Questions about the COP22 delegation

What is COP22?

COP22 is the 22nd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It is the main annual meeting of all nations under the UNFCCC to build and strengthen intergovernmental climate policy. COP22 will be from November 7-18, 2016, in Marrakech, Morocco.

What is SustainUS?

At SustainUS, we believe that young people should have a voice in the policy decisions that will shape our future. We are a youth-led organization and have worked for years to build youth delegations to advocate for justice and sustainability in United Nations meetings on sustainable development, climate change, eradicating poverty, biodiversity loss, and women’s rights.

What does the delegation do? 

We work to advance climate justice both at the UN and domestically. We work from within and without, lobbying and putting direct pressure on the US government with direct actions and stories that shift the narrative on international climate politics. We work directly with youth and civil society climate leaders from all over the world, from policy groups like CAN-International to frontline groups like the Indigenous Environmental Network and the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance. We develop our own voices, working with international media from Democracy Now to the Guardian to AP.

In Morocco, we will live in a collective house, building the community needed to undertake strategic actions, direct advocacy and alternative storytelling on a world stage. 

What does the commitment look like?

The delegation will begin work in mid-June, and spend the months before COP22 building relationships and preparing our advocacy platform. You can expect ~3 hours a week of work during this time, plus at least 1 weekend-long team retreat. We will travel to Marrakech, Morocco in early November, and attend COP22 from November 7-18, 2016. After COP22 the majority of the team will remain engaged with SustainUS and UNFCCC advocacy, with some choosing to attend inter-sessional negotiations. We will also play a role in shaping the program moving forward and choosing next year’s delegates.

Who are you looking for?

We are looking for a team of action-oriented climate justice organizers, advocates and storytellers, aged 18-29. We are looking for risk-takers. For young people who are not afraid to challenge themselves. This isn’t based on your resume, but on your willingness to jump to the next level in the work you do.

How do I apply?

First step: Our call for interest was open through April 12. We have now closed this phase of the application, but will consider late entrants to the challenge on request. Please email Morgan Curtis, our COP22 Delegation Leader, to explore this possibility.

Second step: Start the creative challenge! You only need to publish one work to be considered active in the process. Of course, we encourage you to do as much as time allows, and the more you challenge yourself to create, the better chance you’ll have to join our team.

Is there any cost to participation?

We strive to ensure finance will never be a barrier for your participation in a SustainUS delegation. We seek grant funding as a group and will support you to fundraise individually through crowd-funding or seeking support from your university or employer. Costs include housing, travel and food.

What are the eligibility requirements?

SustainUS is a US youth organization. To join our work, you must either be a US Citizen, or currently living in the United States. So you can be living abroad and participate if you are also a US citizen, or you could not be a citizen but must have US residency. Additionally, you must be between 18-29 years of age on Nov 1st, 2016.

Questions about the creative challenge

What is the creative challenge?

This year the application process for our youth delegation to the UN Climate Negotiations is a creative storytelling challenge to write op-eds and generate creative media. We will work with you to tell your own story about why you engage in the movements for climate justice, as well as to amplify narratives that support a just transition from a fossil fuel energy system.

What is the timeline for the challenge?

For two months, from April 12 – June 5, the creative challenge window is open. The first round, a personal storytelling challenge, is mandatory, after which we invite you to begin the second round. During the challenge we are hosting webinars and providing resources to jog your brain and support you to deepen your storytelling skills. You’ll send us things you create during that time. Our final delegation will be selected by mid-June from those actively participating in the challenge.

I missed the April 12 application deadline – can I still take part?

We have now closed our initial call for interest, but will consider late entrants to the challenge on request. Please email Morgan Curtis, our COP22 Delegation Leader, to explore this possibility.

What counts in the creative challenge?

Surprise us! We’re open to your creativity. We are encouraging people to publish their writing (think opinion editorials!) and engage in action media (think photography, videography, podcasts, press-releases, and creative social media!)

Can I submit something I’ve already published? Can I submit something I’m working on for class/work/my campaign?

We would like for your creative challenge entries to be published during the window April 12 – June 5. As long as your work fits under the prompts (first round, second round), and is published during this window, we would love to see it. Exceptions may be possible — email Morgan Curtis, our COP22 Delegation Leader, with any queries.

We are hoping that this challenge pushes you to take your media-making to the next level – so if you have to write something similar for class – then adapt it for a regional newspaper. If you’re already performing a poem – then record it and upload the video to a blog. Make this challenge your chance to amplify your work beyond your regular comfort zone.

What are the minimum requirements?

You only need to publish one work (responding to the first round prompt) to be considered active in the process. You should send it to us using this submission form. Of course, we encourage you to go as deep as time allows, and the more you challenge yourself in this process, the better chance you’ll have to join our team to COP22 in Morocco.

What if I’m not particularly creative?

You don’t need to identify as a strong writer or deeply creative to excel in this challenge. Whether your most public writing has only been in the form of Facebook posts, or if you’re a grad school policy wonk, or a seasoned movement builder — everyone has the ability to join our team through showing a willingness to challenge yourself.

What will I gain from the challenge?

Everyone who goes through this process will deepen their personal storytelling skills, as well as skills working with the media. Our first round webinars covered why we tell stories, how to pitch your writing to media outlets, and how to integrate media into action planning. We will also have webinars that cover the movement narratives we’re already working on — international trade as a climate issue, deep decarbonization planning, climate impacts and displacement. Everyone will have a chance to deepen their skills and learn about international climate justice struggles.

How do I submit something I have published/created?

Use this form to submit your work. You can submit as many times as you wish. Just make sure to use your same name every time so we can collect them all!

Can you give me some examples of opinion editorials and creative media?

Yes! We’re really proud of the work of our delegates over the years. Here are a few golden examples — from international news to self-created content and campus publications.