LCOY or Local Conference of Youth is the localized and smaller version of the Conference of Youth or COY, which is held prior to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP).
COY is the official event of YOUNGO, which is the children and youth constituency of the United Nations.
The idea to organize an LCOY in the Philippines popped after COP 25 in Madrid in 2019. Most of the organizers from the three organizations were there, including Lawyers Aya de Leon and Niner Guiao of Parabukas, Kisha Erah Muaña of STEP, Rodne Galicha, Marinel Ubaldo, and John Leo Algo of Living Laudato Si Philippines.
As youth representatives, we saw other youth delegates from other countries proudly submitting their youth statement, and when we were asked where our youth statement was. We were left with nothing to say.
But the plans of organizing LCOY in 2020 did not materialize because of so many external factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
Throughout the process of planning, organizing, and coordinating, we realized that it’s not just about hosting LCOY as an event but building LCOY as a platform for the Filipino youth to be part of the policy and decision-making table.
Building from the previous national youth engagements on climate actions, this year’s LCOY is the first youth event on climate officially endorsed by YOUNGO and LCOY Working Group, thus making this a historical moment for the Filipino youth.
We aim for LCOY to be a venue for the youth to build their capacity as young leaders of today and gather and share their experiences, knowledge, and expertise on different relevant climate issues and topics.
It brings the climate negotiations closer to the youths by organizing them at the regional and national levels, and in general to strengthen our climate action.
Before the “negotiations” or position-building where the delegates will develop their own regional statements this month, we had capacity-building sessions with esteemed individuals and organizations who have vast experience with environmental and climate issues.
LCOY Pilipinas 2021 will contribute to addressing the climate and environmental problems in the Philippines by raising awareness of the climate and environmental problems of every region in the country and their interconnectedness.
Developing innovative solutions to environmental and climate problems, through changes to policies and other projects and activities, and showing the force and commitment of the youth to environmental and climate advocacy to drive national and local government officials to act faster, better, and together.
LCOY Pilipinas 2021 intends to influence the political process and governmental decision-making by opening conversations with national and local officials about the position papers and statements developed by the youth delegates.
We also intend to forward the position papers and statements to the members of the Philippine Delegation to the UNFCCC so that they can include these points in their statements at the Subsidiary Bodies, COPs, and other official UNFCCC events.
We will use the LCOY as a platform to surface the youth’s voice in policy-making and show the clamor of the youth for more effective environmental and climate legislation.
The LCOY platform and activities could also enlighten the youth to make informed decisions for the upcoming Philippine national elections in 2022, and elect public officials who are advocates for the planet.
Nowadays, we have seen current trends in climate advocacy. There is an increased involvement of the youth in demanding climate justice for systemic changes to address climate change.
We would like to congratulate our youth delegates for taking the important step in making the Filipino voice heard in the national and global arena.
We are no longer the future leaders. We are already the leaders of today and the champions of tomorrow and of the generations to come.
LCOY Pilipinas wants to send a clear message to the world that the youth, especially the Filipino youth, is leading the fight against the climate crisis.
The Filipino youth is not alone in this fight. We have the entire environmental and climate movement in the country on our side.