How many people get to say that they were stopping from running across the highway in Qatar by angry looking police (cops, as we say in the U.S.) in berets and aviator sunglasses because the Prince was about to drive past? I can happily say (now that the shock has gone) that I can add this to my list of odd encounters and a story-telling repertoire. The third day of the Conference of Youth (COY8) started off with a bang, needless to say. Earlier in the morning I had a conversation with a Doha resident who is working the conference for the next two weeks that altered the way I see the city. The bus that was the vehicle of our conversation (pun definitely intended) was taking us to the QNCC to get our brand new accreditation badges that would allows us to enter the official conference which starts on November 26th. We had anticipated a very long line, but ended up just walking in, getting our picture taken, and heading over to the Qatar Foundation Student Center for the final day of COY8.
Personally, the final day of COY was my favorite. This is not because of the sessions, the work done, or any presentations (although all of the aforementioned parts of the day were also wonderful), I had wonderful, meaningful conversation with youth from around the world. Over the span of 14 hours, I was able to connect with people from Ghana, Sweden, Oman, the Philippines, the UK, and Algeria. I feel that the 25th, for me, was the day of asking probing questions and learning about others’ life experiences and cultures. I am so grateful that there was time in the COY schedule for an open session so that I was able to start these dialoges. (for this reason, my blog does not have as many pictures- sorry!) More on these conversations and relationships to come. Today’s COY was about starting our YOUNGOworking groups. I decided to join that Women and Gender group.
We had representation youth from Bahrain, Nigeria, Sweden, Ghana, the UK, Lebanon, and Canada. Reasons why people joined this specific working group included: youth empowerment, public health, reproductive rights, gender inequity, human trafficking, gender mainstreaming, and overall how women and minority groups (including those who identify as genderqueer) are more likely to be more heavily, negatively impacted by the effects of Climate Change. We are just in the planning stages at the moment and I am really excited to progress and build a strong and intentional integration of women and gender language used in all portions of policy.
How can we see more women negotiators?!
The last evening of COY8 was closed out with an inspiring talk given by the lead negotiator for the Philippines. He roused the crowd’s support by saying that “climate change will be solved by actions at the grassroots level” and that “your generation will make that change. you have the choices to make- no, not the choices- there are no other options” other than seriously mitigating climate change through solid commitments and continued grassroots pressure. He said, “It’s not about commas, bracket, texts that you will hear. Of course there are not technical legal implications, but I do not want you to focus on that while you’re in Doha,” he continued “I want you to continue helping and inspiring us.. being agents of transformation and change because we cannot afford to do this with pessimism while addressing each other.”
Wonderful words to end the night and this post on.
For now, Aloha from Doha.