In the framework of the 2010 UN International Year of Youth, the 11th edition (12-19 September) of the University of Youth and Development (UYD) focussed on sustainable development and linked this to human rights and the fulfilment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s). The UYD is a joint activity organised by the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe, the Spanish Government (INJUVE), The Spanish Youth Council (CJE) and the European Youth Forum (YFJ). They bring together representatives of youth organisations and youth movements from all over the world and gather in the CEULAJ (Euro-Latin-American Youth Centre) to discuss, train and be trained and to take political action around the main issues on the global agenda. With more than 10 partners and almost 300 participants the UYD covered 12 workshops, meetings and training courses, of which the International preparatory meeting on the COP 16, organized by YFJ, was one. In that prep meeting, JEF was represented by Angelique Vandekerckhove (President JEF Belgium). The meeting covered European as well as Latin-American and Caribbean youth representation, which gave the group talks a dynamic and energetic twist. Besides scientific and political crash courses on climate change, we discussed on the role of youth and learned lobbying techniques through UN simulations. The last days we focussed upon fostering participation in Latin America and the Caribbean, strengthening regional movements and the role of national youth climate networks in this process, as to end with a strategy towards the COP 16. It was very enriching to get into contact with different youth organisations and potential partners for cooperation on the, utmost federal, climate change topic and share experiences on global & European youth work. In the final declaration of the 11th UYD, which will be addressed to the Heads of States, we demand “a global, fair, adequate and legally binding agreement to combat climate change” and emphasise that youth, consisting of nearly half of the world’s population, demands to be seen as key actors for development. This declaration shows the importance of cooperation between young people and youth workers from different regions and backgrounds, because we only have one world, our world. And although JEF will not be represented on the COP 16, we should express our concern by taking a firm stand by writing a resolution on environmental (good) governance and organising a creative pan-European street action, preferably in cooperation with national or local youth climate coalitions.
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