Taiwan Youth Climate Coalition (TWYCC)

Where – Taipei, Taiwan. There are 2 informal offices in Taipei (provided by supportive partners of TWYCC). Those involved are mostly from Taipei in the north, which is where the co-founders are based and where the most actively involved student population is, at National Taiwan University (NTU). There are also some people from Kaohsiung in the south who are involved because this city is part of ICLEI (local governments for sustainability) so they support and work with TWYCC as part of their focus on climate change efforts.

When – meetings on 23rd October 2014 with co-founders and on 25th October with current members. TWYCC was officially founded in 2012 but it’s beginnings were in 2009 after the UNFCCC (international climate change) Copenhagen meeting (COP15).

Who – Liangyi Chang is the driving force and initiator of TWYCC. Since its conception, he recruited others as co-founders to take it forwards, including Matt, Eva and Sarah who I met. They are all starting to take a backseat now whilst the current membership has about 15-20 actively involved young people; those I met were from the water group (see below under activities) – Betty and Dominique, students at NTU, and Tso-hsuan, a potter and golf manager in Taipei.

What – There are a whole host of activities under the TWYCC umbrella, reflective of the varied interests of members, the reasonably high turnover of members (as is characteristic of groups involving university students – fantastic for ingenuity, energy and passion, sometimes harder for continuity – I say this from my own experience!), and the interconnected and diverse nature of climate change issues.

At its core, all of the activities centre on empowering young people in Taiwan to act on climate change. Some of the key ones, to provide a flavour, include:
– Water 100 – TWYCC’s only locally focused project, started in 2012 to coincide with the UN’s year on water in 2013, partly to get members focused on climate change issues close to home as well as in relation to international politics
– Vote for climate campaign – project aiming to make the environmental policies of candidates for the next election transparent and accessible to people so that they know what they are voting for, and to mobilise Taiwanese youth to play a role
– Policy working group – tracking of different government policies, working with different groups, nationally and internationally, thinking more long term about making submissions and taking actions to raise awareness of particular issues
– Environmental education focus – study groups form a part of TWYCC’s day to day activities, but they have also just become one of the institutions set to deliver sustainable development education as part of a national law requiring every school child to have at least 4 hours of education on the issues each year
– Training and workshops – empowerment of youth is a really important part of TWYCC’s to help young people feel able to do things for themselves. Just in the week that I was there Liangyi was involved in running training for the current TWYCC members on communications, managing relationships, project management etc, as well as training for those going to the next climate COP (international meeting on climate change negotiations) in November. Taiwan Power Shift is another annual set of workshops which builds on other Power Shifts which happen around the world – see www.wearepowershift.org for more information
– Actions and marches to raise awareness – raising attention to environmental issues is an important part of what TWYCC does e.g. a march was held as part of the global Peoples’ Climate Marches back in September

Why –
To empower Taiwanese youth to take action on climate change and work with government, businesses and local people to take action to create a sustainable world. In their own words they aim to:
1. Safeguard our future by promoting sustainability;
2. Spread awareness on climate change-related issues to encourage societal change both at national and international levels;
a. Facilitate NGO/NPO partnerships for certain projects through our platform;
3. Empower the voice of the youth;
4. Strengthen Taiwan’s presence on the international stage;
5. Enhance cultural and information exchange by establishing partnerships with international youth organizations.

Impacts/success –
Since its beginnings only a few years ago TWYCC has created a platform for young peoples’ voices in Taiwan in the international climste change arena, it has engaged and inspired many young people to get involved in their spare time and shaped their future careers, it has helped to raise the profile of environmental issues amongst the Taiwanese population and it has ensured a regular presence of young people in political discussions of environmental issues.

Find out more – en.twycc.org.tw

Personal reflections – Wow, so many inspiring people in so few days who are all connected to TWYCC! Taiwan, the Taiwanese government and the international climate movement should be pleased as punch these guys are doing what they are doing!

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