Activism & Volunteering

Picture Profile: Youth Actions at the COP18 UNFCCC Climate Change Negotiations in Qatar

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Throughout the UNFCCC climate change negotiations, the youth constituency YOUNGO runs actions to keep pressure on negotiators, highlight issues in the media and add a bit of energy and urgency to the dreary conference centres. Here are some pictures of just a few of the actions that took place during COP18, plus some quotes from those who were there to give you a taste of experiences and reactions.

“There is a better future, and we have an opportunity to actually build that. The vision we want is the future we want and we can have it.”

- Mohamed Adow, Christian Aid

“I am part of the solution” was a key theme for the youth constituency this year. In this action, individuals gathered to talk about what they are doing to tackle climate change. Credit:


As the negotiations ran through the night into Saturday, young people gathered in the conference centre to send a message of support to communities in developing countries and the negotiators who represent them at the talks. The photo was used in further social media actions. Credit:

“What is at stake here is selling down our children’s and our grandchildren’s futures.”

- Samantha Smith, WWF

A key sticking point in the negotiations was finance. In this action, negotiators were met at the entrance to the conference with paper money, and were asked to deposit it in the fund they supported (options included the green climate fund and military spending). Credit: Kyle Gracey/SustainUS
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“Political reality, which is sold as a reasonable way to think about this issue, is not reasonable at all. What is not reasonable is when our political leaders know that they are threatening the future of their own children. I don’t understand how a man, or a person, or a woman stands up and take up such a decision because of ‘political reality’ knowing that they’re destroying the future of their kids and everyone’s kids.”

- Wael Hmaidan, Climate Action Network - International

The march on the middle Saturday was led by young people from around the world calling on global leaders to take action. There were also many messages of support for the newly formed Arab Youth Climate Movement (AYCM). Credit: Sallie Shatz


Young campaigners have also gathered from around Europe for “Qatar in Brussels”. Here they have hit the streets of Brussels with red dots (symbolising the ‘climate legacy’ campaign being run at the COP) to highlight the impacts of climate change. Credit: Push Europe