Entries by YEE


EU Emissions Trading System & Fit for 55 Workshop & Fit for 55​ | Workshop

EU Emissions Trading System & Fit for 55

How will the review of the EU ETS Directive align with the EU target set out in the European Climate Law to reduce net GHG emissions by 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels?

EU Emissions Trading System & Fit for 55

How will the review of the EU ETS Directive align with the EU target set out in the European Climate Law to reduce net GHG emissions by 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels?

Practical information

  • When

    Friday 24th Februry at 17h CET

  • Where


  • How

    Register your interest

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Are you interested in knowing more about the FF55 under a legal perspective?

Join our workshops with Manolis Kotzampasakis, PhD candidate at the University of Groningen! You will learn why access to justice is essential in climate laws and link it to the current advocacy work of EU NGOs.

About the expert

Manolis Kotzampasakis (1994) is a lawyer, admitted to the Athens Bar Association in Greece, and a PhD candidate at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. He is also a visiting lecturer at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil. He holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Athens and an LL.M. degree in Energy and Climate Law (cum laude) from the University of Groningen. He has worked at law firms specializing in the areas of environmental, energy and health law, as well as at the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) committee of the European Parliament. He currently researches the law and economics dimensions of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping, with a focus on the inclusion of maritime transport in the EU Emissions Trading System. His previous research on EU and US carbon markets received the award for the Best Energy Law Master’s Thesis in the Netherlands (2017-2020) by the Dutch Energy Law Association.


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SWITCH Networking event in Prague

S.W.I.T.C.H. networking event in Prague​

Learn about sustainable entrepreneurship and civil societies

Saturday 11 February 2023 from 15.00


The goal of the event is to promote the work done in the SWITCH project, to showcase the work of the nine participants who finished the course and to gather and strengthen the cooperation of organisations, civil society organisations, movements and party-political organisations, as well as participants who are interested in this topic.


After the presentation from participants of the SWITCH project, we will be holding an excellent opportunity to network with NGOs in Prague, and people interested in sustainability. In an ‘organisation fair format’, you will have the chance to represent your organisation, the work you do, upcoming opportunities, or any other thing you wish.

15:00 – 16:10 Getting to know each other & introduction to the SWITCH project
16:10 – 16:30 Break
16:30 – 17:30 Organisations Fair in Prague
17:30 – 19:00 Cocktail & Networking

What is the Organisations’ fair?

In an ‘organisation fair format’, you will have the chance to meet different NGOs and civil societies, learn about their work, and upcoming opportunities, or how could you get involved.

Organisations that confirmed their attendance:

🟡 YEE (the organiser)
🟡 The Green Project (S.W.I.T.C.H. alumni)
🟡 Tiimiakatemia
🟡 Ekokul z.s.
🟡 Volt Czechia
🟡 42 Prague
🟡 Genesis
🟡 Oikos International
🟡 Uniting Bridge SNGO
🟡 ESN Czechia

What is the SWITCH project?

SWITCH stands for Sustainability & Waste: Innovation, Training and Community Hub. During the training, participants developed a sustainable business project from scratch, together with the support of YEE and the rest of the participants, becoming part of a like-minded international community.

Practical information

  • When

    Saturday 11 February 2023, from 15.00

  • Where

    In the Green Innovation Academy, located in Vinohradská 2577/178, ground floor 130 00, Prague 3 – Vinohrady

  • How

    Register your interest


If you have any questions,

feel free to contact the project coordinator Lucía at lucia@yeenet.eu or via the form below.

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Call for Organisational training | Showcasing the Unheard

Call for Organisational training

We believe that the representation of diverse voices in the environmental youth movement is the key to good policymaking. (Under)representation of young people from rural communities, minorities and vulnerable groups affects the design, implementation and effectiveness of policies. Facing the climate emergency, we want to make sure that those who feel its consequences the most have space in decision-making and know that their voice matters. With this project, we want to engage with young people locally, while empowering and connecting youth internationally.

