The COP27 Children and Youth Pavilion: How Youths United to Inspire the World

Thamer Hadded

Civil society activist and Project Manager at We Love Sousse

The 27th United Nations Conference on Climate Change, known as COP27 and held in Novem- ber 2022 in Egypt, witnessed an unusual event: children and young people had a leading role thanks to the space given to them, a pavilion organised and led by them, where, over 10 days, a series of events took place around the issues of their concern: water, energy, adaptation, health and indigenous communities, among others. It was a unique and inspiring moment in which children and young people enjoyed their own platform where they could speak out and interact with each other and with the political leaders present at COP27. The pavilion achieved a series of milestones ranging from the union between young people and the strengthening of links with their peers and adults to the creation of a space to develop their capacities, reflect, and exchange and defend their points of view in an inspiring environment.

Conferences of Parties or COPs are the highest-level events where government representatives, civil society, and other stakeholders gather to negotiate global agreements and policies that can mandate different actors to play a more active role to protect the environment. Young people and children usually manage to attend these conferences through NGO accreditation, and a few of them through government accreditation. Youths and children, although a minority in those spaces, act as a reminder to the world that there is a future generation waiting to inherit the world from us.

Young people have the power to unite and inspire the world. This was the message that hundreds of youths showcased at the first ever COP27 children and youth pavilion. Youths entirely led the planning, hosting and facilitation of a whole pavilion dedicated to children and youths during COP. It was marked as the most vibrant, colourful and busiest pavilion at COP. Youths and children take part in COPs and global climate events every year, but last year was special. They had a place to come together, feel safe and speak out.

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