Mervyn grateful for COP23 experience

Broderick Mervyn, Fiji representative to COP23 Timoci Naulusala, his  mother Raijieli Tinai and reigning Miss South Pacific, Anne Dunn pictured in Bonn, Germany. Photo: SUPPLIED.

By ANA SOVA

Fiji Youth advocate, Broderick Mervyn was one of the youths fortunate enough to attend the Conference of Parties (COP23) from the 31st of October to 16th November held in Bonn, Germany.

The University of the South Pacific student had also attended the 13th Conference of Youths (COY13) as part of the Fiji-Germany Youth Exchange Program and representative of Project Survival Pacific.

Mervyn said the experience opened his eyes to the enormity of the issues surrounding climate change, the great international efforts from communities, Non-Government Organisations and governments going on around the world to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

“UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) provided an unmatched opportunity to learn about the current environmental challenges and unique resiliency practices shared by young people with different cultures.  Each day was filled with events from leading experts in water, technology, conflict-negotiation to agriculture and sustainability,” Mervyn said.

He said the sense of urgency and responsibility around in these participating countries was great.

“The creativity, complexity and charisma of young people completely captivated me. My experience with the delegation affirmed that our work to preserve and protect the environment is critical even in the face of other pressing issues. The world needs informed sustainability practitioners with global perspectives,” Mervyn said.

He said many young people have returned home with a greater understanding of where Fiji sits internationally, and more importantly how Fiji is seen by the global community.

“The sense of urgency was enforced through meeting those whose communities are on the front line of climate change. From delegates representing Sweden and Norway who are witnessing ice melt and rising temperatures in the Arctic, to our Pacific neighbors, including delegates from the Marshall Islands whose home is only two meters above sea level at its highest point.  From rising sea levels to heightened temperatures, the impact of climate change endangers the very existence of island nations across the Pacific Ocean,” Mervyn said.

He adds attending the COP23 has helped him continue his advocacy to promote youth participation in sustainable development discussions.

“I have been participating in various side events on youth and climate change as well as connecting with youth constituents at the conference,” Mervyn said.

He said he was also privileged to be part of the first ever, Climate Law and Governance Specialization workshop which focused on raising awareness and strengthening capacity on the legal and institutional climate reforms and frameworks.

“For me studying law at the University of the South Pacific, this was a big boost for my experience in the law field”.

Mervyn thanked Project Survival Pacific and the Fijian – German Youth Exchange Program for the wonderful opportunity to given to him to represent his country on one of the most pressing issues of the 21st century, climate change.