Eleventh Hour: Youth leaders sound the alarm at COP27

By Ferth  Manaysay


Last November, the Egyptian resort town of Sharm El Sheikh hosted hundreds of young climate advocates from more than 140 countries during the 17th United Nations Climate Change Conference of Youth (COY17), which happened ahead of the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference or the 27th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27).

Designed to serve as a space for capacity building and policy training to prepare young people for their participation at COP27, the youth-led conference has been an annual event under YOUNGO, which is UNFCCC’s official children and youth constituency.

Its 17th edition was organized and led by Sustainable, El Emam Foundation, Enviro-X, youthinkgreen Egypt, and Youth Loves Egypt, with the support of the Egyptian Ministry of Youth and Sports and with endorsement from the COP27 President Designate.

The key outcome of COY17 is the Global Youth Statement, which is a policy document containing inputs from young leaders across the world on the different issues, challenges, and action points they believe should be included to advance climate action.

The policy document outlined detailed recommendations on different topics ranging from adaptation and mitigation to just renewable energy transition and climate finance.

The statement included a call to fulfill the commitment of Global North countries to a dedicated finance facility for Loss and Damage to enable most affected people and areas (MAPA) and climate-vulnerable countries to cope with the effects of the climate crisis.

The recent COP27 marked the first time that young people were provided with a dedicated space to host dialogues and discussions on global climate action.  The key findings of the policy document were introduced via two (2) roundtables under the Youth-led Climate Forum on Young and Future Generations Day. This was also the first time that the Global Youth Statement was directly sent to the COP Presidency’s action agenda where youth representatives, ministers, and negotiators were able to discuss the expectations and the demands outlined by global youth climate activists.


COY17 featured 68 workshops, panel discussions, and side events held before COP27.

Why young voices matter

During COY17, organizers highlighted the importance of linking youth voices with COP processes.

“COY17 represented a leap transformation point in the role of youth in enforcing climate action across the global climate agenda,” said Abdelrahman Fahmy from youthinkgreen International.

While most policy conversations are still happening without young people, many youth climate advocates around the world are speaking out to join the call for accountability and climate justice.

“We welcome the great work done to produce a rich, comprehensive, and detailed policy statement that we consider a very important input to the COP negotiations and its outcomes,” said Ambassador Wael Aboulmagd, Special Representative of the COP27 President.

The unified demands of the global youth will ensure an inclusive approach to climate governance that acknowledges the disproportionate impact of the climate crisis on our communities.

With the 18th COY and 28th COP happening in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) next year, we must further recognize the role that youth leaders play in our climate movement and respond to their demands and needs.




Ferth Vandensteen Manaysay was one of the Philippine delegates for the 17th United Nations Climate Change Conference of Youth (COY17) in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. He is a Climate Reality Leader trained during the 2016 Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training in Manila. Ferth is currently the deputy manager and programs lead of the Climate Reality Project Philippines. He has also been appointed as vice chairperson and sectoral representative of Young People from Disaster-Stricken Areas at the United Nations Youth Advisory Board (UNYAB). Ferth has worked with local and international non-governmental and academic organizations, including Climate Catalyst, Yayasan Peta Bencana (Disaster Map Foundation), Asia Foundation, Ateneo School of Government, and East-West Center. He earned his Master of Arts degree in International Relations from Waseda University.


This article was originally published on The Climate Reality Project Philippines’ weekly column for the Manila Bulletin called Eleventh Hour.

This column serves a digital space to discuss our organization’s work on supporting the country’s just transition into a clean, affordable, and self-sufficient energy system; advancing sustainable urban mobility to highlight the issues of equity and democracy; and raising public awareness about the need to phase out single-use plastics. It also serves as a platform for Pinoy Climate Reality Leaders to share your stories, promote your climate initiatives, and provide critical insights to issues that matter to climate action, environmental protection, and sustainable development.