MockCOP: Students from schools across Wales gather to have their say on climate change.

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Many thanks to Heini Evans from WWF Cymru for this blog post about MockCOP.

MockCOP provides a platform for students to debate and vote on global issues – a rare opportunity for many 14-18 year olds. Held at a debating chamber in Cardiff, the event replicates the United Nations climate change conference. Students become delegates for the day and must agree to a resolution on climate change issues.

MockCOP

The annual event is organised by Size of Wales. We’re excited to attend this year as Tanya Steele, CEO of WWF UK, takes on the role of Secretary General. The role involves chairing the event and managing the discussions and debates.

The students arrive. They’re chatty and eager as they take their seats. Students are split into small teams – each team representing a different nation.

They have prepared and researched their position on climate change for the debate. Committed to their delegate roles, students even dressed in traditional costume. It soon becomes clear that this really helps to get them into character.

The Opening

The Philippines step up to address the room with an opening draft proposal:

Delegates from all nations begin the debate vocalising concerns around enforcing ambitious targets on developing nations. There is also disagreement among developed nations around how much development aid funding should be made available.
Questions are also raised around the use of funds, with concerns around corruption. Delegates suggest addressing this through investment in technology rather than cash contributions; which has both beneficial outputs globally and locally. They also stress that if no agreement is met, money still needs to reach countries most at need to relieve suffering.

A number of delegates move the focus of the debate to the decrease in deforestation. They see this as the most achievable resolution and the one which could have the biggest impact. They also see reforestation as equally important. Many delegates now suggest setting targets for tree planting.

Negotiations

Negotiations begin in a separate room between certain nations but representatives from delegations continue a debate in the chamber. They are negotiating the terms of the original resolution.

The Vote

With everyone now returning to the debating chamber, it’s time to vote! There’s further discussion throughout the voting stage. This results in a few changes to the original proposed resolutions.

  

Following the amendments, four resolutions were carried. These were:

The only resolution which was voted against was to increase development aid to developing or non-developed nations.

and finally…

For the final part of the day, students were asked to share their own opinions on Wales’ role in tackling climate change. Students present the following:

WWF’s Message

We’ve certainly learnt a lot from the students today. We will make sure that their voices and concerns are now heard in COP23, Bonn and beyond.

Following the debate, Tanya Steele said:
“There is no doubt that these young people have put incredible research forward and have articulated it really well. It’s been hugely impressive to hear so many young people both understand the issues and, most importantly, put forward proposals for the future.

“Many of the proposals will be taken by Size of Wales and WWF into discussions in and around the Bonn conference. We think it’s essential that young voices are heard on this question. Climate change is one of the defining issues and threats of our times. It’s important that young people both understand it but also highlight what they expect to be done about it. This is their world, it’s their planet for the future, and they have every right to ask us to do our very best to protect it for them.”

Catch the coverage of the event and interview with Tanya on Made in Cardiff TV.

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Keep your eyes peeled in the coming weeks as we at Size of Wales publish a full breakdown of the event and what Wales’ young people think about climate change and the steps we as a nation should be taking to protect the planet for their future.