11 November - Erasto Magamba - COP26

My Experience at COP26



  Erasto Magamba, Ugandan delegate to COP26



My COP26 experience started with COY16, the UN Climate Change Conference of Youth, where young people around the world came together to show what they are doing to fight against climate change.

At COY16 (which started just before COP26) I attended sessions about climate education, financing, activism, farming and agriculture. I think that my increased knowledge of these subjects will help me to mobilise youth in church when I go back to Uganda, as these are all issues which affect young people in our country. So far, our youth haven’t done enough about climate change. Once I return to Uganda, I hope to bring together a youth team focused on raising awareness of local ways to reduce the effects of climate change.

Being on different platforms talking about how youth should be involved in the fight against climate change has been good. In many countries, young people are not listened to and are considered troublemakers. Most importantly, young people need to be informed about climate financing and climate education so that we can act meaningfully in the context of the climate crisis.

However, I don’t think that COY16 has had much of an impact. I was able to network, take pictures and talk to people. Yet, people just talk about what they do – there are no tangible networks, only verbal commitments. Although I enjoyed myself, I realised that young people need to create our own annual interfaith Conference of Youth to bring the voices of religious youth around the globe together. If everything goes well, we shall have the first one next year before COP27 in Egypt. I had many conversations with other young Christians attending COP26 about this but I would like even more young people to be involved and faith organisations to support this event.

During COP26 I spent some time with religious leaders including the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of Central America, the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Archbishop of Canada. Archbishop Justin Welby and I talked about how young people in the global south, particularly in Africa, are suffering from the effects of climate change. I also met with the Deputy First Minister of Scotland, who encouraged me to continue working for climate justice and offered his support, regardless of what is promised at COP26.

Throughout the many events I attended, I was able to provide a Ugandan perspective on climate change. This has opened a big door for me to extend a collaboration with the Young Christian Climate Network and the Diocese of Kampala, which I will start work on immediately when I travel back to Uganda.

Erasto's visit to COP26 was facilitated by USPGTearfund, Christian Aidthe Scottish Episcopal Church and the Anglican Alliance.