BCCIC Youth Delegates to the UN Climate Change Conference

BCCIC has the incredible opportunity of sending a youth delegation to the upcoming UNFCCC COP 23 conference this November in Bonn, Germany. The 5 youth delegates will represent young people of British Columbia and the provincial council on a global stage that aims to accelerate global climate action and advocate for sustainable development. Selection for such an opportunity is difficult and BCCIC formed a Youth Delegate Selection Committee of BC youth for BC youth. The Selection Committee created the selection process and criteria based on their experience with global climate action movements and other international organizations’ existing selection procedures. You can read more about the selected delegates below as well as details on the selection process.

Sadie DeCoste

BCCIC Youth Delegate to UNFCCC 2017

Sadie is interested in addressing social and environmental issues from climate change to poverty to public health. She studies economics at Minerva Schools, a new liberal arts university with semester-long rotations in seven countries.

Sadie became engaged with sustainable development initiatives at age 12. Since then, she has organized grassroots actions, fundraised tens of thousands of dollars, and worked on multiple political campaigns. Most recently, she worked as a research assistant at BC Council for International Cooperation, where she was a lead author on ‘Where Canada Stands,’ a report tracking Canada’s progress on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Moving forward, Sadie hopes to learn more about impact evaluation and its role in climate mitigation and adaptation interventions. She is honoured and excited to engage within the UNFCCC structure, but wants to approach the delegation strategically, with consideration of grassroots movements, Indigenous rights, and the inequitable distribution of climate impacts.

Colton Kasteel

BCCIC Youth Delegate to UNFCCC 2017

Colton studies International Economics at the University of British Columbia and is passionate about social justice and sustainable development, with a focus on researching, promoting, and implementing market-based solutions to climate change. Colton co-founded UBC’s first organization dedicated to analyzing political and economic responses to climate change, the UBC Environmental Policy Association, and served as a Creative Officer for the National University of Singapore’s largest environmental group, NUS SAVE.

Currently, Colton helps lead operations at Gathering Voices Society, which aims to foster economic, social, and ecological resilience in First Nations communities by facilitating the implementation of ecosystem stewardship programs that combine traditional ecological knowledge with market-based tools. He also manages the UBC Alma Mater Society’s Sustainability Projects Fund, and is an active volunteer for social and environmental causes.

Colton is thrilled to be part of BCCIC’s delegation to COP 23, and looks forward to representing British Columbian youth on the world stage.

Joelle Moses

BCCIC Youth Delegate to UNFCCC 2017

Joelle considers herself to be one of the luckiest people in the world. She grew up in beautiful Vancouver, BC, swimming in the ocean and surrounded by a loving family. She is now a dedicated student at McGill University, studying Psychology and International Development, with an Environmental focus.

Joelle’s commitment to sustainability is fairly new, yet has quickly become all-encompassing. From facilitating the first ever ratification of the UN Sustainable Development Goals at an educational institute at McGill, to research on youth engagement with the SDGs in BC, to adopting and advocating a plant-based diet, she has delved into the world of climate action, and is not looking back.

Joelle hopes to utilize her privilege – of education, and a life full of opportunity – along with her burning passion and understanding of people, to help transform this world into a sustainable and just entity, while empowering others to do the same.

Keila Stark

BCCIC Youth Delegate to UNFCCC 2017

Keila is a UBC student entering her final year of a B.Sc Hons in Marine Biology with a minor in Political Science. 

Keila’s education, volunteer work, and advocacy experience have all contributed to her mission of protecting biodiversity, mitigating negative climate change outcomes, and ensuring equitable and sustainable global development (all three of these things co-benefit each other when achieved). Keila is a fierce advocate of scientists demanding a say in all and playing a more active role in policy-making at all levels of governance.

Keila has worked as a conservation educator for Parks Canada, the BC Wildlife Federation, and Vancouver Aquarium. She has also worked with various sustainability and research groups on UBC campus delivering workshops on the SDGs and global development. Keila has experience writing about climate change-based discussions within International Organizations from working for the Nippon-UBC Nereus Program: an interdisciplinary research collective that investigates how climate change and overfishing impact the ecology and human use of our oceans. Currently, she is doing her Honours thesis research on seagrass ecosystems, which are a globally significant carbon sink and benefit coastal communities for the slew of ecosystem services they provide.

Keila is honoured to be a member of the BCCIC youth delegation to the UNFCCC, and she looks forward to mindfully representing the views and interests of Canadian youth, women, and scientists in climate change and sustainable development discussions.

Verna Yam

BCCIC Youth Delegate to UNFCCC 2017

Verna is in her final year of studies at the University of British Columbia, completing an International Relations Major and Asian Area Studies Minor. Verna is passionate about facilitating international cooperation to support the resolution of global issues like climate change, and strives to supplement her studies with hands-on experience. Aside from assisting federal environmental policy at Environment and Climate Change Canada, Verna has also interned at the Consulate-General of the United States in Vancouver.

In addition, Verna aims to encourage youth engagement with international   issues. She has organized Model United Nations conferences for up to 700 student delegates and planned events to promote Canada’s linkages to the Asia-Pacific amongst youth.

