Meet the new EESC Youth Delegate to COP 2023-2024!

Diandra Ní Bhuachalla, EESC Youth Delegate to COP 2023-2024

Diandra Ní Bhuachalla holds a BSc in Government (Hons), an LLB, and an MSc in International Public Policy & Diplomacy from University College Cork. She served as a United Nations Youth Delegate for Ireland from 2021-2022, focusing on gender equality, climate justice, and peace & security, following 11 years of advocacy at local and national levels. Diandra works with the National Youth Council of Ireland's Youth2030 team on UN initiatives and the Youth, Peace & Security Agenda. She actively engages with the ESDN Youth Network, the Chatham House Common Futures Conversations programme, and was recently selected as a Future Generations Ambassador with Foundations for Tomorrow and the Office of the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales. 

What do you expect from your new role as the EESC's youth delegate to COP over the next two years?

This is the second iteration of the programme, so I am excited to see how I can work with the EESC, following in Sophia's footsteps, to make the programme the best that it can be. I am also excited to learn from my fellow COP Delegates about their work and motivations. I believe that intergenerational and intercultural dialogue is essential to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), achieve climate justice, and reduce our emissions in a sustainable and equitable manner, and would expect to share innovative ideas in this regard. I also expect to be challenged, to find new ways to communicate with those who do not share the same beliefs as I do, and to be taken seriously as a young person, woman, and climate advocate. 

You have been active on climate action and youth engagement back home. As EESC youth delegate to COP, what would you bring to the work of the EESC and its participation in the UNFCCC processes?

I would like to firstly state that as a representative, I believe that the value I bring to any role is not personal to me, but rather solely lies in my ability to effectively present the opinions and calls to action of those who I represent. As such, my true value as part of the EESC delegation will be in how I demonstrate the importance of youth inclusion through my personal and professional manner, in leading by example, and in how I ensure that young people in Europe view this role as something that genuinely serves them, rather than as a method of professional advancement for me as the delegate. It would be my goal to ground my inputs in the real, live opinions of European youth, while working collaboratively with partners in YOUNGO, Generation Climate Europe, and the European Youth Forum. I would also utilise relationships which I maintain with other youth representatives and strive to forge new connections to strengthen the regional and global youth climate activist networks who attend COP. 

What do you hope to say after your two-year mandate?

Following my mandate, I hope to have reached young people across Europe with a message of hope. The rhetoric on climate change is often negative, and the science is difficult to understand. I felt overwhelmed by climate change for many years, and it wasn't until I considered it through the human rights lens of climate justice that I was able to work through that feeling. Young people are major change makers on climate change. We have the agency, the capacity, and many have a lived experience that needs to be heard and taken seriously by decision-makers. I hope that at the end of the two years, I will have made European youth proud by representing their diverse experiences, ideas, and opinions.