UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP) 17

From November 28thto December 9th 2011, Armin Zaman Khan participated in the UNFCCC Conference of Parties 17 as a Global South Youth delegate, representing Bangladesh as the only youth delegate from my country. As a dedicated Actioneer, she shares her experiences and lessons with us.

Frustrated by the slow pace of the negotiators to reach a legally binding agreement, youth delegates called for a press briefing on the last day of the conference to inject a sense of urgency in the climate talks. The briefings, facilitated by Tom from New Zealand, were addressed by youth delegates from United Kingdom, Norway, and Bangladesh. I spoke about matters pertaining to “politics and lack of urgency in the climate change negotiations” and highlighted the stern attitude of some handful of countries to block the negotiations.

The last few youth delegates demonstrating outside the closed doors of the hall where the chief negotiators of USA were having their meetings on the very last day. USA had been one of the few first world countries in the conference who attempted relentlessly over the course of the two weeks to block the negotiations and prevent the countries from coming to an agreement.

Action by the Water Working Group, chanting the slogan “Where’s the WATER in the COP”, calling out to the negotiators to address more issues pertaining to water in the talks and address them in the texts accordingly

As part of the working group, I participated in the action and in drafting the youth position paper in interventions related to water issues.

The waters of Durban sea beach: Durban has an impeccable reputation of keeping all sources of its water perfectly clean and suitable for drinking. Itsunadulterated sea beach reminds us once more that Bangladesh still has a long way to go in the way it treats it abundant sources and bodies of water and makes it available to the masses.

The very last and biggest demonstrations on the very last day of the conference

Called over by Greenpeace International and 350.org, this demonstration brought all the participants, starting from negotiators to activists on the same ground, all chantingloudly “Don’t Kill Africa” in attempts to wake up the negotiators at the last hour and come to a unanimous agreement that can save the most vulnerable nations. Many demonstrators were de-badged on that day since the demonstrations were carried out inside the Plenary halls, violating the rules.

The very first side event held by the official delegates of Bangladesh, comprised of Hon. Minister of Environment, Hon. Secretary of the environment ministry, members of parliament and several eminent policymakers, in Moses Mabidha Stadium. Important issues pertaining to the climate change issues affecting Bangladesh were discussed at the event.

The Hon. Minister of Environment of Bangladesh, along with me and another youth delegate, Razwan Nabin, from Bangladesh. Razwan is the founder of BYMC (Bangladesh Youth Movement for Climate Change) and attended the conference as part of the government delegation negotiating on behalf of Bangladesh. In our meeting, the Hon. Minister expressed optimism about the participation opportunities for the Bangladeshi youth in climate change talks in the international level in the future.

My interview with a German radio station after my speech in the press briefings on behalf of the youth on the last day: I was asked questions about how climate change is affecting poor countries like Bangladesh and what we, as youth, can do to step up. The interviewer seemed particularly curious about how it was possible for a girl from a third world country like mine to make it alone to such a big conference! This was not a difficult job for a moral, influential, and professional Actioneer!

About Armin Zaman Khan

Actioneer Armin is currently studying in Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka.
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