YECAP Fellow, Rayhana Akter participated in the COP27 Simulation Model as the only youth climate activist from Bangladesh
YECAP Fellow and youth climate activist, Rayhana Akter successfully participated as the only Bangladeshi in the COP-27 Simulation Model, organized by the British University in Egypt and UNDP under the auspices of H.E. Dr. Ashraf Sobhy, Minister of Youth and Sports, H.E. Professor Mohamed Ayman Ashour, Minister of Higher education and Scientific research, and H.E. Professor Mahmud Mohieldin, UN-high-level Climate Champion held on 18-20 October in Cairo, Egypt.
The COP-27 Simulation Model is a global youth-led conference bringing students together from around the world to mock the actual COP-27 activities and simulate country delegates and representatives of international organizations.
Out of 2,000 applicants, Rayhana was selected to participate in the COP27 Simulation Model. The British University in Egypt and the UNDP fully funded the trip and accommodation with per diem. A total of 130 students from 34 international universities replicated 24 countries' delegations, and 11 international organizations participated in the conference.
Before the mock conference
Rayhana attended two weeks-long, intense capacity-building programmes from 11-22 September. During the programme, she attended 10 hours of academic lectures, 10 hours of public and distinguished lectures, 15 hours of dialogues and interactive sessions, and 10 hours of entertainment and gaming for climate and sustainability. Following the training sessions, she prepared a policy brief and a video presentation, and chose to submit her research product on COP27's significant focus, Loss, and Damage. The presentation highlighted the effects of water scarcity on her community, including its adverse impact on food security and health and the demands of young Bangladeshis to global leaders.
During the mock conference
The topics of the mock conference agenda were organically developed based on the participating students' research submissions. "I was honored that the title I proposed for the loss and damage session was used in the mock conference agenda, which will be one of COP27's main focuses this year," she shared. Based on their research and video presentation, the students were selected to act as chief negotiators, delegates, and rapporteurs to experience the main COP27 negotiation scenario.
Rayhana was chosen as the Head of Delegations (HoD) of the Democratic Republic of Congo. During the negotiations, she collaborated with her fellow Congolese delegates, the delegates of the other LDC members, and the chief negotiator to draft LDC's requests. As the HoD of the D.R. Congo, she gave an opening speech on D.R. Congo's robust and accessible climate finance demand for adaptation from global leaders. During the three days conference, she attended several meetings with the World Bank, IMF, WMO, and SBI representatives regarding a grant for Congo's sustainable forest management and ensuring food security. She also participated in two technical sessions, "Loss and Damage: Compensation for Equal and Sustainable Climate Justice" and "Scaling up Adaptation and Mitigation through Innovation: Water as a Climate Security Matter," where she negotiated the right to compensation for loss and damage and advocated for a larger adaptation fund to support low- and middle-income countries.
"In addition to my role as the HoD of D.R. Congo, I attempted to represent the voices of my local communities at every technical meeting and group discussion I attended. As a representative of the LDCs, I echoed our demand for a substantial and readily accessible climate fund to compensate for the loss and damage, adaptation and the transfer of technical knowledge to developing countries for climate resilience, using Bangladesh as a successful model in Locally-led adaptation", she added.
A policy statement summarizing the participating youth's voices and the negotiation was also prepared. At the conference, the students proposed four articles on debt cancellation, doubled and accessible funds for loss and damages, and technological knowledge transfer for developing nations' climate adaptation. It will be incorporated into the Model's final deliverables to be taken to the real COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh. Finally, a documentary movie will be presented in the COP27 Youth Day sessions, UNDP pavilion in Green Zone. The Global Youth Statement submitted by the Children and Youth constituency to UNFCCC -YOUNGO in COP27 will incorporate the conference outcomes.
After the mock conference
"The knowledge and expertise that I gained from working as a YECAP Fellow have served me immensely at this conference," Rayhana shared. As a fellow on this platform, she had the opportunities to learn first-hand insights from local communities' youth worldwide about their sufferings, achievements, and demands regarding climate action. The experience helped her to draft the statements and remarks supporting the LDC's needs.
"I couldn't be more thrilled about this excellent learning and growing opportunity. The people I met in Cairo will remain the most memorable part of this trip. It was my first solo trip abroad, and Egyptian friends filled my bucket to overflowing with their overwhelming kindness, generosity, and hospitality." Rayhana said.