In our fourth day of COP, we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and having a more clear picture of how our impact will look like this year. Despite the fact that previous delegations have set the bar high for us in COP18, we are happy about the tremendous amounts of support from the rest of the team of officials and IFMSA members who are helping to guide us through the conference.
Even though it is coming down the first week of the conference and we all have been ambitious and driven and we don’t mind scarifying a few hours of our beauty sleep every night in order to contribute and make a difference. As it is quoted at the entrance of the conference center: every step makes a difference, and we’re convince of that, so we are prepared to keep up our hard work throughout the remainder of the conference.
Now that negotiations have been going for the past week, we are able to understand the important issues that will be discussed and addressed in this years conference, and thus are ready to advocate for the role health plays within those topics. For instance, education and capacity building is once again one of the stars in the game, and gender is finally a growing interest topic. Article 6 and the Durban platform will have a special importance this year. As we cannot miss this opportunity to stress the crucial role of health in capacity building and formal and non formal education, our lovely VPI is targeting negotiators to promote our message, as well as working with YOUNGO (youth NGOs constituency at the UNFCCC) to advocate for a youth inclusive approach in the text.
One of the other hot points of the negotiations this year is finance. Even when money and funds for adaptation and mitigation are important, the creation of the Green Climate Fund, which will be hosted in South Korea makes finance an even more important issue. Myself I am working in the YOUNGO finance group, as well as lobbying on behalf of IFMSA to enhance the importance of adaptation for health impacts of climate change, plus advocating for using health co-benefits of mitigation as a leading argument when allocating funds for mitigation.
As part of our collaboration with the WHO, we had the great opportunity to interview an Egyptian party delegate, Mr Mohammed Nasr, who is part of the Green Climate Fund board.This was an opportunity as medical students and part of the health community, to promote our vision by asking questions regarding health. This interview will be published soon in the Out Reach publication that health alliance is currently working with.
Even he expressed the Green Climate Fund discussions are yet in a very early stage, I feel confident our questions and the short discussion we had after, will have an impact on him and change his vision about health. However, this may not lead to the creation of an agenda item about health in the near future, but to a comprehensive approach to health and climate change.
Furthermore, the YOUNGO finance working group is working on a declaration to be distributed next week. I am extremely glad to see that all youth participants of the group were aware about the need of funds for health projects and about the gap between the importance countries give to health impacts and the funds received for these projects (see WHO report on NAPA projects and health). Health, youth and most vulnerable will be the three demands of YOUNGO declaration.
Lastly, I would like to leave the IFMSA family with part of the draft that we are still working on: “Youth are not only more than half of the world’s population, but also the leaders of today’s and tomorrow’s fast-changing world. Compromising our well-being is compromising the future of the world and the education and health of the next generation, our kids.”
Best regards from sunny Doha