Online Training to Central and Eastern Europe (youth-led NGOs or youth groups in Central and Eastern Europe with priority towards Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania) with access to a facility/venue to work with marginalised youth on the local level; already working with marginalized communities with limited capacity/knowledge, or with a strategy/ strong vision for working with marginalized communities, able to assign at least one employee/volunteer to participate in the training course and lead the sub-granted project.

This training is for you if:

🟡 You are between the ages of 16 – 30

🟡 Your organisation is from Central or Eastern Europe
🟡  You want to extend your capacity in terms of working with marginalised communities
🟡  You believe in diversity and inclusion and you would like to do something to make your local community more inclusive and environmentally aware.

🟡  You are already working or plan to work with marginalised communities and are searching for support or guidance in your efforts.

At the training, you will:

🟣 Discuss the different types of disadvantaged communities present in our local regions that can be target groups for future projects and cooperation

🟣 Work together to understand how to better integrate disadvantaged communities in the decision making process of projects as well as how to shape projects and events around their needs

🟣 Develop your understanding of the importance of integration and environmental activism
🟣 Discuss possible project topics, structure, dead-lines, and future sub-granting availability.

After the training:

Participants of the training course will get an opportunity to apply for a sub-grant to develop the capacity of their organisation to work with young people with fewer opportunities.

Practical information

  • When

    1st February 2023 and 3rd February 2023

  • Where


  • How

    Register your interest before 28th January

This training course is part of the Showcasing the Unheard project.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us:


3 Billion Trees – Can the EU do it? ​

3 Billion Trees - Can the EU do it?

What is the 3 Billion Tree Pledge?

3 billion trees – a big number, a big promise. As part of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, the European Union committed to planting 3 billion additional trees by 2030. Without a doubt, trees are incredibly important to our natural environment – they provide crucial roles in various ecosystems, are home to many diverse species, absorb carbon, improve human health and well-being and serve essential roles in flood control and water filtration. This EU pledge plans to do just that. By increasing forest cover in the EU, “in full respect of ecological principles: the right tree species in forests, agricultural areas, urban and peri-urban areas and along infrastructure corridors”. Is this promise too good to be true?

The forest expansion rate in the EU has been slow in recent years, and a goal of 3 billion additional trees would double the total forest expansion rate in Europe between 2005 and 2020. It is currently estimated that in the EU, 300 million trees are grown annually. Currently, as of October 2022, the activity under the pledge has resulted in 6,787,146 new trees have been planted, carried out in all 27 countries with help from 28 organisations such as Land Life and ReforestAction. 

Afforestation – a solution for the biodiversity and climate crisis?

Afforestation and reforestation are not new policies, humans have been planting trees for centuries. There is a consensus that trees and forests are worthwhile and there is a policy to support it. The EU itself has seen the afforestation of approximately one million hectares of agricultural land between 1994-1999, and 700 hectares between 2000 and 2007. Many countries have afforestation policies in place. Canada’s Forest 2020 Plantation Development and Assessment Initiative, not dissimilar to this pledge, saw the plantation of 6000 hectares of forest and its success encouraged the government’s investment of $3.16 billion to plant 2 billion trees in ten years in 2020. Famously, the African Union put in place the Great Green Wall, an ambitious policy to help combat desertification, the AU has been planting a wall of trees to cover 100 million hectares of land and absorbs 250 million tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere. Other approaches have been taken – in 1981, China put in place a law which requires children over the age of 11 to plant a tree per year. 

What is the impact on biodiversity…? 

What does planting trees do? Firstly, forests are important loci for biodiversity, representing often dense ecosystems with diverse plants and animals. Forests are thought to be important habitats, “home to 80% of the world’s biodiversity on land”. Planting more trees in forested areas or reforesting struggling forest ecosystems can have many important impacts. Forests are important habitats and maintaining their integrity through reforestation can ensure that wildlife remains in the region and isn’t forced to relocate. Increased forest density and diversity have also been linked to an increase in species richness for fungi and soil invertebrates. Moreover, tree plantation in urban areas (included in the 3 Billion Trees Pledge) has been studied as a positive act that attracts and shelters wildlife species, particularly birds and insects, and provides shade.

