Young people are showing the world how to integrate bottom-up democracy into climate action

During this last week of the COP26 in Glasgow, YOUNGO used e-voting technology to elect their focal points for the global north and the global south. YOUNGO is a non-profit organization representing the Children and Youth constituency to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This represents the first worldwide e-vote in the context of the UNFCCC and demonstrates powerfully how democracy can be included in the climate action agenda.

The young people behind YOUNGO, the umbrella organisation for youth NGOs, have made it their mission to increase representation where they can. During the COP26, young climate activists worldwide were invited to vote for their representatives using an e-voting platform, coming down to 3000+ voters in each of the two elections. The vote increased inclusiveness, as it made it possible for members across the world to make their voice heard, even for those that didn’t have the opportunity to be physically in Glasgow.

The election used, an open-source and transparent e-voting solution, providing secure and verifiable ballot marking, return and tallying. The e-voting platform is powered by the blockchain Tezos, allowing for partial decentralization of the results. The election, therefore, happened in an environmentally conscious manner. In contrast to highly energy-intensive blockchains (such as Bitcoin), Tezos uses delegated proof-of-stake to verify transactions, resulting in substantially lower resource consumption and making Electis a future-proof way of electronic voting.

YOUNGO’s election is the first to bring forward representatives specifically elected for the COP, in sharp contrast with the governments present at the COPs, which have seldomly, if not never been elected on the climate change issue. It will therefore impulse new legitimacy in future discussions, hopefully pushing governments to seek a clearer mandate from their own electorate in the coming years.

We strongly believe that COPs will be structurally more effective the day it will host, alongside governments, representatives specifically elected on climate change. YOUNGO’s election is a first step in that direction.” (Gilles Mentré, Co-founder of Electis)