by Anna Violante

A delegation of 11 students from Trento, accompanied by experts, has been attending the climate negotiations in Dubai since 30th November to report on the events and discussions of COP28 for the Youth Press Agency, the online news outlet of Viraçao & Jangada. This association for the past 12 years has been taking a group of girls and boys to the UN climate talks to observe and report on what’s happening inside and outside the pavilions at the world’s biggest climate debate. Founded in Brazil in 2005 and now based in Trento, Italy, the association aims to promote a culture of participation and sustainability among young people through its international education and communication projects. The Youth Press Agency is where students publish their surveys and reports.

This year’s “investigative trip” was well prepared: the young reporters collected questions from their peers about the functioning and organisation of the conference, while 52 schools asked their 3,500 or so students to formulate their questions through a joint initiative of 47 cities between Italy and France called “My school at COP 28”, the results of which were finally broadcast live on Friday 10 November 2023.

On the Youth Press Agency, before reporting from events in Dubai, student journalists explained to their fellow students the doubts about the participation in COP 28 of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) for the first time in its history and what Haitham al-Ghais, OPEC’s Secretary General, said when confirming the organisation’s participation at COP28: “I hope that all voices will be heard at COP28. The oil industry will be there and we will be there with them”.

In another article, they describe what’s going on behind the scenes at the Conference and how COPs have had a significant impact on environmental change. Crucially, the Paris Agreement was signed at COP21 in 2015, underlining the need to step up efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Finally, they recall that at the heart of COP28 is the Loss and Damage Fund, a key pillar dating back to the 27th Conference of the Parties in Egypt. This fund, which addresses the impacts of climate change, particularly in the least developed countries, was a major achievement, the result of determined negotiations by the G77+China and persistent advocacy by the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS). COP27 established the need for the fund but left structural and procedural details unresolved. COP28 in Dubai seeks to address these issues and operationalise the embryonic fund, focusing on its implementation with a substantive agenda.

Daily reports from Dubai began on 30 November and continue to this day. As well as writing about the events, the students have also been contributing to the agency’s “Cose di COP” podcast. Articles and discussion comprise the assumption that Biodiversity Will Save the World, how climate justice cannot ignore women’s rights and the rights of future generations, together with the close relationship between intensive livestock farming and the climate crisis.

On the third day of the Conference an article was dedicated to Italian Prime Minister Meloni (the article was not translated into English, ed.), who addressed the heads of state and government of South American countries, divided over the farewell to fossil fuels, and Africa, attentive to the impact of climate change on health, and offered a financial contribution of one hundred million euros to the Loss and Damage Fund, placing Italy among the top contributors to it. Last Sunday, a topic close to young people’s hearts was in the news: the promotion of active mobility, i.e. the importance of walking and cycling in combating the climate crisis.

Finally, on Monday 4 December, the news was about Brazil’s victory as Fossil of the Day. While recalling that the members of the Climate Action Network (CAN) vote for the countries that have done the “best” to block progress in the negotiations in the last days, the author highlights that the reason for the award was Brazil’s announcement that it would join OPEC+, despite President Lula’s statement that it would do so to persuade oil-producing countries to invest in renewable fuels. COP 28 will be over in a week’s time, another week of reporting for the student journalists of the Youth Press Agency.

On the cover photo, The logo of the COP28 UAE on a green wall ©Maurice NORBERT/