Forests are also key for soil quality and resilience. A lack of trees has been seen to cause a sensibility to soil erosion. Trees’ overlapping and interconnected roots provide a structural role in the topsoil layer of land. This topsoil layer can erode (runoff) without trees in place, which in turn risks the land becoming infertile and inhospitable to the plantation. Moreover, afforestation has been found to improve watersheds, which are key for water supply. 

.. and for the climate?

The benefits don’t stop there – trees can help us in the fight against climate change. Carbon sequestration is a bit of a buzzword in the environmental sphere but it shouldn’t be dismissed. Restoring forests and increasing generally the number of plants on our earth has the potential to absorb and store large amounts of carbon – these are known as carbon sinks. Through photosynthesis, carbon dioxide is absorbed by trees, and they in turn release oxygen. The absorbed carbon is turned to sugar which is used in the wood, branches and roots, meaning that it remains in the standing tree. Even once the tree dies, it takes years for the carbon to break down, apart from when leaves decompose and when carbon is released more quickly. The age of the tree impacts its carbon sequestration aptitude, with middle-aged trees being the most effective and young trees the least effective due to size. Overall, uneven-aged forests are the best at carbon capture – meaning that planting trees in strategic places would allow for uneven-aged forests and increase the potential for carbon sequestration. 

For this reason, afforestation and reforestation are seen as one of the great ‘natural solutions’ for climate mitigation. Policymakers believe these forms of ecosystem services are probable to be of rising importance and relevance due to their impact both for mitigation and adaptation to climate change, and general benefits to our environment. This potential has been recognised internationally with the Paris Agreement emphasising the importance of carbon sinks in order to achieve a balance between emissions and removals. Carbon sinks are a key part of EU environmental policy with recent targets set to increase carbon sinks by 15% compared to today in the land use and forestry sector. 

Overall, the pledge could be very powerful in this regard: 3 billion trees covering 2 million ha could remove up to 4 million tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere already by 2030, and as much as 15 million tonnes by 2050, according to the European Commission. The decision to encourage tree planting, therefore, seems a logical one, both in terms of benefits for climate and biodiversity.

The right tree, in the right place, for the right reason

However, as with most environmental solutions, it is not as clear-cut as it seems. 

Simply planting trees isn’t a be-all and end-all solution to our dual crisis.

Virginijus Sinkevičius, the EU’s environment commissioner, commented: “That’s our promise. To plant three billion trees. The right trees, in the right place, for the right reason” – this second half is essential, we can’t simply plant any tree anywhere and assume it is beneficial. It must be done properly – is the 3 billion tree pledge ready for that? 

The pledge, in all its ambition, has limitations. With 8 years left, there are still 2.993 billion trees to be planted and yet, given the voluntary nature of the pledge, it is unclear how the number will be reached. The pledge came along with a roadmap which primarily relies on monitoring through the Forest Information System for Europe and the creation of a new app MapMyTree so citizens can upload and monitor their trees and progress. Anyone can plant a tree – but it is essential that native tree species to the area are planted, and that it is done with care and understanding of the surrounding ecosystem. 

Avoiding Monocultures 

The pledge is ambitious – asking for huge amounts of trees to be planted – but it cannot be stressed enough that monocultures cannot be a solution to short-cut to the end-goal of 3 billion trees.  Monocultures were conceptualised as a way to produce as much wood “in as little time as possible and, technically in the simplest manner” in the 18th and 19th centuries in Europe as a response to timber shortages. Their simplicity is at odds with the necessary complexity of biodiversity. In setting high targets for tree plantation, there is the potential that concerned actors would cut corners and plant large plantations of similar species – not a sustainable approach to forestry. As Friends of the Earth International, World Rainforest Movement and FERN, said monoculture tree plantations done in the guise of carbon sinks would “have to be large-scale and thus even more destructive — are exactly the opposite of “sustainable development”. Ecosystem uniformity means that there is a lack of genetic diversity as well as typically close planting, making monoculture plantations vulnerable to pests and diseases. 

Where’s the money? 

