Austrian Climate Youth Summit 2018

Presentation letter of the Austrian Youth Climate Summit

19 July 2018

What is our vision?
We want to create a space in which young people can come together to find out about climate topics, discuss and network. A youth summit wants to make an important contribution to progress in climate politics and the ability of youth to contribute actively to the topic. We don’t only want to talk about climate change, but also provide a space in which we empower ourselves as youth and exchange tools for taking action. We take the Austrian EU-presidency as an additional reason to empower youth in this important moment and make our voice heard.
Who are we?
We are a group of students from the University of Vienna, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences and the Technical University Vienna. Three team members from our core team have joined the NGO CliMates, in whose name we are organizing this conference. The goal if CliMates is to approach the challenge of climate change in different ways, from trainings for the empowerment of young people to the advocacy towards decision makers. We are a nonpartisan group that has the aim of including a broad range of actors and views, in order to enable lively exchanges and critical discussions.
What is a youth climate conference?
We are working on getting the conference authorized as a “Local Conference of Youth” (LCOY); the respective deadline is on the 31st of July and one of the requirements is the formal support of youth organisations in the country, complemented with partnerships with other organisations. A LCOY is an event by YOUNGO, the official youth constituency at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It represents a national version of the Conference of Youth (COY) taking place immediately before the Conference of Parties (COP), the annual UN-Climate Conference. This year, there will be around 15 LCOYs in the whole world and we find it important to organize one in Vienna, too.
By youth we understand young people of 16 to 35 years of age from all of Austria, who are either already working on the topic or interested in it. Thus, we address young people in the climate movement, as well as in the eco-social economy or science, but at the same time also members of youth organisations, school students and the interested public. For this reason, we will not expect participants to have a deep knowledge of the topic and will design a program that is as diverse as possible, so that there is something for everyone. Concerning this point, we are currently trying to assess to what extent we will be able to mobilize groups like school students and generally youth in other federal provinces, since the exact program will be adapted to fit the expected participants. At the moment, we are planning on the basis of 200 participants.
What will the conference look like?
Over the course of three days, from Friday to Sunday, different workshops, inputs, simulations, games and social and cultural events will take place. The date of the conference will be the 16-18th of November with the venue being the Technical University of Vienna. The rooms will
comprise a big plenary room and several smaller seminar rooms. Opening, closing and single parts of the programme will take place in the large group, the rest in smaller groups. The conference will have English and German as working languages, with German taking the lead.
We invite people and organisations to contribute and design content-related or methodical inputs. Most of these inputs should be suitable for 25-30 participants, changes to that frame can be discussed with the organizational team. We are already collecting ideas and will open a formal call in a few weeks, in which you can gladly participate. Content-related contributions tackle topics of climate politics on several levels and the national, international and especially UN-institutions involved in it; yet, also the broader topics of youth participation, climate and environment. We will discuss the submitted program contributions and use them as a basis to compose a program that satisfies the requirements of a youth summit. For this reason, we hope for your understanding that we might not be able to consider all program contributions or that we will contact you to adapt your proposed inputs.
The program will include theoretical and participatory parts; we are working on the exact structure. In any case, there will be introductory inputs on UN-climate negotiations, political processes and the current state of affairs as well as one or more simulations of climate negotiations as a part requiring active participation. Since we find (climate-)communication, debate and media work important, we will collect appropriate contributions on storytelling, debating, argumentation, journalism and others. Here we have already built up contacts but will be very happy to hear from you – just like on the other topics – if you have useful contacts that you could forward to us. There will be inputs by scientists, motivated individuals, start-ups and civil society organisations, as well as interactive elements like resource games. A guideline for the inputs is being worked on. The aim of the contributions should be to inform about one’s own work or a different topic and connect this to a discussion in the same slot, if applicable complementing it with the sharing of tools. A secondary goal is also to share experiences from jobs in the sustainability sector with the youth present. The will be several activities taking place at the same time and on top of that some time for getting to know each other, networking and team building.
The third day will be also dedicated to writing a final output-document and spaces for the exchange between participants. The output-document will be complemented by a video about the conference and our core statements – demands, Ideas and assessments – and has the aim of making the common voice of the youth in Austria heard.
With whom are we working together?
We are currently in an intensive phase in which we are building up our network. We cooperate with organizations such as Global2000, Teach for Austria, Jugend-Umwelt-Plattform, Umweltbundesamt (Environment Agency Austria) and the Institut für Umwelt, Friede und Entwicklung (Institute for Environment, Peace and Development) and are building up contacts with further partners. Concerning youth organisations, we have or expect the support of the following: Student Innovation Centre, Ökosoziales Studierendenforum, Bundesjugendvertretung (Austrian National Youth Council), Oikos Vienna, Generation Earth of the WWF, Österreichische Jungbauerschaft and others. Supporting youth organisations allow the organizational team to use their name and logo in materials used in the organization of the conference and the promotion. With partner organisations we have a cooperation on networking, workshops, promotions and further collaborations to be determined. These organizations can be named as partners in our application.
How is the conference financed?
Through conducting the conference at a university with the support of the student representatives there, the cooperation with Foodsharing for the provision with food in addition to a catering and the own design of the future website and the photo and film-materials by people in our team we want to keep costs as low as possible. We are considering a low participation fee to enable us to plan better; as a premise, we do not want to exclude anyone or aim to cover the costs with it. We do not have a list of confirmed sponsors yet, but are working on it. We do not take money from organizations in party-politics or with links to the fossil fuel industry, in accordance with the values of CliMates. In a few weeks we want to launch a crowdfunding campaign. We are contacting sustainable businesses for the sponsoring of non-alcoholic beverages.
How can you contribute?
We will be very happy, if you decide to contribute an input. We will open the call in a couple of weeks, but you can already contact us with some first ideas. Additionally, we are always grateful for ideas concerning potential panellist or workshop leaders, since we want to make the conference as comprehensive, inclusive and balanced as possible. Should you have contacts, who would be interested to contribute, then please do not hesitate to contact In August we will start with the promotion of the event. You are welcome to support us with it. We imagine that you can include the conference in your newsletter, website and/or calender of events and share it on social media. For that we can provide a template and further information if required.
In case of questions you can always reach me by mail or under +43677/61639836. From: Naiara Costa <>

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