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12 December 2023

BRICS Youth in Energy made it again to UNFCCC COP in Dubai, UAE

From November 30 to December 12, 2023, delegation of the BRICS Youth Energy Agency participated in the UN Climate Change Conference COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. This was BRICS YEA’s third Climate COP with active programming after an extensive engagement in COP26 in Glasgow and COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, where we aimed at promoting youth voices from the Global South, exchanging experiences and driving the youth energy cooperation forward.

Altogether, 6 original BRICS YEA events were organized or co-organized in the framework of COP28, 6 bilateral meetings were held and 15 sessions hosted BRICS YEA experts in their panels.

From the BRICS YEA leadership, Chairperson Alexander Kormishin, Assistant Chair Arsenii Kirgizov-Barskii and Director for Sustainability and Climate Initiatives Vadim Kuznetsov took part in the event. Over 15 BRICS YEA Network members were also present at various levels of COP28.

Here we have some of the highlights of BRICS YEA engagement in COP28 and related events, in chronological order:

On November 29-December 1, BRICS YEA’s Arsenii Kirgizov-Barskii took part in the International Student Energy Summit SES 2023, held on two venues – New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) and the COP28 Green Zone in Dubai. Arsenii introduced BRICS YEA to over 500 young people representing 130 countries who gathered for SES 2023, most importantly to the youth of the MENA region, where BRICS is expanding to include the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt into their community starting from January 1, 2024. Over 10 BRICS YEA Network members participated as well, speaking in panels and holding side-events on region-specific energy challenges.

On December 2-3, BRICS YEA’s Arsenii Kirgizov-Barskii presented BRICS YEA activities for 2024 and beyond in the context of BRICS expansion during his interventions at the IRENA Pavilion and Children and Youth Pavilion, inviting youth organizations from MENA region to integrate themselves into the BRICS youth energy community. There, BRICS YEA established contacts with several youth organizations, including the Arab Youth Council for Climate Change (AYCCC) and Saudi Youth Climate Network. BRICS YEA Assistant Chair later engaged in a number of COP28 events hosted by the Arab youth organizations, including “Youth Empowerment in Energy Transition – From the UAE to the World” in the UAE Pavilion by TAQA, Masdar and IRENA.

On December 4, 2023, BRICS YEA’s Vadim Kuznetsov moderated a panel session «Sustainable Resource Management: Guidebook for Intergenerational Action». The session was co-organized by BRICS YEA and UNECE Resource Management Young Member Group (RMYMG) in partnership with UNECE, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, and Commonwealth Youth Climate Change Network. The event took place at the Global Alliance of Universities on Climate Pavilion. At the session, the speakers presented the Guidebook on Critical Minerals for the energy Transition which is developed by UNECE RMYMG and discussed effective ways of strengthening intergenerational equity to ensure an environmentally and socially just and inclusive transition.

On December 4, 2023, Youth Energy Transition Commission (YETC), launched at COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, gathered for the 2nd in-person meeting to discuss the state of affairs regarding the formal establishment and mandate of this newbody. BRICS YEA was represented by Assistant Chair Arsenii Kirgizov-Barskii.

YETC was created to improve collaboration among youth-led organizations focused on Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7) themselves, and with other organizations with strong youth representation working toward the achievement of universal access to clean, reliable and affordable energy by 2030.

By playing this bridging role between youth-led and established organizations, the YETC also aims to fill an important function in the global sustainable energy movement. Having closer connections to established organizations, will help bring youth into more senior discussions on the energy transition, empowering them to influence energy decision-making.

Current members of the Commission include BRICS Youth Energy Agency, Student Energy, the SDG7 Youth Constituency, the European Youth Energy Network, the Commonwealth Sustainable Energy Transition (CSET) Action Group on Youth, the Clean Cooking Alliance (CCA) Youth Representative, Sustainable Energy for All’s Youth Specialist and RES4Africa Youth Task Force, which are facilitated by Akil Callender, Youth Specialist at Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL).

On December 5, 2023, BRICS YEA’s Vadim Kuznetsov spoke at a session “Intergenerational Justice in Resource Management & Launch of the Guidebook on Critical Minerals” organized by the UNECE Resource Management Young Member Group (RMYMG). The event was held at the Children & Youth Pavilion. Vadim presented key insights from the Guidebook which is a result of joint work of more than 15 young experts from across the globe. The panel also helped discuss the most pressing issues in sustainable resource management and the way young people can contribute to solving them.

