IYCN at CoP
A First Timer’s Perspective on CoP22
It’s a pretty existential question to ask sitting in this pavilion today, after having come all the way from India to Marrakech in Morocco (emitting much CO2) to attend this year’s Conference of the Parties (COP) as civil society observers- What is my role here!? I am a first timer! It’s a nice city, well- organized conference and yes, even has all country flags at the entrance- giving me a feel of its opulence.
A real challenge is knowing roughly what’s going on in the big game at the COP negotiations proper. There are about four games going on here. First, the formal U.N.-style negotiations in vast rooms with thousands of credentialed delegates. The rooms are filled with long tables of delegations arranged alphabetically and monitoring the translations of the proceedings in any of the five officially designated U.N. languages.
These meetings generally follow a formal, decorous U.N.speak-laden diplomatic process, where the leader of a delegation, flag raised, waits for a turn to speak briefly, if not on the agenda. The meeting areas, press rooms, food courts and hallways surrounding the major meeting rooms are swarming with thousands of delegates not in the rooms and needing to chat or hash out an issue in private. Meanwhile, NGO experts and advocates (observers- us!) wait to hear what went on in the key rooms and to lobby delegates and environmental advocates while media hover about, trying to figure out the story line of a complex, organic process. Second, there are the formal COP-area “side events,” where a country or group of experts or institutes have applied and been accepted by the UNFCCC to present their views in smaller venues. Third are the less formal side events outside of the main COP venue which proliferate wherever someone has cleverly found a location with drinks and enough room to attract a crowd. These include dinners, press events releasing a new report’s findings, or celebrating how well — or poorly — the last year went from a given viewpoint.
I am representing the youth constituency of India- individually, we have no real influence. We have no official voice. We are not decision-makers at the UN level or executives in large companies. We cannot make agreements happen a certain way. We cannot even make Ministers or Heads of States make agreements happen a certain way. But we do have a vision.
No matter what happens, in Paris, or Marrakech, or at COP23 or any future COP, our world will be fundamentally altered by the reality that is climate change. Whether we continue with our ways as we always did and have to deal with levels of adaptation to climate change never before achieved by human civilisation, or whether we successfully transition to a low carbon world, there will be no business as usual option. We will be faced with a fundamental change of human society either way. This situation is very difficult to grasp. Even more difficult to grasp is that as ‘millennials’ these changes will happen in our lifetimes. Contrary to the narratives of some governments and businesses today, climate change is already happening and can be seen everywhere in the world. There is no such thing as business as usual in our world today. We must wholeheartedly embrace the fundamental change and move forward. There is no part of our society that is more personally, socially, economically, and ethically invested in climate change than today’s young people – in every walk of life.
Our generation wants a low carbon world. We will be the ones living in it, we will be paying for it through our future taxes or consumer choices, we will be responsible for normalising use of it in our behaviours, we will have to fix it and upgrade it. We are, in this sense, not just an important stakeholder: we are THE most important stakeholder in the climate change negotiations. There is no-one better able to move beyond today’s short-termism than young people. However, current perceptions of young people engaging in this arena start and finish with an image of an activist or campaigner. We do not attend COP to campaign or demonstrate. In fact, it is precisely the opposite. We attend COP to show that there are young people that are ready, willing and able to participate constructively in the decision-making process, understanding and accepting its limitations while at the same time actively working towards solutions.
We are in Marrakech to continue what we started in 2008 and earlier to carve out our legitimacy in this world of international climate change discussions, multilateral negotiations and global governance arena. The COP22 in Marrakech represents a vital opportunity to refine the global vision, and play our part in ensuring we take the next crucial steps towards making it a reality.
Indian Youth Climate Network
Annoucing joint delegation of Indian Youth Climate Network & Alliance of Indian Waste pickers for COP21, Paris change negotiations
The Indian Youth Climate Network (IYCN) is a network uniting Indian youth and youth oriented organisations who are concerned about climate change & environment issues. IYCN works to generate awareness about and establish consensus on what role India should play in the global debate of climate change, and how it should address its domestic issues. . IYCN has active members in 18 states of the country and has partner networks/ organisations in other states of India.
Alliance of Indian wastepickers (AIW) is a national coalition of organizations working with wastepickers and other informal waste workers. The alliance was created to have coordinated efforts to ensure recognition of waste pickers as ‘Green Economy Pioneers/Green Entrepreneurs’ and their inclusion in various national and international frameworks. Twenty six membership based organizations are a part of it.
Members of the Joint Delegation
Ankan De: Ankan De is an Environmental Engineer and hydrologist presently working with the Government of Meghalaya (India) in the Water and Climate Change Sector. He is looking after the Centre for Water Resources under the State’s flagship Integrated Development program. He is also the co-ordinator for the Indian Youth Climate Network in the North-East region of India. His work is interdisciplinary and covers various inter-disciplinary topics such as Hydrology, Hydrogeology, Climate Change, Computer Programming, Modelling, Fluvial Geomorphology, Geographic Information Systems, Waste Management, Data Management and Knowledge Management. In the past, he has worked with GIZ in their Climate Change Adaption- North East Region (India) programme, the Meghalaya Basin Development Authority and World Bank’s Integrated Coastal Zone Management programme with the State Government of West Bengal, covering the Sunderbans area (West Bengal, India). He is from Calcutta, where he attended La Martinere for Boys. He has a Bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering from Clemson University, USA and a Masters degree in Environmental Engineering from Johns Hopkins University, USA. He is a SustainUS alum, was Youth Delegate at CSD-19 (New York) and had also participated in some of the Open Working Groups (post Rio+20). He is an avid photographer and a poet.
