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Technology at COP26 - Where Youth Made History by Cathy Yitong Li

Technology at COP26 - Where Youth Made History by Cathy Yitong Li, YOUNGO Contact Point of Technology

The Celebration Picture After Securing Our Seats

In the picture: Gareth Gorst (UK Technology Negotiator), Federica Fricano (Italian Head of Delegation), Mareer Husny (TEC Vice-Chair), Sara Nyberg (YOUNGO Member) and Cathy Yitong Li (YOUNGO and WGC Member)

I was only able to believe that the COP decision to give YOUNGO (UNFCCC Youth Constituency) a seat at the CTCN Advisory Board was agreed upon by countries when negotiator colleagues started applauding. This memory from the chilly Glasgow morning of November 11th in COP26’s technology negotiation room will certainly be enduring for many of us, especially as this marks the first-ever membership for youth in a UNFCCC constituted body.

Before we go into more details, some background information may help. The UNFCCC (UN Climate Change) Technology Mechanism is composed of the Technology Executive Committee (TEC) and Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN). Our role as YOUNGO is to represent youth voices in all UNFCCC processes, including meetings of both the TEC and CTCN Advisory Board as well as serving as task force members of the TEC, where we contribute to their work on innovation, implementation, capacity-bulding, stakeholder engagement, finance, and the upcoming first Global Stocktake of the Paris Agreement.

Obtaining our CTCN Advisory Board seat required a COP decision by consensus of all countries. With the firm support of the EU, Chile, US, Norway and more, we are very pleased to have secured the seats together with our sister constituencies - WGC (Women and Gender Constituency) and IPO (Indigenous Peoples Organisations).

We would also like to express our gratitude to the secretariat for their tremendous support of our collaborations, including our two youth consultants at the CTCN focusing on youth and gender, CTCN’s Regional Youth Innovation Labs, as well as events we co-organised with both the TEC and CTCN at COP26 and COY16 (16th UN Climate Change Conference of Youth hosted by YOUNGO).

Besides securing our seats at the Advisory Board, we would also like to congratulate Eastern European developing countries, LDCs and SIDS for securing their permanent seats and we are pleased that UNEP and UNIDO will continue to host the CTCN.

CTCN-TEC-YOUNGO Joint Event at COP26

In the picture (from the right): Eluar Fuchs (CTCN Youth Consultant), Karina Larsen (CTCN Knowledge and Communications Manager), Maria Aguilar (CTCN Gender Consultant), Colin McQuistan (TEC Task Force Member), Sara Nyberg (YOUNGO Member), Anne Barre (CTCN Advisory Board Member), Cathy Yitong Li (YOUNGO Contact Point of Technology)

However, there were certainly disappointing moments in the negotiations, especially when one country called to delete multiple paragraphs on gender (including on encouraging the TEC to continue their efforts on gender mainstreaming, as well as on enhancing CTCN’s engagement with YOUNGO, WGC, and IPO) because they are ‘not comfortable with it’ and ‘refuse to discuss’.

The same country also raised their objection regarding our seats at the CTCN Advisory Board, because ‘according to the book of management, a board becomes inefficient when it exceeds 22 members’, although no one figured out what book of management it was. In addition, we also wish for more respect for women and youth, as one country directly used the word ‘cute’ to refer to our YOUNGO and WGC representatives in the negotiation.

Looking ahead, we will continue to advocate for furthering progress on gender mainstreaming in all aspects. We also wish to see a stronger linkage between the technology and financial mechanisms, as well as an increasing engagement from the private sector.

As we kick start 2022, we have recently hosted a joint event on adaptation and innovation with the TEC at the G-STIC conference at Dubai EXPO, and we will continue to contribute to TEC’s work through its task forces. As incoming CTCN Advisory Board members, we will also take on more responsibility in technology implementation and look forward to continuing collaborating with the CTCN in the Regional Youth Innovation Labs, Youth Knowledge Exchange Program, and our upcoming capacity-building webinar series.

We also hope that our seats at the CTCN Advisory Board will be the first step of further engagement with other constituted bodies, including collaborating in events and meaningfully contributing to their work through task forces, as well as supporting their progress on inclusivity and transparency.


About the Author

Cathy Yitong Li follows UNFCCC processes from gender and youth perspectives with a focus on technology and finance. Cathy also serves as a OneStepGreener Ambassador of COP26 and a Youth Advisor to the CEO of Global Center on Adaptation. By profession, Cathy is an M&A Tax Analyst and Soil Association’s Relationship Manager at Deloitte's London office. This piece is written in her capacity at YOUNGO.

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Office of the Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth supports all young people and their diversity in exercising their right to freedom of expression. Reach Not Preach platform serves as a safe space for all young people to share their take on the topic of climate change. The views expressed in the Reach Not Preach platform are those of their authors and do not necessarily reflect the view or policies of the United Nations Office of the Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth and the United Nations.

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