Another issue with the pledge is funding. The reality is that to achieve such an ambitious goal as 3 billion trees, there will be a need for monetary incentives. In the EU’s public consultation on the issue, a main key challenge in terms of planting additional trees was identified: “financial resources/loss of farmland value after conversion to forest land”, an issue raised by 62.88% of respondents. It seems that this pledge is relying on the use of pre-existing EU and national funds and monetary mechanisms such as Finland’s Metso Programme which pays private forest owners to keep some of their lands for biodiversity purposes. In the EU, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) helps provide financial support for forests and forest management through national Rural Development Programmes, though the use of these funds has not been achieved to their fullest extent, perhaps due to a lack of awareness of how to apply or implement forest-based adaptation activities. From 2014 to 2020, 27% of these CAP forestry measures went to afforestation.

Unfortunately, we cannot simply hope that 3 billion trees will be planted by pure goodwill and altruism – as Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, Costa Rica’s minister for the environment and energy, acknowledged in relation to Costa Rica’s afforestation approach: “we have learned that the pocket is the quickest way to the heart ”. Instead, this policy must be paired with robust financial support, aid and access.

Is there a risk of greenwashing in all of this? 

Tree planting has become perceived as an easy solution to climate change due to its carbon sequestration potential – it has become the token action in order to offset carbon emissions through offset schemes, a form of commercialised climate mitigation which has been often awarded the label of greenwashing. Oil and gas companies have invested in tree-planting to offset emissions, such as Total announcing a $100 million investment in 2019. Tree-planting has been picked up by politicians across the political spectrum due to its feasibility, with even right-wing U.S. former president Donald Trump supporting the proposition of a ‘Trillion Trees Act’. This republican move was recognised as a way to satisfy voter demand for climate action without having to curtail emissions and the interests of the fossil fuel lobby. This encapsulates the key issue at hand: planting trees and carbon sequestration shouldn’t be a replacement for mitigation measures and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Indeed, Greenpeace described this EU initiative as simply “feel good”, that overall “lack(s) real action to restore forests and expand clean energy”, representative of “not only (…) a dangerous distraction from the climate crisis, but represents logging industry greenwashing.” Principally, Sini Eräjää, Greenpeace EU forest campaigner, summarised it as: “the potential climate and biodiversity benefits to planting trees are limited, but the risks of greenwashing are endless“. Overall, it is clear, the 3 billion trees pledge should be understood as one policy tool amongst many to promote tree planting and help Europe’s climate and biodiversity issues. Indeed, it is simply one of the measures of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030.

To plant or not to plant?

2022 has ended, leaving 7 years for the implementation of the 3 billion trees goal and yet the structure in place to support it and allow for its long-term success seems to be lacking. Overall, as was mentioned in reaction to the press release for the 3 Billion Trees Pledge, “in terms of numbers alone, the pledge has raised eyebrows”. 3 billion trees is a very ambitious goal, and we are currently only a tiny fraction of the way there. Hopefully the remaining 2.993 billion trees to be planted will indeed be done with the right trees in the right place with the right support.

Introducing Vladislava | Showcasing the Unheard

Introducing Vladislava
Showcasing the Unheard

I think that we will definitely cope with climate change, simply because we have no other choice.

Meet Vlada, an 18 years old activist from St. Petersburg, Russia. Vlada coordinates Fridays for Future Russia and is especially interested in the melting of permafrost in Russia, the fate of indigenous peoples, ecofeminism, food security, and a just transition. She studies ecology at a Russian state university and dreams of doing a master’s degree in climate change in Europe, as this subject is not available anywhere in Russia.

Vlada started to learn about the problem of climate change at the age of 16 and soon after started her digital climate action campaigns. Inspired by Greta Thunberg, she understood the importance of this topic. As an activist in Russia, however, there are serious security concerns, which is why she was reluctant to start big activism at first. But then Vlada got to know Arshak Makichyan and other climate activists in Russia, whose examples inspired her to not be afraid and fight for our planet and future. The example of Arshak’s action, who organised a school strike for the climate every Friday for more than 40 weeks, as well as that of other activists shows how great a role young climate activists play in Russia. Unfortunately, they have to reckon with the consequences of their actions, which can even lead to them being sent to prison, as happened to Arshak, who ended up there for a few days.

Another main problem Vlada is faced with in her activism is the negative propaganda against FFF from Russia.

