatives. The program will also target indigenous peoples and minority groups and will provide financial support and capacity-building exercises for those selected to participate.

To ensure that youth views and proposals are integrated into global climate policymaking, the International YCDP will help to build skills, knowledge, and networks among youth, particularly those in the most vulnerable countries, to engage in the climate process. It will also provide a model for the COP process on youth inclusion, with a vision to construct a sustainable youth engagement structure for future generations.

Sponsored by the COP28 Youth Climate Champion team and the COP28 Presidency, the program will be jointly coordinated with all elements with youth-led organisations, including YOUNGO, the official Children and Youth Constituency of the UNFCCC.

The program is designed to prominently highlight the needs and policy proposals of youth in global climate decision-making, build climate capacity, knowledge, and networks among youth, and establish a model for equitable youth inclusion in all future COPs.

Shamma Al Mazrui, UAE’s Minister of Community Development and COP28 UAE Youth Climate Champion (YCC), will work with YOUNGO to deliver the largest initiative aimed at expanding youth participation from underrepresented countries in the climate process to date.

Youth climate delegate program

Applications for the International YCDP are now open through the online portal and will close by 7 April. The review of applications and interviews will be facilitated by YOUNGO. The program will run from May through to December, with youth delegates participating and providing input into the negotiation process to set priorities for the climate agenda in the 18th UN Climate Change Conference of Youth (COY18) and COP28 from November 30 to December 12 at Expo City Dubai. During the process, youth delegates will also undergo training to build clear policy targets for COP and will be expected to gather perspectives and bring learning back to their wider communities in their countries. Shortlisted applications will be invited to final interviews in April, with the selected delegates announced in early May.


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