Volunteering for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 23) in November 2017, Germany

Volunteering for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 23) in November 2017, Germany

The contribution of volunteers — through hard work and advocacy efforts — sustains the positive tone for this international effort to protect our global environment. Approximately 20,000 delegates from around the world, representing governments, civil society, the private sector, inter-governmental bodies and other non-Party stakeholders will gather in Bonn for the COP to advance the aims and ambitions of the Paris Agreement and achieve progress on its implementation guidelines.

UNFCCC COP 23 Bonn

Interested in helping to save the planet?  United Nations Volunteers (UNV), in collaboration with the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement (UNFCCC), is accepting applications for volunteers to play a key role in the organisation and facilitation of the 2017 UN Climate Change Conference, COP 23, which will take place 6-17 November in Bonn, Germany.  Additional information regarding the Conference can be found on the UNFCCC website.

For COP 23, UN Volunteers will be recruiting more than 650 volunteers to support a wide range of operational tasks throughout the event. Activities range from working with the City of Bonn to guiding visitors (e.g. hotel receptions, guidance to the venue, ‘Ask Me’ personnel), to supporting the conference within both venues (Bula and Bonn zones) as side events and exhibits assistants or registration desk support, working on sustainability and greening projects, as ushers, room assistants, note-takers, or ICT and information desk clerks, just to name a few.

Additionally, beyond the event, volunteers are encouraged to become sustainability ambassadors in their communities. They will have access to ideas and resources that will enable them to launch sustainable development initiatives in and around Bonn that will have a lasting impact for years to come. Seed funding will allow volunteers to contribute to the creation of a positive legacy of COP 23 by setting up community gardens or recycling projects, for example, or any number of other local activities.  We believe the COP will inspire creative ideas that are relevant to your own communities.

Volunteers will take part in targeted trainings designed to provide an understanding of the issues surrounding climate change, through discussions on “Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” and the Paris Agreement, as well as information about the vision and mandate for COP 23. Task-specific training will also be organised to empower volunteers to successfully carry out their work at the event. Representatives from UNFCCC, UNV, the Federal Foreign Office (AA), the Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the City of Bonn, and other key contributors will participate as speakers throughout the training sessions.

What we are looking for:

Age: Candidates should be at least 18 years of age.

Educational background: Candidates with an academic or professional background related to sustainable development, international relations, law, business or public administration, environmental studies, social sciences or other specialised fields are especially encouraged to apply.

Language skills: Working knowledge of English is required. Working knowledge of another official United Nations language is an advantage. Working knowledge of German is an asset.

Professional knowledge and job-related skills: Candidates should have a demonstrated ability to work well as part of a team. They should also demonstrate tact and good judgement. Previous volunteering experience is an asset.

Most importantly, candidates should be highly motivated and eager to contribute to climate action!

Special efforts will be made to ensure the inclusion of vulnerable groups, including refugees, people from least developed countries and small island developing States, and persons with disabilities. Preference will be given to those available for all event dates. However, applications will also be accepted from those with limited availability.

Please note that visa assistance (including letters of support) will not be provided. Volunteers must ensure their own legal status in-country. Furthermore, volunteers must secure their own travel and accommodation, and cover all living expenses.

Registration will open on Monday, 18 September 2017.  For the latest information about the call for volunteers, please visit the UNV and UNFCCC websites.

Linking Climate Action to the SDGs key to achieving the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement

By Hilary Ogbonna, Programme Specialist & Africa and Arab States Focal Point, UN SDG Action Campaign

Check out SDGs and Climate Action Events at COP23 from 6-17 November 2017

The year 2015 was a landmark for international development cooperation. The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction by Member States was an indication of the political will to end poverty and human suffering, whilst protecting the environment upon which present and future generations depend for their existence and survival. These agendas and frameworks are particularly complementary and will require coordinated actions at local, national and global levels to achieve.

As national implementation of these global instruments begins, the need to ensure linkages between the SDGs and Climate Action was the centre of discussions at the Climate Change Conference (SB46) in Bonn, Germany. The focus of the Global Experts Meeting on Adaptation at the conference was exploring strategies that will promote a cohesive national implementation framework which ensures that Climate Action contributes to the achievement of the SDGs.

The ravaging effects of climate change constitute a major threat to achieving the SDGs. Climate change poses substantial risks to agriculture, health, water supplies, food production, nutrition, ecosystems, energy security, and infrastructure. Across the regions of Africa, Asia and the Latin America and the Caribbean, there have been continuous changes in weather patterns that have led to low agricultural yields impacting negatively on food security, livelihoods and incomes. In the Horn of Africa, UN Agencies have reported that famine induced by drought is threatening the lives and well-being of more than 10 million people in Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti and Eritrea. The shrinking of Lake Chad over the past three decades apart from affecting livelihoods, has also served as a driving force to the terrorist insurgency and insecurity affecting Nigeria, Chad, Cameroun and Niger. In a similar vein, coastal erosions occasioned by rise in sea levels continue to ravage Small Islands nations impacting on tourism, infrastructure and the socio-economic fabrics of the populations.

Based on the foregoing, it is important to note that national efforts at ensuring adaptation and building resilience to climate change can only flourish if there is a concerted strategy and action to implement the SDGs across sectors. The embedding of a stand-alone goal on climate change (Goal 13) in the SDGs is a recognition of this complimentary and re-enforcing nexus. The same situation is also applicable to other related goals such as building resilient infrastructure and promoting sustainable industrialisation and innovation (Goal 9); making cities and human settlements safe and sustainable (Goal 11); ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns (Goal 12); conserve and sustainably use marine resources (Goal 14) and protect, restore and sustainably use land resources, combating deforestation, desertification and biodiversity loss (Goal 15).

It is imperative to note that without coordinated and collaborative approaches at linking Climate Action and SDGs programs in terms of national implementation strategies, institutional coordination, financing, monitoring, evaluation and reporting, any little gain made in one could easily be eroded by the inaction in the other.

The UN SDG Action Campaign has a unique mandate to do mobilisation, awareness creation, monitoring SDGs implementation, inspiring actions with innovations and data, and building partnerships and capacity at national and local levels will be focusing on drawing these linkages in our programs and partnerships. The Campaign will work across our partners in the UN System, Member States, civil society, private sector and innovators to ensure that the nexus between Climate Action and the SDGs continues to influence policy development, implementation, review and reporting at all levels. The Campaign will deploy its tools and comparative advantages in promoting citizens’ voices and facilitating dialogues through MY World Survey and the Humans of My World, promoting platforms for advancing and sharing best practices such as the Global Festival of Ideas for Sustainable Development and the use of technology and innovations to share human stories, build empathy and inspire actions.