“People believe in propaganda that often insults us or writes pseudo-scientific articles, and many people are skeptical of us.”

The amount of hate, these obstacles and difficulties led to a lot of people leaving the Fridays For Future movement – they are burnt out and lack the energy to continue fighting. And the pandemic has not helped: since 2020, campaigning has become even more difficult. Unapproved protests of more than one person are generally forbidden, as are most forms of protest before the age of 18.
Vlada told us: “Even a single picket is illegal. We live in the absence of freedom of speech, and some activists of our movement have already been repressed. Therefore, each of our actions must be carefully considered and all consequences calculated, which is why our work is now almost paralyzed.”

A key aspect of Vlada’s activism is related to information sharing, as she believes that the things she reads and learns should also be shared with others. Especially in Russia, where people do not know much about climate change because there is barely any education about it in schools, this is crucial. At FFF, she reports that a multitude of topics has been discussed in the past, but she wants to shift focus to local topics in Russia now.

The topics she thinks are especially relevant are the consequences of Russian colonialism, how fossil fuel companies are destroying indigenous lands, and how the very existence of these peoples is threatened due to climate change. She hopes that by focusing on topics close to their hearts, more Russians will get involved and overcome their fears of acting.

“(…) in my opinion, it makes sense to talk more about the problems and consequences of the climate crisis specifically for Russia – but this doesn’t mean that we will engage in isolationism and ignore world problems. It’s just that what is happening in Russia is more closely perceived by our citizens, and we need to use this fact.”

To achieve a better world, Vlada sees negotiation as a key step to be taken. 

“It's terrible that adults still resolve their conflicts with
weapons and murder. It shouldn't be like this, we need solidarity and
the ability to unite.”

Furthermore, she states the importance of not buying fossil fuels from autocracies and dictatorships. She says the price to pay for “cheap” fossil fuels has now become apparent and that renewable energy sources can be seen as a guarantee of peace and justice.

The ongoing war on Ukraine is a very important topic for Vlada and with its onset, she has shifted the focus of her activism to anti-war but was not able to tell us more about it due to security concerns.

Vlada told us how drastically the war has changed her perspective:
“In the past, I used to see it as my goal to do everything to accelerate Russia’s compliance with the terms of the Paris Agreement and climate adaptation. But now, after the start of the war, I don’t know what my future and the future of Russia will be like. I want the war to end as soon as possible. I want all those responsible to be punished. I want to live in peace and tranquility, not in fear of repression and default.”

Despite everything that is happening, Vlada continues to be optimistic. She says:
“I think that we will definitely cope with climate change, simply because we have no other choice. It will be a very difficult path, but in the end, goodness and freedom will win. There are a lot of brave, strong and honest people in the world who are ready to fight for our common future. And while they exist, I believe in victory over all problems. (..) You may experience pain and anxiety about everything that happens in the world, especially if your country is at war or repressions. But I know that while we fight, goodness will live at least in our hearts, and in the end we will be able to spread it to the whole world. Some situations may seem hopeless, but we are alive, and freedom is alive with us. I hug everyone who is feeling bad now, who has lost motivation to fight for our future. Goodness will win, and goodness is you.”

Other interviews

COP27 Reflections – Eva

There are many things that are wrong with COPs

The most privileged people in the world gather to discuss, not change the status quo in a very artificial setting. I was approached by one of the organisers to answer the question “How will COP help with solving climate change?” And the truth is, I really cannot see how. What is the purpose of the Green Zone other than take a selfie #blessed? This massive event has nothing to do with change, nor climate.
This is what I wrote down on my first day of COP27 after visiting the Green Zone.

After spending the week at the conference, hearing some great speeches, seeing some great work from experts, and observing many protests, I might hesitantly agree that it is actually our best shot at doing anything about the climate crisis on the global scale. By saying this, I am however not trying to excuse the greenwashing, the inaction, the obvious business interests, the propaganda of the organisers. I merely want to acknowledge that the scale on which we need to agree to act is massive, not to mention that everybody comes with the “what can we get from this” mindset which makes the agreement that more difficult.

There are many things that are wrong with COPs and which should be improved. However,  we, the civil society, should not give up and hand this conference to private companies and lobbyists trying to influence politicians for their own gains, even though it brings so much frustration.

