Every year, a young Swiss participates as a member of the Swiss delegation at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP). His*her mission is to represent the interests of Swiss youth on climate policy issues at the United Nations. This is made possible by the Climate Youth Delegate project. Furthermore, the Climate Youth Delegate will raise awareness in Switzerland on the themes of the UN and the climate crisis. This promotes the active participation of young people in international politics and strengthens their voice in climate policy.
The Climate Youth Delegate volunteers for a period of two years. For the first 18 months, his*her role is to represent youth at the international level and to manage raising awareness activities on the national level. For the last six months, he*she assists his*her successor as a coach.
Switzerland has been a member of the United Nations since 2002. In collaboration with the FDFA and the Federal social insurance office (until 2006), the SNYC started a new project in 2003: the Youth Reps. Since then, three young people are recruited each year to represent Swiss youth in the context of an international youth participation program at the United Nations.
The "Climate Youth Delegate" project was developed on the basis of the Youth Rep project. Among the many international challenges such as peace, food security and migration, one is particularly important: the climate crisis. The effects of climate change are significant at the local, national and international levels. Due to the urgency of the climate crisis, the SNYC launched the new project "Climate Youth Delegate" in 2022 in collaboration with the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN). This mandate was created as a follow-up to global efforts to involve youth in the UN climate negotiations.
The Climate Youth Delegate is elected for a period of two years and commits to being active during this period. During the first 18 months, his*her role is to represent young people at the international level and raise awareness, while the last semester consists of coaching and accompanying the new Climate Youth Delegate. This does not mean that he*she will not be able to participate in conferences and outreach events during the second half of his*her term. However, priority is given to the new Climate Youth Delegate. For 6 months, the Climate Youth Delegates' commitments overlap in a junior-senior system, which allows for an ideal handover.