Northeastern University has continued to be at the front line of global leadership by providing students with international experiential learning experience. Over the past five years students have been supporting this theme by traveling to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Since the University received observer status in 2007, students have been able to take advantage of representing the University at the annual Conference of the Parties. This year, the COP was attended by three students including the Marine and Environmental Sciences Department’s Michael Green. This annual conference is a gathering point for global leaders to draft policy to combat the challenges of climate change. This year, COP 18 was hosted by Doha, Qatar. The goal of this year’s negotiations was to resolve remaining hurtles surrounding allocation and contribution to the newly established United Nations Green Climate Fund as well as prepare for what will come after the expiring Kyoto Protocol. This scheme aims to direct funding and technology between developed and developing nations to provide much needed support for climate change adaptation. Northeastern students are an intricate part of such negotiations.
Northeastern falls under the research institutes (RINGO) constituency in the UNFCCC. Every attending body falls into one of nine acronyms that separates them into research institutes, state government representatives, environmental NGO, youth delegation, and press among others. Michael used the RINGO as well as YOUNGO (youth) platforms to become more engaged as a participant. By helping to draft internal policy, press releases, and even being given support to speak on behalf of these constituencies, Michael was able to create political capitol within their respected bodies for the University. “If I wanted to make a difference in the negotiations I would have to use these bodies as vehicles to do such,” Michael said.
Through YOUNGO, Michael and fellow youth arranged several high level meetings with the UNFCC Executive Secretariat as well as negotiators from the US State Department Envoy for Climate Change. YOUNGO was also behind many of the actions happening in the halls during the two week conference. There were flash-mobs, banners put up as well as many different public addresses throughout the conference. Since future generations and youth are very underrepresented at these conferences, this was one of the main talking points raised by YOUNGO. As a member of RINGO, Michael developed a strong relationship with many of the seasoned veterans of the conference. Some of which this was there +10 COP. Northeastern students offered a fresh view as well as the opinion of a young future researcher.
This was also the first conference where Northeastern University co-sponsored a side event. We teamed up with our peers in YOUNGO as well as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to organize a workshop on youth engagement in their process. At the event, the IPCC and students discussed how youth were able to get engaged in the review process as well as the intricate role our universities can play in the dissemination of the report. Born from this event was a youth delegation that will focus on future involvement with the IPCC and how we can work together on many of their mutual goals.
To get engaged more in this project feel free to reach out to Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org.