Billy visiting Oslo for the Global Youth Partnership conference.

Billy visiting Oslo for the Global Youth Partnership Conference.

In March 2013, Billy from our partner organization Youth Environment Network – Zambia was in Oslo to participate in a conference organized by LNU. We couldn’t miss the chance to have him share some experiences with us, so we organized a workshop on North-South interaction and, for those who could not attend, we asked him to write this blog post!

First and foremost, YEN would like to thank SPIRE for hosting a successful North-South Climate Interaction which was held at Utviklingshuset on 6th March 2013. This event was made possible by both the International and the Climate Committees of SPIRE. Also the subsequent Global Youth Partnership Conference (GYP) organized by LNU, provided a unique opportunity to learn and share our projects in a more interactive way. Participating in the GYP conference helped us to learn from each other in a broader way and gave us a new perspective on how to implement our future projects.

YEN-Zambia as an active participant during COP meetings

YEN-Zambia, has quite an experience now when it comes to climate change and COP meetings as, since 2011, our organization has been actively engaged in all major COP meetings. Our efforts started in 2011 when we played a pivotal role in both the preparatory meetings for the ‘’We Have Faith” African Youth caravan and the actual Caravan process From Kenya to Durban, South Africa. During COP18 in DOHA, Qatar, YEN-Zambia participated as a party and one of our members, Evans Tembo, was invited to be part of the Zambian Delegation supporting the Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection and also assisting in formulating the Zambian’s position paper and the ministerial statement to the COP.  Our efforts are not only focused on UNFCCC COP’s but also on the Conference on Biological Diversity (CBD) COP’s were we had an opportunity to be part of the Zambian delegation for COP11 meetings which was hosted in Hyderabad, India in October, 2012. Please find below some of the suggestions on how we think YEN-Zambia and SPIRE’s Climate and International Committees can collaborate before and during the COP processes.

"We have faith" African Youth caravan. Photo by Karmen Meyer.

«We have faith» African Youth caravan.                       Photo by Karmen Meyer. 

Information sharing during the COP Build-up processes

During the North to South Interaction event it was clearly stated by both organizations that it will be important if SPIRE and YEN share more information concerning the preparation of the COP. This can be done during both country preparations and Bonn meetings, Bottom lining of the Youngo Committee and any other related key meetings. We support this idea and would like to see both our organizations initiate a strategy or work plan on information sharing. Other key issue we would like to discuss are:

–        Both our organizations should adopt or come up with specific policy issues to push during COP 19 in Poland. Specifically YEN has had an experience contributing in the Youngo’s Finance and Water policy groups since COP17. It will be important if SPIRE and YEN could continue to collaborate before and during the COP processes. This can effectively strengthen the partnership between both our climate change committees.

–        There should also be an enhanced information flow on climate change issues which can further be strenghtened through our websites, facebook, and twitter or any other social network platforms. This should lead to the publication of climate change brochures specifically on negotiation processes which can be used in both countries and especially here in the South (Zambia) where we have inadequate materials on such specific issue.


Since its inception, YEN-Zambia has had numerous challenges in fundraising for its members to attend the COP meetings. Lately, we have seen a slight improvement due to the recognition of our efforts by the Government of the republic of Zambia, through the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection. This has also lead to an inclusion of one YEN member on both the CBD COP and the UNFCCC COP meetings. In 2011 YEN-Zambia has had three of its members participating in the UNFCCC COP, held in Durban, South Africa, but in 2012 we only managed to have one member participating at COP18 in Doha, Qatar.

In order to collaborate more and have an increased Youth participation from the south in the COP meetings, YEN recommends that SPIRE should look at ways to do fundraising for more of YEN-Zambia’s members to be able to participate in the COP meetings. This can strengthen our collaboration on climate change issues both in the south and the north. Furthermore, this can also build utmost negotiation skills in YEN members and SPIRE’s.

Though we appreciate the already existing funding for Global south youth from the Norwegian Government, we would like to state that it has not been adequate enough to have a good number of Global South Youths participating in the COP meetings as compared to the Global North Youths who usually have the opportunity to attend the COP in large numbers.

Capacity Building Workshops

We would like to put forward the idea to organize or host two big ‘capacity building’ workshops in Zambia, with YEN members and SPIRE members, on an annual or bi-annual base.

This suggestion may seem a bit ambitious for a start, but we thought it would be interesting and could bring about enhanced skills in climate negotiation processes and ultimately raise more climate leaders advocating for better policies whilst influencing decision making at the local, national and international level. During these workshops we can also bring on board some of our local negotiators or officers from the ministry of the environment, who are specifically in charge of the climate change department. This can be a great opportunity to build our synergies with the Government whilst influencing policy change.

North-South Climate Interaction: Anette Plassen (Spire), Billy Lombe (YEN) and Kinya Kiunga (Peace Corps Kenya).

North-South Climate Interaction: Anette Plassen (Spire), Billy Lombe (YEN) and Kinya Kiunga (Peace Corps Kenya).

In conclusion we hope this can help in improving the collaboration between SPIRE and YEN in Climate change issues and also on our International work. But if you have any other ideas or suggestions we will be glad to hear from you and see how they can improve our work here in Zambia.

Our Climate Change group and the rest of the YEN team are more than happy to work with SPIRE’s groups on such an important issue and we look forward to a successful collaboration.

Written by Billy Lombe, Leader of YEN-Zambia