What is COP26?  

The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) is coming to the UK for the first time on the 1st – 12th November 2021. What’s even more exciting is that the event will be held at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow!  

COP26 is a global summit on climate change that brings together over 200 world leaders from countries who have signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The purpose of the event is to discuss and agree what nations are going to do to continue to tackle the global climate emergency with the Paris Agreement being at the heart of the conversation.

As well as the main COP26 event, Italy, who are the UK’s COP26 partners, will be hosting a number of key preparatory events including a Youth Event and the Pre-COP Summit. These have been postponed due to the COVID19 pandemic but are now expected to take place in Autumn 2021.


What does COP26 have to do with youth work?  

COP26 being hosted in Glasgow provides a unique opportunity for youth work organisations in Scotland to support young people to develop their climate literacy skills, understand how to take environmental action and recognise how their individual choices can impact the rest of the world. This global conference will literally be on their doorsteps. They will see it on the news, on social media feeds and hear it on podcasts, radio shows and in conversations with peers, teachers and family members. We have a role as youth work sector to ensure that young people are equipped with the knowledge and skills they require to understand their role in COP26 and COY as well as the wider climate change and climate justice movement; to engage a wide range of young people in conversations and actions on sustainable development and ensure that all young people regardless of their personal situation or background have the opportunity to have a voice.

Young people are not just the generation of tomorrow, they are the leaders of today and their voices must be included in decisions on the future of our planet. Youth work is perfectly positioned to create the space for that to happen.  


How can youth work organisations and young people get involved?  

We are working with the youth work sector and other partners to best support Scotland’s young people to engage both in the conference itself and the youth events and pre-cop summits hosted by our COP partner Italy. In the lead up to COP26 in November 2021 there will be a huge number of opportunities across Scotland for youth work organisations to signpost young people to and/or engage with directly. There will be collaboration across different sectors; creation of bespoke projects for young people; research and policy consultations; youth led events and festivals and engagement opportunities in COP26 & the COY events themselves.  

We will be updating this page as plans for the youth work sectors engagement in COP26 progress so do keep an eye out for any changes and updates 

If you have any suggestions on how YouthLink Scotland can best support the youth work sector to engage in COP26 we would love to hear from you. Likewise, if you already have plans for your youth work organisation in the lead up to COP26 please share them with us so we can promote, share good practice and inspire others to get involved 

Get in touch with Jenni Snell on for more information on our work in the lead up to COP26.  


In the meantime… 

Check out Connect4Climate’s monthly one-hour webinars in the lead up to COP26. These webinars will examine how young people are driving the climate action and will feature young climate activists from across the world. Find out more and sign up to the webinars here and keep checking Connect4Climate’s Twitter & Instagram for future updates. 

Connect4Climate have also launched a Youth4Climate Educational Toolkit featuring lots of resources, good practice examples and actions young people can get involved in. Find the toolkit here.  

Have a nosy at the range of events across Scotland that are happening in the lead up to COP26 on  

Take some time to listen to Stop Climate Chaos's webinar on why young people have been so effective in communicating the urgency of the climate crisis. 

Watch RSPB's five short talks from young people who work and specialise in the areas of climate change and biodiversity science, real examples of the work being done in the field to reduce their impacts, how young people can take actions in their own way and work together to raise their voices.
For Under 18s
For Under 25s

Or have a look at our resources page to help you plan and prepare what activities your youth work organisation can undertake in the lead up to COP26.  

For more information on YouthLink Scotland’s Learning for Sustainability, Climate Action or COP26 work, get in touch with Jenni Snell on

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