22 August–By the time the August 15 deadline passed, 544 people from 115 countries had been nominated to attend next month’s Climate Summit at the UN, and now it is up to a civil society selection committee to begin deciding who gets to fill the 38 slots.

“There’s never been a process like this before – where so many speaking and attendance roles for civil society in a UN Summit were open for nominations,” said Susan Alzner, the officer in charge of the New York office of the UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS), which is overseeing the project. “The open source approach is showing that incredible work on climate change is happening across the world.”

All submissions are available online.

UN-NGLS, which facilitates civil society engagement across all of the UN’s agencies, had cast a wide net to find the nominees: anyone could submit a candidate who is passionate about mitigating the impact of climate change and has translated that passion into action.

Eighteen of the 38 individuals selected will receive travel funding to attend the 23 September invitation-only event at UN Headquarters. The plan marks the first time the UN has held an open and transparent global nominations process to identify so many civil society representatives to address a Heads-of-State Summit, according to Alzner.

The Summit, called for by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, is intended to mobilize the political will needed to achieve an ambitious climate change agreement by 2015 and to catalyze on the ground climate action.

Those selected for speaking roles are to include a woman younger than 30 years of age, and from a developing country, to address the Summit opening.

The selection committee will collaborate with this speaker on her remarks to ensure they include a diversity of views, Alzner said.

Another three representatives will be selected from the nominees to serve on a panel titled “Voices from the frontlines of climate change,” organized by UNICEF and UN Women for the Summit. These panelist roles will be given to two individuals from developing countries, and one from a developed country, to include at least one indigenous person and one person under the age of 30.
All of the 34 additional people to be selected to attend the Summit must have acted as agents of change on the issues.

At the request of the Executive Office of the Secretary-General’s Climate Change Support Team (CCST), UN-NGLS is working with a 16-member civil society selection committee to short-list 76 candidates by 22 August. The CCST will choose four speakers and 34 additional attendees from among these finalists to participate in the event, which is to be attended by more than 100 Heads of State and Government. UNICEF and UN Women will collaborate on selecting the three panelists for the “Voices from the frontlines of climate change” Thematic Debate.

In selecting the attendees, the committee will ensure regional balance, gender balance, representation of Indigenous peoples and youth, and a diversity of expertise, Alzner said. Here’s a list of the committee members.

The final selections will be announced on 29 August.