Young people around the world are actively engaged in the effort to address climate change, leading and participating in a multitude of initiatives at the local, sub-national, national, and international levels. Their strong commitment to working on this issue has also motivated them to participate at international climate negotiations since the first sessions of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UN Climate Change). Non-Party Stakeholders are represented within UN Climate Change processes by nine constituencies: youth, women and gender, indigenous, business, and others.

Youth participation in the UN Climate Change process has steadily grown. In 2009, it had reached the level at which an official constituency was formed for youth NGOs. UN Climate Change recognized youth as an official constituency called “YOUNGO” (Youth + NGO). After two years operating under a provisional status, “YOUNGO” became fully recognized at COP17 in Durban, South Africa. YOUNGO has since served as both the official conduit for youth participation in the UN climate talks and as a global network of youth and youth-focused organizations that work on climate change and engage with UN Climate Change.

It is an volunteer run flat-consensus-based structure, comprising a membership of 200+ youth-led, youth-focused NGOs, working in the field of climate change and environment sustainability. Therefore, it is an umbrella network (often referenced as the “International Youth Climate Movement”) with independent decision making processes and Secretariat (called the YOUNGO Bottom-Lining Team (BLT)). YOUNGO has over 15 policy working groups focused on elements of the climate change negotiations, and further cross-cutting platforms. 

YOUNGO engages also with further UN agencies such as: UNDP, OHCHR, WHO, UNEP-CTCN, FAO providing guidance and policy inputs from youth side on climate change related topics, and also serves as hub for activities related to SDG 13 and SDG 7 under the umbrella of UN Major Group for Children and Youth.

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