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UN Climate Change Conference of Youth: giving voices to the youth of the world

“Whilst so many people have already run out of time, the duty remains on us to push on and create effective solutions. There is still time to solve the complex and challenging realities of climate change”

The UN Climate Change Conference of Youth (COY) will take place in Glasgow from the 28-31 October. The event is regarded as the largest and longest running youth event to date, gathering thousands of young changemakers from more than 140 countries. It is also hailed as the most significant youth gathering for its capacity to directly forward the official youth position in the UN Climate Negotiations.

The conference, which is in its 16th year, takes place right before the 26th UN Climate Change Conference, also known as Conference of the Parties (COP26) and serves as a space for capacity building and policy training, in order to prepare young people for their participation at COP26.

Natalie Rees, who recently joined the James Hutton Institute’s Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences department (SEGS) as a graduate research assistant, has been a key member of the logistics team pulling together the conference, along with young volunteers from around the world.

Natalie said: “In the run-up to COP26, the calendar is full of youth climate events and summits. The UN Conference of Youth stands out among them. COY was established in 2005 and has moved from strength to strength ever since, gathering delegates from every country to prepare young people for climate negotiations.

“The primary aim for COY16 is to generate a global youth statement (or a youth policy document), which will be submitted to the UN Climate Change Conference for their consideration during COP26. The statement comes from the global input of all the delegates and affiliated organisations, as a result I hope that our input would instigate a meaningful response to young peoples’ ambitions.

“Whilst so many people have already run out of time, the duty remains on us to push on and create effective solutions. There is still time to solve the complex and challenging realities of climate change.”

COY16 will be a blended conference, with in-person events and online streaming being available, Natalie was closely involved in securing the main event venue, the University of Strathclyde, as well as setting up a formal partnership with Equanet to allow COY to be streamed online.

Natalie said: “We are blending the conference for those joining us remotely, which we anticipate will make sessions more widely accessed and representative.

“This scale of participation is important for ensuring that all voices are heard, understood, and responded to. As we are the ones next to inherit this planet, our presence on the COP26 calendar is paramount to telling subversive stories of climate injustice, discussing solutions, and networking. Ultimately, this places greater pressure on world leaders to respond to the demands of COY16’s global youth statement.”

Aside from the youth statement, the conference will host cultural events, plenary sessions, and workshops. Natalie added: “Education is key for empowering delegates to actively participate in climate change affairs on every scale, and despite the in-person event being scaled back, I wish for our delegates to gain a great insight and inspiration to facilitate their work well beyond COY16, be it with the skills they learn or the people they meet.

“Truly, COY is a huge team effort and I cannot thank enough everyone who’s been involved up to this point. Without our growing team of ambitious young people stepping up to the enormous occasion that is COP26, we would not be ready to receive all the COY16 delegates in Glasgow next week.”

More information on how to stream the conference can be found here.

Press and media enquiries: 

Adam Walker, Communications Officer, James Hutton Institute, Email:; +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard). 

Printed from /news/un-climate-change-conference-youth-giving-voices-youth-world on 14/04/24 12:05:10 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.