YMCA delegates connect with leaders at COP27

International climate meeting COP27 is now underway in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. World leaders have gathered to spend the next two weeks discussing global efforts not only to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also to pay for the costs of climate change.

A team of a dozen YMCA delegates are attending to advocate for our planet’s regeneration and a better future for generations to come.

The Conference of the Parties, or COP, is the annual United Nations climate change summit. It’s the 27th meeting – so COP27 – and it’s held 6-18 November. It attracts thousands of participants including official delegates from governments, intergovernmental organisations, UN agencies, NGOs and civil society. They meet to discuss the next steps in the implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement, where countries agreed to come up with their own plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Group of four YMCA delegates at COP27

Pictured from left to right: Pace Ng, Ricardo Moyano, Stefanie Tornow and Shakil Karim.

“Climate change is one of the biggest threats that humanity faces today,” said Maricris Saldarriaga, World YMCA programme manager attending COP27 with the YMCA delegates. “Young people and future generations will be the most affected by its consequences.”

She added that civil society plays an important role during the negotiations, although they don’t have any decision-making power. She said that the participation of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) during COPs has influenced the positions of parties over the years.

Representing the YMCA this year are:

Heads of the delegation:

  • Stefanie Tornow, Germany
  • Shakil Karim, USA

Youth leaders:

  • Pace Ng, China
  • Tudor Reus, Romania
  • Maria Mjaaland, Norway
  • Loris Tarazi, Palestine
  • Claire Warmels, Canada
  • Beyan Harris, Liberia
  • Emma Andersson, Sweden
  • Tuulia Toivanen, Finland
  • Marouane Joundi, Canada
  • Ricardo Moyano, Mexico
  • BengSeng Chang, Asia & Pacific Alliance of YMCAs

Sustainable Planet is the third of the four ‘Pillars of Impact’ in the recently adopted YMCA Vision 2030. The YMCA is committed to advancing global conservation and responsibility to reduce the effects of climate change through youth-led education programmes and advocacy initiatives that improve environmental awareness.

Said Maricris, “By being present at COP, our delegation gets to lobby on youth-related issues and to connect the YMCA with global climate discussions. They get to influence politicians in making decisions that can change the course of actions for the future.”