Background to Youth Briefings at COP 15
Young people have been been present at climate negotiations since the Rio Earth summit in 1992, and their actions have resulted in widespread media coverage and the mobilization of thousands of their peers. It is estimated that 200 young people participated at the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP) at its thirteenth session held in Bali in December 2007, 500 at COP 14 in Poznan in December 2008, and indications are that more than 1,500 youth will attend COP 15 in Copenhagen.
Since September 2008, the UNFCCC secretariat has liaised with youth organizations around the world in an effort to facilitate participation by young people in the UNFCCC process. A year later, the secretariat granted preliminary constituency status to youth, now recognized as the YOUNGO.constituency.
With the financial support of the government of the Netherlands and input from YOUNGO, the secretariat has designed and planned a series of activities to support and enhance the COP preparatory activities of the youth, to increase youth participation from developing countries and to support and enhance youth activities at COP 15
In this context, the secretariat will host a series of youth briefings during COP 15 to facilitate dialogue between youth and other influential actors in the intergovernmental process - notably negotiators and UN senior officials.
Concept and Format
Similar to a press conference, this 30-minute event will provide an opportunity for the invited speakers to make a short intervention on the status of the COP 15 negotiations and expected results. Interventions will be followed by questions from youth. The press is also invited to the event which will be webcast.
About the Speakers
Michael Zammit Cutajar, Chair AWG-LCA
A citizen of Malta, born in 1940, Michael Zammit Cutajar devoted most of his career to work in and around the United Nations on international cooperation for development and environment. Between 1967 and 1990, based in Geneva, Switzerland, he worked on the staffs of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the United Nations Environment Programme. In 1991, he was assigned to set up the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and headed it until his retirement early in 2002, holding the rank of Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations. He led the move of that secretariat from Geneva to Bonn, Germany, in 1996.
Since retiring from the service of the United Nations, Mr. Zammit Cutajar has continued to participate in the international dialogue among governments - and between them and the business community - on climate change and the “carbon market”. As Chairperson of its independent advisory group, he helped launch the World Bank’s Community Development Carbon Fund, which promotes investment in emission-saving development projects in poor communities in developing countries (2003-2007). He is currently a member of the High-Level Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change convened by the President of the European Commission (2007- ).
Mr. Zammit Cutajar advises the Government of Malta pro bono on international environmental issues, representing it as ambassador in international negotiations on climate change. In this capacity, he chaired the Ad Hoc Working Group on further commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (2006). He is now part of the leadership team for the negotiation of a new multilateral accord on climate change, which was mandated in December 2007 under the “Bali Action Plan” and should be completed in 2009. The negotiation will be conducted by the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the UNFCCC, of which Mr. Zammit Cutajar has been elected Chair.
In the 2007 Republic Day honours list, Mr. Zammit Cutajar was appointed Member of the National Order of Merit of Malta.
John Ashe, Chair AWG-KP
A citizen of Antigua and Barbuda, born in 1954, John Ashe has been Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations since May 2004. He is also his country’s Ambassador to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and has ministerial responsibility for WTO and sustainable development matters, including chairing the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP).
Prior to his appointment as Permanent Representative, Mr. Ashe was Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 1995 to 2004. Between 2000 and 2004, he served concurrently as Ambassador/High Commissioner (non-resident) with duties related to the Asia/Pacific region and special responsibilities for India, the Philippines and Samoa.
From 1989 to 1995, he worked for his country’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations as Scientific Attaché, Counsellor and Minister Counsellor. He held leadership positions on more than 40 committees and organizations. In particular, he served as Chairman of the thirteenth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, which met at United Nations Headquarters on 11-22 April 2005. He has also chaired the Executive Board of the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol and the Subsidiary Body on Implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and led negotiations on budgetary and administrative matters within the Conventions on biological diversity and desertification, the Basel Convention, and the Montreal Protocol. He has also served on the Executive Boards of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)/United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).