Jan Szlązak (Poland)
Masters Student in Climate Policy and Energy
Jan is a Masters student in Global Energy and Climate Policy at SOAS University. He is actively engaged in YOUNGO ACE and Adaptation Working Groups. His areas of interest include the just energy transition from fossil fuels to more sustainable sources and the conservation of wildlife. Jan helped create the Polish Youth Climate Council, operating with the Polish Ministry of Climate and Environment. Currently, he aims to create a new youth-led organization focusing on the promotion of climate education among polish children and climate action through performative arts.
Partner Delegates (alphabetical order by country)
Head of Delegation
GYDI is proud to convene its International Youth Delegation for COP26 to be held from 31 October to 12 November 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland.
COP26 was originally scheduled to take place in 2020, however it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, despite the many challenges facing participation, it will be the first in-person session of the UNFCCC since those delays. These circumstances place the event under additional pressure; many key outcomes are needed, including an increase in climate finance, a raising of collective ambitions for national GHG emissions reduction targets, and the design and adoption of a new Work Programme to guide implementation of Action for Climate Empowerment.
Difficulties aside, GYDI maintains the importance for members of civil society - "Observers" to the UNFCCC - to engage alongside the deliberations conducted by governments. Their perspectives and recommendations, especially those of young people, contribute new ideas and solutions to the process; meanwhile, they also promote transparency and accountability of the process by following and reporting on the discussions.
Read on below to learn more our Delegation and its Delegates! For more information on COP26 itself, please check here.
Haley Crim (United States)
Coordinating Team Member
U.S. ACE Coalition
Source of Accreditation: Omega Institute
Haley is a climate justice advocate and passionate proponent of ACE. She has worked on both federal and civil society climate empowerment and capacity-building efforts in the U.S. As a member of the Coordinating Team of the U.S. ACE Coalition, a group of U.S. based organizations and individuals working towards just, efficient, all-of-society action, she coordinates national conversations around ACE. Haley facilitated the U.S. ACE Dialogues in 2020, bringing together over 200 ACE and climate justice-focused organizations and individuals to inform the creation of a community-driven strategic framework for ACE in the U.S., and has published several articles around ACE and participatory policy design for just climate action.
The Delegation is divided between those attending directly with GYDI and those Partner Delegates who are attending on badges provided by other admitted Observer organizations, but one are otherwise fulling all the same requirements.
Coordinating all COP26 activities, as the Head of Delegation, is the organization's Founder & President, Timothy Damon.
Disha Sarkar (India)
ACE Working Group Member
Disha is a youth climate advocate and a member of YOUNGO’s ACE Working Group. She was Co-Chair of the International Youth Conference 2021 organized by Generation Next Network, USA and the UN Department of Global Communication; convened “Mentorship Circles” providing Capacity Building Opportunities to college students on Green Jobs; served as a Coordinator for the virtual ACE Youth Forum 2021; and organized “Leveraging ACE: A Multistakeholder Perspective” as a Side Event of the Asia Pacific Climate Week 2021. She previously represented GYDI as a Virtual Delegate during the UNFCCC’s online Subsidiary Bodies session held in May-June 2021.
Meet the Delegates
The Delegates of GYDI were chosen from among 108 applications received from 53 countries.
Together, they represent an impact-oriented team of young leaders who are driving climate action both in their communities and within the global arena, where youth and other actors across the world join to combat the climate crisis.
While some Delegates have prior experience with UNFCCC engagement, others are new. Accordingly, GYDI provides comprehensive capacity building and mentoring - based on 10+ years of related experience - in order to ensure all Delegates are fully prepared for effective participation during COP26. The stakes are too high for anything less.
Ma. Cecilia Quaglino (Argentina)
Environmental Communication Strategies Coordinator
Fundación Nueva Generación Argentina (FNGA)
Cecilia is a passionate climate activist in Fridays For Future Argentina. She organized the last L-COY 2021 (Local Conference of Youth) in Argentina and coordinated the elaboration of the Argentine Youth Statement on Climate Change. Thanks to this, she has recently been elected a National Delegate for COY16. Following studies on Environmental Engineering (UCA), she worked on the first microplastics research in her region, published in 2020 in the reputable Springer Journal. She Currently works as an Environmental Communication Strategies Coordinator for a local foundation (FNGA). As of 2020, thanks to the Global Shapers Community, she has been trained by former vice-president and Nobel Prize recipient Al Gore as a Climate Reality Leader.
Saoirse Exton (Ireland)
Fridays for Future | Irish Second-Level Students’ Union
Climate Activist | Equality Officer
Saoirse, 16, is a climate and student activist with Fridays for Future. She is also a member of the Global Youth and Mayors Forum with C40, which aims to create an Intergenerational dialogue between youth activists and world leaders, and is in her second year as Equality Officer of the Irish Second-Level Students’ Union, where she campaigns at the forefront of decision-making in Ireland on intersectionality and accessibility for every second-level student. She is also active in the Irish Environmental Protection Agency’s Youth Advisory Group, the National Youth Council of Ireland’s Young People’s Committee, the European Youth Parliament, and the upcoming COY16 as a delegate and Ireland’s Country Coordinator.
