Walking towards the meeting rooms my attention is captured by a group of young people with a white banner, wearing fancy suits: they are doing an action.
Since today is Youth Participation Day, I interviewed Viktoria Cologna, a member of YOUNGO, UNFCCC’s Conflict of Interest Working Group, is the group organizing this action.
“Today we, the Conflict of Interest Working Group of YOUNGO, the official youth constituency at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), organised an action to raise awareness on the fact that some corporations and industry groups representing themt at COP23 have vested commercial or financial interests that are irreconcilably at odds with the objectives of the UNFCCC. Already at Cop19 there was an action where 800 participants from non-party groups left the room with the motto “Polluters talk, we walk”. This was the first time that a lot of attention was addressed to this issue.
Today is an important day because it is both the Youth participation day as well as the Business and Industry constituency (BINGO) day at COP, which I think is not an adequate choice and quite controversial. To raise awareness, we prepared this action which saw a group of people that represented youth and who had had their mouth shut with tape and another group that represented business and big corporations.
Under the motto “Our future is not for sale”, we simulated an auction where corporations and youth could bid for the future of our planet. The corporations obviously won because they had higher financial capabilities, but especially because their voice was louder (remember the young people had their mouth shut!).
We hope that our action sparked some reflections and that further reflection is given to the participation of big corporations at COPs.”