The idea is to support constructive dialogue among youth from the partner countries and to strengthen youth leadership development and youth participation in the DEMENA. A crucial part of the background for this project is the realization that climate challenge, due the common threats, can serve as a platform to address other related cross-cutting current development problems: youth participation, peace, dialogue and indeed sustainable development.
As confirmed by scientists and UN IPCC, climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing contemporary humanity, whose solution needs joint efforts. Therefore, we have chosen to turn the challenge into an opportunity for improved dialogue and strengthened youth participation by encouraging the spirit of youth initiated actions, innovation and voluntarism for a stronger civil society, network building, advocacy, Danish/Arab dialogue and cooperation across borders.
The project has its immediate background from the Climate Embassy concept developed by the Danish Green Think Tank CONCITO, as a part of an ambitious youth climate communication project. In 2009 CONCITO trained 100 young Danish students as climate ambassadors, who visited schools in Denmark conducting climate workshops for 7000 pupils from 10-12 years of age. The project was a huge success and raised awareness about, and involvement in, climate-related issues. The focus was indeed on the effects of climate change, but focused primarily on solutions. The network of students is now involved in other climate campaign activities.
In this context, a joint climate ambassador course was organized, for a group of 80 young potential climate ambassadors from 28 countries, by Crossing Borders, CONCITO and Krogerup Højskole in the run up to the COP15 in 2009. The action was part of the Come2gether climate camps organized by the Association of the Danish Folk High Schools, supported by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Education. The CB part of the course was funded by the EU Youth in Action Programme . As an output of the course, a climate ambassador edition of the CB magazine was produced with articles, videos and photos contributed by the climate ambassadors.
Another inspiration is the ‘UP to YOU’ project financed by DCCD and implemented by Crossing Borders in December 2009, where a group of young female MENA journalists attended a ‘training of trainers’ course in conjunction with the COP15. The participants experienced and documented how the international community of NGO’s and civil society lived out their climate change visions.
CONCITO and Crossing Borders developed the climate ambassador concept in Denmark, but it was also tried out and continuously developed for this project application by the MENA partners. On this background, CONCITO and Crossing Borders together with its MENA partners agreed to build further on the success of the climate ambassador concept and the long-standing MENA collaboration with Crossing Borders.
 After the climate ambassador course, Crossing Borders’ director presented the concept as a “best practice” at an EU Neighbourhood seminar in Warsaw October 2009 and at the Anna Lindh Foundation’s Forum in Barcelona in March 2010 where over 1000 EuroMed representatives of 500 CSO’s, regional and intergovernmental organizations participated.