On December 8, COP28 Youth day, BRICS YEA team participated in the Youth Roundtable at the SDG7 Global South Pavilion by SEforALL “Building a Global Youth Coalition to Drive Action on Energy, Climate and Development” and in the Youth Energy Compact Showcase: Youth Solutions and Green Jobs.

BRICS YEA’s Arsenii Kirgizov-Barskii presented the updated BRICS Youth Energy Compact, which mission is to ensure that 100 million young people aged below 30 years from the BRICS countries engage into cooperation for a sustainable and clean future of energy in alignment with the SDG7 and the corresponding goals, as well as to facilitate the inclusion of young people in formal governance of BRICS and UN-led mechanisms, public authorities and energy-related companies. Arsenii announced that in 2023, BRICS YEA Network in BRICS reached 21,8 million youths, the largest BRICS Youth Energy Summit was held in South Africa, while new formats for youth cooperation were facilitated by BRICS YEA in FAO/WWF, UNECE and UN ESCAP.

BRICS YEA organized a number of events on the COP28 Youth Day in the Pavilion of Russia to highlight the role of young people, women and indigenous peoples in climate and energy spheres:

  • High-Level Dialogue: Climate Change Impact on Education for Future Generations (with Mission Impact)
  • Sustainable Leadership and Impact Management: Youth Educational Solutions for Addressing Climate Challenges (with Mission Impact)
  • Youth Initiatives for Northern Ecosystems conservation for Climate Change Mitigation (with MGIMO, Friends of Protected Islands Movement Eco-Centre «Zapovedniki»). BRICS YEA Assistant Chair spoke at the event on the biodiversity protection in the Arctic, international cooperation in the Arctic Council, indigenous knowledge and the climate-biodiversity nexus in the Climate COP28 in Dubai and Biodiversity COP15 in Montreal outcomes.

On December 8, 2023, BRICS YEA’s Vadim Kuznetsov spoke at a session “Just Energy Transition Youth Perspective” co-organized by TAQA Youth and Society of Renewable Energy. Vadim emphasized the role BRICS youth play in advancing research on just and inclusive energy transition to achieve SDG7 and presented opportunities for youth energy cooperation in 2024, in particular with young experts from the Arab countries. He also highlighted the importance of holistic approach to reshaping energy and climate policies to avoid achieving climate objectives at the expense of the environment.

On December 9, BRICS YEA held its key COP 28 event on MENA and BRICS Youth Cooperation “Youth in Energy: Advancing a Just Transition”.

In light of the expansion of BRICS in the MENA region with the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt joining BRICS, there is a unique opportunity to step up youth energy cooperation to foster a just energy transition.

Fostering inclusive collaboration with youth in the BRICS, MENA and Global South paves the way to leverage multi-stakeholder engagement, advance cross-sectoral collaboration, and promote inclusive and tangible pathways to drive sustainable transformation toward low-carbon development.

It is imperative to underscore the energy-related challenges faced by both regions. In the Arab region, progress towards achieving SDG 7 has been hindered by supply chain disruptions, economic downturns, and conflicts, necessitating urgent efforts to meet the 2030 targets. Meanwhile, among the BRICS countries, with all but South Africa ranking in the top 10 for greenhouse gas emissions, their role becomes pivotal in achieving net-zero emissions by mid-century.[i]

Moderated by BRICS YEA Chairperson Alexander Kormishin, the session featured such prominent youth speakers, as Hoor Ahli, COP28 UAE Youth Climate Delegate from the United Arab Emirates, Hanan Alnuwaiser, Founder of Saudi Youth Climate Network; Vice President of the Arab Youth Council for Climate Change from Saudi Arabia, Mohab Sherif Mohamed Mohsen Gharib, Outreach coordinator of the MENA Youth Network, Youth Engagement Coordinator of Act Sustainable from Egypt.

On top of that, BRICS YEA representatives had various bilateral meetings, first and foremost with our partners from the UAE and Brazil, visited dozens of events in both Blue and Green Zone of COP28, gave several interviews to international media and TV, participated in the youth side-events and mandated events, including the Youth Climate Forum on Energy, and observed main negotiation tracks at COP28, culminating in the plenaries on the first Global Stocktake (GST).

All in all, we assess COP28 as a new milestone for youth energy cooperation and invite all the interested youths and partners to further post-COP collaboration.

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