COP18: Arab nations must lead on ambition in Doha

By Ahmed Younis

The AYCM call on Arab nations to take a lead on climate change at the UNFCCC COP18 talks (Source: AYCM/Facebook)

For the first time in the history of the UN climate negotiations, COP18 will witness a strong representation from the Arab youth.

Earlier this month, climate activists joined forces from more than 15 countries across theMiddle Eastto speak the voice of Arab nations under the name of “Arab Youth Climate Movement”.

We have shaped our identity as an independent body working to create a generation-wide movement across the Middle East & North Africa to solve the climate crisis.

We aim to assess and support the establishment of legally binding agreements to deal with climate change within international negotiations.

Over the past two years, the civil society and youth-led movements have been growing in the region. We have been calling for better living conditions and we are now calling for a more sustainable future.

Having suffered from extreme weather events, unreliable fossil-fuel-based energy supply, decreasing fresh water resources, Arab nations no longer take their oil for granted.

COP18, the first time a conference is hosted by an Arab state, has a lot of significance to the youth climate activists in the region. We believe this time we have a bigger chance to be heard and to reach out to our negotiators.

Established in the lead up to the UNFCCC COP18 Doha negotiations, AYCM members believe this is the right time to join forces with climate activists across the Arab World in order to have a strong representation of Arab civil society in the international climate change negotiations.

Aiming at building a strong movement and making our presence felt from the Gulf to theAtlantic, the AYCM coordinators have worked on building the movement within our own countries and reaching out for other countries in the region.

We have already spread into sixteen countries; namely Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, and United Arab Emirates.

We will be in Qatar to show that Arab civil society is observing the official stands of our states with high anticipation.

We do not want such stands to obstruct attempts to switch to fossil-free economies, nor do we want these stands to focus on collecting funds without a clear vision about how to use them.

Instead, the Arab youth expect our negotiators to take the lead towards reaching real solutions.

We hope for a second commitment period to Kyoto Protocol, with clear commitments to bind top contributors to greenhouse gases emissions during the next few years.

We will be calling for the average global temperature to peak in the near future, before it is too late.

Ahmed Younis is a member of the Arab Youth Climate Movement, which includes youth from across Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Jordan, Iraq, Qatar and Oman.

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