What is COP?

COP stands for Conference of the Parties. Since 1995 countries have been meeting under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to co-ordinate international efforts to address climate change and hold each other to account for their emissions reduction commitments. Each year they debate the progress that has been made and negotiate additional measures to combat climate change.

In 2015 the Paris Agreement was finalised. Since then the climate talks have been focussed on how this agreement will be implemented. In December 2018, the rules and guidelines for how the Paris Agreement were largely finished

This year COP will be hosted in Chile where the agenda will focus on increasing ambition and finalising parts of the Paris Rulebook as well as progressing a range of other climate change related measures.

Non-governmental organisations, indigenous peoples, and youth attend the climate talks to pressure global leaders to make the right decisions and claim space for climate justice.

Why does Te Ara Whatu attend?

Climate change has drastically altered what it means to be a young person in this time in history.  While governments and communities tackle climate change, it’s crucial indigenous peoples and frontline communities are centred within the global solutions put forward.

We show up at COP to hold governments to account for indigenous rights and speak truth to our experience of colonisation. We show up in solidarity with mana whenua in the COP host region and demand just solutions for our communities.

This year, we will continue pushing for countries’ decisions at COP that uphold our rights and reflect climate justice. We will also be focussing on communicating the experience of COP and telling the stories of those who are attending across a range of mediums and platforms. The third component of our mahi will be acting in solidarity with our indigenous whanaunga in South America.

A day in the life of COP

On a day to day level COP can look like a mix of:

  • Morning caucus of the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change

  • Breaking out into work teams to follow different segments of the negotiations

  • Creating articles, stories, press releases and interviewing people

  • Meeting with government negotiators to advocate for indigenous rights

  • Providing space with other young indigenous people to come together to process the experience and connect with each other

  • Working with other frontline and climate justice organisations to co-ordinate actions and protests