GYDI Delegates (alphabetical order by country)
Timothy is experienced from joining 7 COPs and 6 SBs in person since 2011, having participated with multiple NGOs and also supported the delegations of several Parties. A former Focal Point of YOUNGO from 2016 and a current Co-Focal Point of ECOS, he remains deeply committed to empowering the next generations of young people entering the UNFCCC process and striving to implement climate action back in their national contexts.
Sashagay Middleton (Antigua & Barbuda)
Chief Executive Officer
Sasha has been an avid climate defender for many years and has keen interest in accelerating her twin island state’s development to reduce the impacts of climate change. Currently, Sasha is the Chief Executive Officer for the Antigua and Barbuda Marine Ecosystems Protected Area Trust Inc. (MEPA Trust) which is one of ten National Conservation Trust Funds set up throughout the Caribbean region to support conservation activities through grant making. She is also a voluntary member of the National Steering Committee for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Program(SGP) for over 9 years, where she is responsible for providing financial and technical support to community projects that conserve and restore the environment; while enhancing community development, empowerment and livelihoods of the groups.
About the Delegation
Hazal Aylin Kara (Turkey)
Climate Justice Activist
Fridays For Future Movement
Hazal is an intersectional climate activist working with Fridays For Future Digital, Youth For Climate Turkey, and Fridays For Future International’s Newsletter. She is currently coordinating a campaign dedicated to pressure Turkey to ratify the Paris Agreement, alongside being involved in a campaign to implement climate education into Turkish curricula. She serves as editing coordinator in the Newsletter For Future as well as website and press outreach coordinator in FFF Digital.
Jin Tanaka (Japan)
University Student Chamber International
Tanaka is an exclusive member of Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Branch Representative of UN ECOSOC Special Consultative Non-Government Organization, University Student Chamber International. His research focuses on social communication by environmental dialogue and systems of natural conservation areas like geopark and UNESCO eco-park. He researches international conservation mechanisms of geo-park and eco-park provided by UNESCO.
Joanita Babirye (Uganda)
Girls For Climate Action
Joanita is a Co-founder at Girls For Climate Action a movement that is putting young women and girls at the forefront of climate action. She also trains young ‘greenpreneurs’ to start green innovations and scale. She serves as the UN Women youth Action Coalition leader under Generation Equality on Feminist Action For Climate Justice and at the same time the focal person for the We Are Tomorrow Global Partnership to advocate for the engagement of youths in policy formulation, strengthening and implementation. Joanita is an ardent climate justice advocate and also serves as an ambassador at the Africa Youth Climate Hub.
Camila González Colistro (Mexico)
Youth Trainee Mentor
Camila is an avid human rights advocate and climate activist, specializing in the defense of the principles of equity and justice. She helped organise the first climate strikes in Mexico and coordinated the expansion of the climate movement in her country. She is currently a youth trainee mentor with the POP Movement, where she advocates for intersectionality and the inclusion of minorities in the efforts for global leadership. Presently, Camila is working on the implementation of a youth activism training program that seeks to educate and empower Latin American youth on the importance of sustainable human development, pushing for greater informed involvement of the youth in the political sector.
Rufaro Nyasha Matsika (Zimbabwe)
Community Development Research Officer
African Youth Initiative on Climate Change - Zimbabwe
Source of Accreditation: Government of Zimbabwe
Rufaro is a Climate Change scientist who currently volunteers as a Community Development Research Officer at the African Youth Initiative on Climate Change Zimbabwe, and also a member of YOUNGO's ACE Working Group. She has been involved in a number of Mitigation and Adaptation projects, as well as the NDC revision process. She is part of the UNFCCC Roster of Experts responsible for the Technical expert review of Biennial Update Reports submitted by non-Annex 1 parties to the UNFCCC. She is currently training to become a GreenHouse Gas Inventory expert under the Energy sector, responsible for developing Zimbabwe's Greenhouse Gas inventories, through the UNFCCC and GreenHouse Gas Management Institute. She has been involved in the GHG data migration from IPCC software to the new Climsoft software, a step towards reporting under the ETF and preparation for the Global Stocktake. She is a published author in the Journal of Cleaner Production on Circular economy.
Max van Deursen (Netherlands)
PhD Student in International Climate Policy
Source of Accreditation: Wageningen University
Max is a PhD student in International Climate Policy at Wageningen University. His engagement in youth climate action and advocacy includes a two-year term as the official Dutch Youth Representative on Sustainable Development to the United Nations for the Netherlands, as well as founding the sustainable travel movement Miles that Matter. By pursuing a master’s degree in Climate Studies and following an internship at the UNFCCC, Max has gained in-depth knowledge on UNFCCC negotiations and believes that youth should actively engage in and scrutinize these processes to enable ambitious climate action. Max has particular interest in capacity-building and transparency processes under the Paris Agreement.
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