To conclude, on one hand, my perspective slightly changed after a full week in Sharm El-Sheikh, however I still stand by the first sentence that I wrote down – The most privileged people in the world gather to discuss, not change the status quo in a very artificial setting. With that in mind, we will keep showing up and keep pushing for change, even if it is measured in steps not miles.

COP27 Reflections - Together for implementation?

The motto for this COP was “Together for Implementation” – but have we been able to pass it to action? And are the parties truly “together” in the face of the climate crisis?

Read Here

COP27 Reflections – Agnes

Observing with your eyes being covered

First time in Egypt, first time at COP, first time being the head of the delegation during week 2 at COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. I have to admit that before going to COP, you have no idea what to expect. And no matter how prepared you arrive, you need to adapt immediately, improvise and work on the spot under pressure. And that’s because being at COP as an observer, it feels like you are observing a living thing at its evolution but with your eyes being covered. You don’t know what this evolution looks like behind closed doors, but at the same time you need to react as soon as you get a hint of the direction of the negotiations.

Our delegation during week 2 worked a lot on networking with International & European Organisations, youth groups, climate activists and other NGOs. The group managed to organise and facilitate a networking session in the Children & Youth Pavilion with the participation of one of the negotiators for achieving meaningful youth engagement in the climate negotiations and bridging the intergenerational gap. A very interesting day was the day we all wore our YEE designed T-shirts with the logo “Talk to me about Climate Justice”. Apparently, this led a lot of people towards our path to hold discussions about climate justice. This interaction during this week with so many people could really give you the impression that people want to hear the voice of youth. But how close to the truth is this?

Our role as young activists at COP27 was limited and restricted. Young people were a very small percentage of the people participating at COP, and due to limited resources they were not living under good conditions which are a requirement to be able to manage the stress and the intensity of being 12 hours at the venue every day  for 1 or 2 weeks.  Despite these conditions and how left out we were feeling, we were there, the same faces trying to make our voices heard and gain a seat at the table. Even though the Youth & Children Pavilion was one small step of the youth involvement, it was most of the time still a place for youth to youth and not a place to bring together negotiators and young people. It was isolated and did not serve the immediate response needed of the role of youth in the climate crisis. Frustration, exhaustion, disappointment were some of the feelings I felt were common among the young people.

Despite these negative emotions, our hope and urge to become part of climate negotiations could not be tamed. After reading the final decision of COP27, I felt the spark of a small victory by the explicit mention of the role of youth in addressing climate change and the encouragement towards including youth representatives in the climate negotiations. Though, the wording used does not guarantee any strong implementation, therefore, I keep my excitement for that very suppressed, until I witness it in practice.

I am going to conclude my reflections with a feeling that I think I’ll never forget. Witnessing my future determined by people who leave the future generation aside and silently quit the 1.5 target that was set in the Paris Agreement, made me feel like I am sitting tied in a chair seeing my house getting burned. But as long as I’ll have a voice, I’ll be shouting: we are not yet defeated.

COP27 Reflections - Together for implementation?

The motto for this COP was “Together for Implementation” – but have we been able to pass it to action? And are the parties truly “together” in the face of the climate crisis?

Read Here

COP27 Reflections – Aleksandra

Two opposing forces at COP

I did not have much climate conference experience, but I was privileged enough to get into the main one, COP27, or, as my friend said, ‘the Oscars of climate negotiations’. I expected a lot from COP – read dozens of articles and listened to tons of podcasts about the outlook and challenges for the COP negotiations. 2022 was a year of climate extremes – from heat waves in Europe to droughts in China and divesting floods in Pakistan. The need for climate action has become increasingly obvious, so I was full of expectations. However, the reality has turned out to be different and bitter.
The first thing I learned at COP is that following the negotiations “from the outside” is somewhat easier than being here on the ground, no matter how paradoxical it may sound. Huge distances, hundreds of pavilions, and no breaks between sessions – I needed Hermione’s Time Turner to be in two places at the same time. It was also difficult to follow the progress of negotiations in such an environment when the doors were closed to observers.
The headline of COP27, ‘Together for Implementation’, highlighted the need for joint efforts of governments, the private sector, and civil society in the global response to the climate crisis. But I got the impression that there were two opposing forces at COP who speak different languages and live in two different bubbles – those who were interested in nothing else but profits and colonising our future and those who truly care about the planet.
Fossil fuels and nuclear lobbyists who came to use the energy crisis as an opportunity to make more money, big companies who came to greenwash their brands, governments that blocked decisions on loss and damage, and side events where speakers gave presentations with serious faces, although half of the audience could not hear their speeches and the other half came to charge their phones or just escape from the heat. At such moments, participation in the COP seems pointless.

