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The Journey to COP28: A Road to Disappointment and Hope

The Journey to COP28: A Road to Disappointment and Hope

By Jodahi Bezabih Petros, CVF Youth Fellow from Ethiopia

Coming into COP28, I carried the hopes and dreams of my generation, ready to fight for a future free from climate change. With all the organizations and people that have helped me with their unwavering support, I felt a powerful wind beneath my wings, propelling me forward on behalf of my country’s youth. 

Each conversation I had, from passionate debates in the bustling side events to quiet moments of shared understanding with fellow youth delegates, became a testament to the power of collective action. Young voices from across continents, despite their diverse backgrounds and experiences, united in a single, unwavering demand: a just and equitable future for all. We spoke with the conviction of those who have seen firsthand the devastating consequences of climate inaction, our voices rising in unison against the apathy and empty promises.

However, as COP28 unfolded, a flicker of disappointment began to creep in alongside the hope. The progress made felt glacial compared to the urgency of the crisis. Commitments, while promising, lacked the concrete action and ambitious timelines needed to truly bend the curve of climate change. The gap between rhetoric and reality felt vast, leaving a bitter taste in our mouths.

But this disappointment doesn’t extinguish the fire within me, instead it fuels me to push harder, to amplify the voices of the most vulnerable, and to hold those in power accountable. This is not a setback; it’s a call to action.

COP28 may not have delivered the transformational change we yearned for, but it offered crucial lessons. We learned the power of our collective voice, the resilience of communities on the front lines, and the unwavering commitment of young people like us.

So, I return home not with despair, but with steely resolve. The fight for a sustainable future is far from over. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and we’re in it for the long haul. Each disappointment fuels our resolve, each setback strengthens our resolve, and each victory, no matter how small, reminds us that we are not alone in this fight.

Thank you, CVF, for being my partner in this journey. Thank you for giving youth from countries like ours the opportunity to have our voices heard and capacitated, helping us to fight on for climate justice with a stronger and more united front.