Ashabai Doke: Ashabai Doke is a waste manager and green entrepreneur from Aurangabad, India. She is affiliated to Civic Response Team (CRT^) – an organization based in the same city. As a member of CRT^, Asha manages two recyclable waste shops, and handles over 8 tonnes of material per month. Her efforts contribute to better earnings of over 30 sanitation workers, and more stable livelihoods for three other waste-picker women who are now freed of their bonded labour contracts. She is also the member of Kagad Kach Patra Kashtkari Sanghthana (KKPKS), a trade union, and spokesperson for other persons like her, who made a living from collecting waste materials from dumps.
And so, as she travels far and wide, within the country spreading hope to others who dream of earning an honest living; and abroad, where she will now speak at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change -UNFCCC CoP 21 in Paris, to authorities, colleagues, well-wishers and fellow human beings from far and wide on the struggle of one woman to overcome poverty, and to work together for sustainable & equitable Solid Waste Management solutions and a better, cleaner, more just world for all. CRT^ and KKPKS are both coalition member of Alliance of Indian Wastepickers.
Kabir Arora: Kabir is a passionate geographer. Having lived in eight different cities of India, he is trying to make sense of prevailing urbanity. To earn his livelihood, Kabir coordinates Alliance of Indian Wastepickers– an informal network of organizations, cooperatives, and companies working on waste management with the help of wastepickers and is currently based in Bangalore. Kabir graduated with B.A. (Hons.) in Geography from Jamia Millia Islamia (National Muslim University), New Delhi. Post his graduation; he had a brief stint in primary education as a part of Gandhi Fellow profile. He worked in both rural – Jhunjhunu/ Churu and Udaipur and urban – Mumbai government schools as a primary teacher and assistant to Headmasters. During the fellowship, he also enrolled himself for an online course- Post Graduate Diploma in Urban Environment Management & Environment Law, offered by WWF-India & National Law University, Delhi. Continuing his interest in studying cities he was a learner in Indian Institute for Human Settlements, Bangalore as a part of their course Programme for Working Professionals in Urban Development (PWP-UD). In addition to his interest in informal economy, Kabir follows the discourse on sustainability quite thoroughly and is a Board Member of Indian Youth Climate Network (IYCN) – torchbearer of nascent climate movement in South Asia. He participated in Conference of Parties (COP) – 11 (Hyderabad), 12 (Pyeong Chang) of ‘Convention on Biological Diversity’, and COP 20 (Lima) of ‘United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change-UNFCCC’. He writes regularly on the issues of waste management and climate change on www.wastenarratives.com and www.whatswiththeclimate.wordpress.com respectively.
Mansoor: Mansoor operates the Dry Waste Collection Centre (recyclables and inorganic waste aggregation and sorting unit) in ward 168 of Jayanagar in Bangalore. He with his team sorts more than a ton of collected waste every day and send it for recycling, thus saving carbon which would have been otherwise be emitted by waste mismanagement, and production from virgin material. Mansoor does not stop at sorting of waste. ‘He also aims to make a scrap dealers’ cooperative which will play a role in creating a fair price marketplace, provide access to transparent data and geo-tag scrap dealers as the first point of sale for household waste.’ He wants the countries to pursue the agenda of recycling in their climate action commitments, as opposed to incineration of waste –‘waste to energy’(threat to his and many other green entrepreneurs’ livelihood) which is currently being proposed as climate solution by many national governments. He is associated with Hasiru Dala, a Bangalore- India, based wastepickers and informal waste workers membership organization. Hasiru Dala is a coalition member of Alliance of Indian Wastepickers.
 Courtesy: The Better India Website
N.S. Prasad: Prasad is board member, regional coordinator and program manager for IYCN projects at Hyderabad chapter (2009-Till date). To earn his livelihood Prasad engages in landscape (softscape) designing. He studied Horticulture sciences from Acharya N. G. Ranga Agriculture University. He was selected for IVLP (International Visitors Program) one of the most prestigious programmes offered by Government of The United States of America on Climate Change and Clean Energy. He was also involved and played an important role in developing compressive carbon foot print calculator as per Indian standards with CERENA Foundation, another non profit organization in Hyderabad.
Supriya Singh: Supriya is a professional working in the field of human-environment interaction in the non-profit sector in India. Over the last 13 years she has worked extensively on resource management and conflicts (mainly land and water); national and local policy initiatives affecting resource use and governance; community resource management and agricultural systems. Increasingly her work is to integrate these issues with the climate change debate and scenario in India. Currently her work focus is towards finding solutions to questions like “How can we harness the potential of villages/institutions/cities as complex adaptive systems for common good under a climate change scenario? And what institutions might help catalyze meaningful change towards resilient community structures?” She is the Board Member of Indian Youth Climate Network and holds the position of President. Currently she is pursuing her PhD in ‘Political Ecology’ with focus on political ecology of water in the NCR.
Throughout November and December the IYCN and associates will be holding your hand and leading you calmly through the maze of negotiations and complicated concepts that is the COP 21. How can these negotiations that will determine our futures be so poorly presented and understood?? Well fear not! We are here to jargon bust, simplify, elucidate and generally tell you all you need to know about climate change, the COP21 and why it’s important for you.
This blog is for everyone who hears about the COP 21 negotiations in the news and wonders: What’s all the fuss about? …how does it work?… why does it matter.. And how can I get involved? You can find the blog -posts on What’s with the Climate.
Over the next two months we will explain everything from the overall concept of climate change and the UNFCCC to the specific issues in India and the role the youth of India have to play.
So sit back, relax and enjoy the disentangling of acronyms, the witty titles, and the insightful commentary to come. You can also share your opinions on climate change negotiations, reflections on climate discourse by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. Relevant ones will be published on What’s with the climate.