UN Conference Comes to Strathclyde

By Casey Roepke

As Glasgow prepares for world leaders, activists and other participants to descend upon the city for COP26, preparations for a smaller-scale climate conference are also underway.

COY16 is the 16th annual UN Climate Change Conference of Youth and is facilitated by the Official Youth Constituency of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (YOUNGO UNFCCC). Directly preceding COP26, the Conference of Youth will be hosted at the University of Strathclyde and aims to prepare young people for their participation at COP.

The Conference will be held at the University of Strathclyde’s Learning and Teaching Building from 28th to 31st October. During the four-days, participants will engage in four different categories of activities: policy document, capacity building, skill-building workshops and cultural exchange.

As the official host of COY16, the University of Strathclyde was selected because of its climate policy goals. Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde, said that he was “delighted” that the university is hosting COY16.

He said: “The Conference objectives reflect well our positioning as a leading International Technological University that seeks to be Socially Progressive.”

The University of Strathclyde is partnering with Strath Union to host the youth conference. Vice President Community Ru Wallace stated: “We’re very excited to be hosting COY at the Union, it’ll be a great opportunity for our students to connect with young people from around the world to coordinate the youth voice going into COP.”

Wallace added: “I have been working with them to develop workshops, bring together students, and make sure that the conference has a lasting impact.”

The policy document is a major product of COY16. Youth participants will draft a paper with their recommendations for climate policy which will be passed forward during the UN Climate Negotiations. The document will focus on demands and recommendations from delegates, country-specific proposals will also be included.

During the conference, delegates from over 140 countries will have the opportunity to network and interact, with the aim of creating a communal understanding and cultural immersion through a common experience.

“Climate justice remains a top priority for us in order to secure a brighter and more promising sustainable future,” said Strathclyde student Kayla-Megan Burns who was the previous President of Strath Union.

They added: “We are delighted to be a part of the COY, and provide the key opportunities for students to feed into these ever important discussions at such a high level. We will continue to hold ourselves and the university accountable for our role to play in the climate crisis, and inspire students to build a better society as part of the much wider global community.”

More information about COY16 and COP can be found here.