The United Nations is casting a wide net to find dozens of people from around the world who feel passionately about the impact of climate change, have translated that passion into action and would like to attend next month’s Climate Summit at the UN.

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“This is a wide-open call,” 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. “Anyone can nominate a civil society representative into this process.”

UN-NGLS facilitates civil engagement across all of the UN’s agencies. “It’s a very big mandate and we’re a very small team,” said Alzner of her five-person group, which posted the opportunities on 28 July.

As of 8 August, more than 200 people had applied for the 38 available spots, and Alzner predicted the applicant pool would soar by the 15 August deadline. Eighteen of the 38 individuals selected will receive travel funding to attend the 23 September invitation-only event. The plan marks the first time the UN has held an open, global nominations process to identify so many civil society representatives to address a Heads-of-State Summit, she said.

“We determined that there was a need for an open, transparent and democratic process to facilitate civil-society engagement in the Climate Summit.”

At the request of the Executive Office of the Secretary-General’s Climate Change Support Team, UN-NGLS is seeking nominations for four speakers and 34 additional attendees for the event, which is to be attended by more than 100 Heads of State and Government.

The Summit, called for by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, is intended to mobilize international political will needed to achieve an ambitious climate change agreement by 2015.

Given that the impact of climate change will be shouldered disproportionately by the young, the Secretary-General’s Climate Change Support Team has requested UN-NGLS to seek a woman, 30 years or younger from a developing country, to address the Summit opening.

A selection and drafting committee will collaborate with this speaker on her remarks to ensure it includes a diversity of views, Alzner said.

Also being sought are three representatives of young people 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.

The additional 34 people to be invited to attend through this process will not have speaking roles in the summit program. All participants must have acted as agents of change on the issues.

More details here, including an online nomination form.

Alzner said the final selection of attendees would reflect a regional balance, a gender balance and a broad range of expertise.

The deadline for submission of civil society speaker nominations is 15 August.