Dispatch from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Germany: Jenna Phillips’ first blog from the virtual field

Photo credit: UNFCCC (2015)

By Jenna Phillips, MAGG student

My name is Jenna Phillips (she/her), I am nearly two months into my virtual internship with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. In April I started working with their Communications and Engagement Division, supporting the development and delivery of key communications materials related to UN treaties, work programmes, and more.

My work is split between two teams in the C&E Division. First I work with the Gender Team, who are responsible for the coordination of the implementation of the UNFCCC’s Gender Action Plan that was established in 2018 at the 25th Conference of the Parties (COP25). My Master’s Research Paper focuses on gender equality within global climate governance, which directly aligns with the work being done on this team. I am really enjoying my experience as I am learning about the progress toward gender parity being made at national and international levels. It is so cool to work behind the scenes with the team who builds and supports the implementation of these important international agreements!

Second, I work with the Action for Climate Empowerment Team, who supports work towards Article 6 of the UNFCCC and Article 12 of the Paris Agreement. ACE is a term adopted by the UNFCCC for empowering all members of society to engage in climate action through six elements: education, public awareness, training, public participation, public access to information, and international cooperation. A cross-cutting theme of our work is youth, so we implement a variety of activities under our mandate (the four-year action plan under the Glasgow work programme that was adopted in 2021) to support youth engagement in climate action. Some of these activities include networking events, educational webinars, negotiations, and more. In addition to supporting events for both teams, I have been writing briefing notes and newsletters, managing our LinkedIn groups with 4,000+ members, and creating profiles on Parties and donors for key meetings. I have also collaborated with other UN agencies, such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

My experiences on both teams have opened my eyes to the nitty gritty of how UN negotiations translate into treaties and national action plans, and why certain dialogues take place at specific conferences. It has been enjoyable to work with an incredibly diverse and intelligent team from around the world.

While the first portion of my internship has been remote, by the time you are reading this I will be in Bonn for a very exciting event that the UNFCCC hosts in between the COPs each year. The 58th session of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation – also known as the Bonn Climate Change Conference or SB 58 – is taking place from June 5 to 15th, 2023. The aim of these ‘intercessional’ events is to prepare for COP28, which is happening in Dubai later this year. The SBs take place at the UNFCCC headquarters and invite Parties (country leaders) and non-Party stakeholders (civil society organizations, technical experts, businesses, financial institutions, and private sectors) to consider how they can progress in their collective efforts toward meeting the Paris Agreement goals and objectives.

My teams will be hosting gender and ACE-specific events throughout the two weeks, some of which are mandated under the Gender Action Plan and Glasgow work programme. I look forward to supporting and experiencing these events in person, along with meeting my team and enjoying the networking opportunities that SB 58 will offer. I am extremely grateful to the Balsillie School of International Affairs for providing me with financial assistance to make this trip a reality.

I cannot wait to share more about my experiences in my next blog post! In the meantime if you are interested in gender and our ACE and climate change, I encourage you to join our Gender and ACE LinkedIn groups! You can network with like-minded climate leaders from all around the world. Likewise, sign up for our newsletters to stay up-to-date on progress made towards our key international climate agreements, gender equality, and community action on climate change.

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