Cathy Li and Tomoko Ikuta share their experience from participating in COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt
Cathy Li is a youth climate activist and member of the Asia-Pacific Youth Advisory Group on Environmental and Climate Justice from China. She was also one of the youth delegates who participated in the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference or Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) or COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. Her focus is on UNFCCC processes from gender and youth among other civil society and private sector consulting perspectives.
For Cathy, this was a challenging COP, with unprecedented barriers for young people to fully participate including physical and data security concerns raised by many observers or the confusing mapping system.
"In terms of the technical processes of the convention, I am really pleased to see the launch of UNFCCC Technology Mechanism's new Programme of Work, as well as civil society constituencies being included in Santiago Network Advisory Body's membership. On the other hand, the review of the Gender Action Plan as well as multiple negotiation tracks avoiding the term, Human Rights are true disappointments, and we still have a long way to go on many issues including Loss and Damage finance," she said.
Tomoko Ikuta is currently a sophomore studying at the International School Bangkok, based in Bangkok, Thailand.
For Tomoko, her experience at COP27 was truly one of a kind. To be able to join a global conference as a youth representative from Thailand is a great honor, especially when it is rare for youth to fully get involved in opportunities like this. She is glad to help amplify youth voices at COP27.
Tomoko joined a variety of sessions including the ACE working group at the Youth and Children Pavilion, a session on the link between climate change and health at the WHO Pavilion, and more.
"I am extremely grateful to be one of the panelists in the Global Youth Conversation #1 at the Thailand Pavilion, where I was able to share my voice on youth involvement in COPs alongside six other youths from Washington University. Furthermore, I was very fortunate to be able to meet many professors from various universities, such as the University of Pennsylvania, Washington University, United Nations University, and more," she said.
The experience offered her new perspectives and at the same time encouraged her to keep taking climate action and sharing her voice. Moreover, it inspired her to reach new heights.
"Listening and learning from the insightful sessions made me realize how I could improve myself as a climate youth leader, and what I can bring back to my community. Most importantly, I had lots of fun during my time there and made many new friends and connections," Tomoko shared.
Youth delegates from across the Asia-Pacific region and all over the world experienced COP27 differently. There were a number of challenges despite the progress being made to meaningfully engage with young people more. But when youth from all walks of life are brought together and given space to network and drive solutions forward, there is still hope.