With her keen interest in collaboration to advance global sustainable development, Verna is honoured to be part of the BCCIC delegation to COP 23. She looks forward to supporting the delegation with her specific focus on East Asia, an area she is familiar with from coursework as well as firsthand experience studying and working there.

The Selection Process

An open call for applications to the delegation was first circulated (http://bccic.ca/open-call-for-bccic-youth-delegates-to-cop-23/), and the committee came up with the main criteria included demonstration of the following:

  • Interest, and understanding of sustainable development and climate change issues, specifically the Paris Agreement, the 2030 Agenda, and the SDG framework;
  • Level of ambition for social change and passion for the social well-being of others;
  • An understanding of the context of international meetings and ability to contribute to the broader context of the Delegation as well as share BC’s unique perspective;
  • Depth of connection with the province of British Columbia and an understanding of sustainable development issues unique to the province;
  • Experience in advocacy, climate actions, sustainable development, and the general engagement with global issues and local community;
  • Motivation to contribute to BCCIC’s efforts on promoting the SDGs and strengthening civil societies’ collaboration on climate action and global sustainable development;
  • The funding justification is achievable or realistic;
  • Commitment to learn new information, gain new skills, and participate in BCCIC’s projects even beyond the conference.

Applicants were ranked by each committee member individually based on their application package and resume before collective cumulative ranking using a consensus based approach. Shortlisted candidates were scheduled interviews with the committee members. Interview questions include assessments on specific knowledge about the SDGs and the Paris Agreement, professionalism, personality traits, and communications skills. All shortlisted candidates were ranked collectively again before the top five were contacted.

The Delegate Selection Committee is comprised of 5 BC youth who are actively involved in global climate action and SDG advocacy and education. An open call was posted on various social media channels (http://bccic.ca/open-call-for-youth-to-sit-on-delegate-selection-committee/) and YOUNGO (the youth observatory constituency of the UNFCCC) internal communications channel. Applicants were then evaluated based on merit and experience. Each of the committee members provided their unique perspective on youth engagement and global climate action on course of developing a youth delegate selection strategy for the Council.

The Delegate Selection Committee

Neal Cameron

BCCIC Youth Delegate Selection Committee Advisor

With experience in governance, NGO best practices, and partnership building, Neal brings a strong understanding of the work of the UNFCCC to the table. Hailing from Vancouver, BC, Neal has been active in engaging youth in the democratic process, and brings a talent for design, policy writing, and marketing to his work. With experience in Confluence, JIRA, and Zoho Projects, Neal’s adaptability and focus on deliverables makes value-orientated results the norm. A member of the delegate selection committee, Neal brings extensive knowledge of the UN system alongside work at the United Nations with the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office and Think Equal, Neal has seen the results that the UN delivers and is passionate about sustainability.

Benjamin Georges-Picot

BCCIC Youth Delegate Selection Committee Member

Benjamin is an undergraduate student at UBC aiming to major in International Relations with a focus on global environmental politics. Benjamin believes that political engagement on all scales will help us achieve a more sustainable future. His love for the environment was first sparked through interactions with wildlife and nature. He started raising awareness of political issues and environmental consciousness, taking part in conversations and working with his high school to reduce its carbon footprint. Benjamin is a working member of the International Youth Climate Movement (YOUNGO) and he will continue advocating change in his community through political activism in BC.

Tiffany Lee

BCCIC Youth Delegate Selection Committee Member

Tiffany is a second year student at the University of British Columbia. She is studying International Relations in the Bachelor of Arts & Master of Management dual degree program. She is passionate about international development and global cooperation. Tiffany is the Co-Founder of an international youth organization dedicated to reporting on global issues, United Youth Journalists. She has previously been involved with various NGOs, including the Canadian Red Cross, Plan International Canada and World Vision. She is currently engaged in her campus community through numerous clubs and departments, including her job at UBC Enrolment Services.

Jeffrey Qi

BCCIC Youth Delegate Selection Committee Coordinator

Jeffrey is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Political Science with a minor in Environment and Society. He is passionate about international development and collaboration with an environmental focus. Jeffrey is a working member of the International Youth Climate Movement (YOUNGO) and has been an YOUNGO Delegate Observer to the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2017 Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 46) in Bonn, Germany. He is currently a project coordinator with BCCIC on youth engagement and international processes.


Landon Reeves

BCCIC Youth Delegate Selection Committee Member

Landon is originally from a small town in interior BC. He is pursuing a degree in engineering physics and a certificate in sustainable community development at Simon Fraser University. He is the president and co-founder of the current Engineers Without Borders chapter at SFU, which has lead him to be heavily involved in the campus community through outreach, promotion of fair trade, and other sustainability initiatives. He also works in residence as a community advisor, where he sits on the eco committee, which allows him to share his passion for environmental issues and action with his residents. In his spare time Landon enjoys exercising his creativity in both cooking and baking.

Any questions or concerns regarding the selection procedure and the COP 23 Youth Delegation should be directed to Jeffrey Qi, Coordinator of this program at jeffrey.intern@bccic.ca.

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