UN Youth Environmental Conference: a global discussion about environmental protection for student leaders

Describe your selected CAS experience or project.
Beyond fulfilling the Zero Waste lifestyle for two years, I started acting to solve urgent global warming issues at school through the Eco-Council in 11th grade. As the vice president, I helped Dwight earn the “Eco-schools Green Flag” collaborating with other members and Ms. Heather.

To learn more about and voice my opinions on the Climate Crisis, I participated in the 2021 UN Youth Environmental Conference from 8/10/2021 to 9/5/2021. The UN Youth Environmental Conference, hosted by the UN Environment Program and World Federation of United Nations, aims to provide opportunities for future leaders to deepen their understanding about global environmental agendas and raise awareness about environmental protection.

In this conference, I helped draw up a UN resolution on the Climate Crisis and Zero-Waste by discussing resolutions and action plans to reduce industrial waste. As a council, we agreed that reducing industrial waste is the fundamental solution to global warming as industrial waste consists of over 60% of all waste and causes greenhouse gas emissions. We deduced 9 operative clauses, one of which encouraged organized partnerships between developed and developing countries for sharing recycling technologies and information. Think together and act now to combat the climate crisis!

Young Ju online at MUN.

Describe your successes and challenges within this experience or project.
As the representative of Nigeria in the UN Youth Environmental Conference, I researched about the economic and environmental circumstance/issue of Nigeria. This was definitely eye-opening as I learned about the recycling systems and their consequent problems in developing countries compared to developed countries. I was also pleasantly surprised by how knowledgeable and well-versed the other participants were, which resulted in high-quality discussions and realistic resolutions that combat climate change. Although the resolutions were deduced by global young leaders, as this conference was hosted by former UN Secretary General Mr. Ki Moon Ban and UNEP, we are expecting our resolutions to be officially delivered to the UN Environmental Program.

The biggest challenge for me was completing the 3-week research process of the pre-mission program and participating in the 10-hour main conference as it overlapped with my preparation for the G12 assessment week. Nonetheless, this was a meaningful experience as I realized that climate change is a significantly more urgent and catastrophic issue than I thought. Thinking about this issue on a global scale with peers helped me realize that there are practical steps countries can take to prevent further climate change. These need to be implemented immediately and collaboratively across all countries.

Describe how you met one of your selected learning outcomes within this experience or project.

Selected outcome: Global Engagement 
This CAS experience helped me demonstrate issues with global significance as I explored how countries can collaborate to reduce industrial waste and ultimately prevent further climate change. I did so by researching the status quo on industrial waste, particularly for Nigeria, and sharing ideas on how all nations can effectively reduce industrial waste with delegates of other countries. The resolutions we have suggested could have great impact should they be shared with people who have the authority to implement them – such as delegates in the UN. In the conference, we also discussed actions we can take as individuals to reduce waste in our lives, and this helped me contribute as an individual to solving the global issue of climate change. For example, when ordering food during the conference, our group ensured that we were ordering from food distribution companies that did not use disposable plastics.

YoungJu is a Grade 12 student at Dwight School Seoul.