However, even in this desert of frustration, there are still islands of hope. I joined a loss and damage climate strike and had an opportunity to speak or even yell from the heart and I met many young climate activists who are so passionate and wholehearted, so I dare to hope that our future is in safe hands.

COP27 Reflections - Together for implementation?

The motto for this COP was “Together for Implementation” – but have we been able to pass it to action? And are the parties truly “together” in the face of the climate crisis?

Read Here

COP27 Reflections – Sophia

Following the negotiations was simply frustrating

Before going to COP and hearing from people that had already been there and warned me that it was going to be intense, frustrating and just a lot, I thought to myself „Can’t imagine it’s going to be that crazy!“ –  I was wrong. Now that a few days have passed since coming back my brain still feels messy trying to sort out the experiences and impressions of the last week. To keep it short, COP for me was a lot of things. Following the negotiations, and that has been said by a lot of people many times, was simply frustrating. Hearing them seriously discuss whether the 1.5° target should be kept alive while listening to the personal stories of people already very affected by the impacts of climate change was simply unbelievable.

At the same time COP, or more the people outside of the negotiating rooms was inspiring as seeing the effort of small initiatives, individuals and other actors made me feel like being part of a bigger effort. On a personal level, seeing all of the inaction once again stirred up the question of „What can I do in my daily life, personal choices and actions to not feel as helpless or sometimes like a hypocrite when not being 100% strict all the time?“. But somehow even writing this makes me a bit angry knowing that it shouldn’t only be on us to feel the responsibility of trying to fight this. What made the whole week easier was being part of an amazing group of people that I knew were sharing the same or similar attitudes towards a lot of topics and were also struggling with similar things.

I feel like it will take me a while to fully figure out what this experience has taught me but I am sure that I am grateful for having been given the chance to be part of this group and this experience!


COP27 Reflections - Together for implementation?

The motto for this COP was “Together for Implementation” – but have we been able to pass it to action? And are the parties truly “together” in the face of the climate crisis?

Read Here

COP27 Reflections – Pegah

Broken-hearted, helpless and once again sidelined

It was a pleasure to lead the YEE delegation for one more COP with incredible 11 young people across Europe, who had dedicated over 6 months to researching and preparing for COP27. Despite the chaos of COP, the team delivered a UNFCCC-approved side event; hosted an UNFCCC-approved protest and were co-authors of the European Youth Organisations position paper.

Despite our achievements, COP27 was not a welcoming event for activists, young people and not-for-profit organisations. The format of UNFCCC normally tends to limit the access of anyone with an observer badge, but with Egypt as its host, “differing” opinions were silenced, protests were largely controlled and narratives had to be approved beforehand. Young people in the past were mere “decoration” but during this COP, young people were not even “seen” and instead, fossil fuel and nuclear energy lobbyists were taking centre stage, especially by having access to “party” badges from UNFCCC member states.

As young people, we once again have left another COP broken-hearted, helpless and once again sidelined. Every day, our team was concerned about what to say and what not to say, so they do not put themselves or their team in danger and sometimes, individuals wearing “host country” badges would listen to our conversations or take pictures of us. Our hope is that from this experience, UNFCCC has learned the threshold of tolerance towards host country’s control in organising COPs and does something concrete in protecting free speech, or else, it is only young people and activists who will pay a very dear cost for any inaction

COP27 Reflections - Together for implementation?

The motto for this COP was “Together for Implementation” – but have we been able to pass it to action? And are the parties truly “together” in the face of the climate crisis?

Read Here