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Apply to join the SustainUS delegation to the 2014 UN climate talks!

*** The application period has closed. Please check back next spring for the 2015 application ***

Take your work to address climate change to the next level by applying to SustainUS’s Agents of Change Delegation to the United Nations (UN) climate change negotiations in Lima, Peru this November.

SustainUS delegates to COP 19 in Warsaw, Poland. Check out their blog posts, media hits, and initiatives here.

Join the SustainUS Climate Change Delegation to COP 20

SustainUS Agents of Change (AoC) program is now accepting applications to join the SustainUS youth delegation to the 20th Session of the Conference of Parties (COP 20) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The conference will take place December 1-12, 2014 in Lima, Peru.  

COP20 will help determine future international policy on climate change in the lead up to the next agreement in 2015. Youth are an essential part of this process and must make our voices heard. As part of the SustainUS Agents of Change delegation, you will join young people from across the globe that are organizing to bring a sense of urgency and rationality to the meeting. 


Building Skills and Capacity for Young Leaders

Selected delegates, comprised of key leaders in the US youth climate movement from various organizations and backgrounds, will have a unique opportunity to elevate US youth voices at the COP. Delegates will work with each other and with international youth in advance of the conference to educate themselves and their communities, develop policy priorities, acquire skills in effective lobbying, and engage the broader youth community in action related to international climate policy. As NGO representatives at the COP, delegates will work side-by-side with government delegates, leaders from international organizations, and fellow members of civil society to ensure a just and forward-looking outcome to the negotiations.

The delegation will be led by SustainUS members that are experienced with the UN climate negotiations in collaboration with the SustainUS Agents of Change coordinators and Steering Committee. These leaders will facilitate calls and support delegates in navigating and contributing meaningfully at COP 20.



Delegates will work with each other intensively over the months preceding the conference to craft the delegation’s priorities and activities around the conference. A commitment to collaborating and working as a team remotely is essential to have successful and fulfilling experience with the SustainUS delegation.



  • Delegates will need to be accessible by e-mail and join weekly or bi-monthly conference calls as needed.
  • Delegates will need to spend time on their own learning about the negotiations, effective ways for youth to make an impact at them, and any relevant research.
  • Delegates will also work in sub-groups within the delegation and with international youth to prepare policy positions, reach out to media, develop campaigns, and plan logistics and financial support for the conference.


Community Engagement

Delegates will be representing their communities and US youth at COP20 and are expected to engage their local community through education and outreach. The community engagement program for delegates will build public awareness of the international climate negotiations both before and after COP20.

As part of the Agents of Change program, delegates will:

  • Meet with federal legislative offices to discuss action on climate issues in the US at least once before and once after COP20.
  • Develop relationships with local reporters, blogs, or other news outlets that provide media coverage leading up to, during, and after COP20, with the goal of getting four stories in the media about your work.
  • Write at least one letter to the editor over the course of the summer and fall and one in the winter after COP20, with the goal of getting at least one published.
  • Hold five education/outreach events about COP20, climate policy, and the need for meaningful action on climate change, at least one taking place after COP20, with the aim of sharing the experience of COP20 with our home communities. These education/outreach events can include guest lectures, public speaking events, candidate bird-dogging, teach-ins, tabling events, or other creative means.


Time Commitment

Delegates are expected to commit ~5 hours per week on preparations for COP 20 from May to November. This time commitment will increase as the negotiations draw close.

We also anticipate hosting a 2-day in-person delegation training in late June. We recognize that school and work schedules are difficult to anticipate, but priority will be given to delegates who can attend the in-person training and the entire COP20 conference. 


SustainUS COP 19 delegate Tim Damon talks with journalist Ed King about intergenerational equity and climate change.



SustainUS provides accreditation* to the conference, books housing for the delegation, and provides help in arranging and coordinating travel to the negotiations. Delegates, however, will be responsible for booking their own travel to and from Lima and taking care of any special travel needs they may have.

*Due to space limitations at COP20, accreditation is not guaranteed for all members of the delegation. However, in the event that our organization does not receive enough accreditation spots, we will work with our partner organizations to try to secure additional spots. There will also be opportunities for engagement outside of the conference space, so regardless of accreditation, we expect all of our selected delegates to join us in Lima.


Expenses and Scholarships

Delegates will be responsible for covering all their travel, housing, and food expenses. The delegation will also work to secure grants, hold fundraisers, and help raise money to cover trip expenses. Delegates also typically undertake individual efforts to raise funds to cover their costs of travel, housing, and food at COP.

We do everything in our power to prevent cost from being a barrier to participation for our delegates. The main way we do this is with a host of training resources on fundraising that help delegates raise money to cover their costs.

However, if a delegate has exhausted every fundraising option (school grants, foundation grants, personal fundraising) and is still faced with financial burden, we have some scholarships available to help fill the gap. The scholarship application asks for information such as travel cost, fundraising efforts, income and total debt. As part of our commitment to a diversified delegation, delegates from underrepresented backgrounds will receive priority in scholarship allocation.

The scholarship application will be available to selected delegates shortly after the selection process. 



  • Applicants are required to be between the ages of 18 and 26 as of December 1, 2014 and to either (a) be a US citizen or (b) have studied or worked in the US for more than six months.
  • Applicants are not required to have been previously involved with SustainUS; however, those who have been active in the Agents of Change program or are otherwise affiliated with SustainUS will be given some degree of added weight in the process. 


Selection Criteria

SustainUS is committed to selecting a skilled, diverse, and passionate delegation. 

Applicants must demonstrate a serious commitment to the aims and values of sustainable development as understood in the SustainUS policy platform, and should demonstrate experience advocating and/or organizing around forward-thinking climate policy. 

SustainUS selection criteria are as follows:

1. Diversity: Priority will be given to applicants with underrepresented/unique backgrounds or that come from underrepresented areas, which includes places outside of the East Coast or outside of the US. Diversity goes beyond gender, religion, race, and ethnicity and is broadly defined in terms of experience and background. If you have a unique background or experience, please note it in your application.

2.  Potential for Leadership:  Candidates should also demonstrate a strong potential for leadership, either through student or grassroots organizing, event or project planning, or peer-to-peer education, or through other activities that demonstrate a potential for leadership.

3. Policy Statement: Candidates should demonstrate an ability to write clearly and concisely on sustainable development topics and a clear way to advance that issue at the conference.  Note that this criterion does not demand that the candidate have experience or expertise in policy writing, but that they demonstrate that they know how to think about these topics and articulate them clearly.

4. Skills: Beyond these basic criteria, candidates should be skilled in at least one of the following areas:

          a. Media and communications: Traditional and new media skills such as blogging, writing press releases, creating youtube videos, and other valuable media. 

          b. Scientific or policy expertise: Academic, professional, or community experience or interest on international sustainability issues, specific sustainable development policy or environmental science knowledge.

          c. Advocacy skills: Experience in a wide range of advocacy techniques including lobbying, organizing, campaigning, and non-violent direct actions

          d. Other skills not listed here

5. Unique experiences or perspectives: This can include things like experience coming from a directly impacted community, exceptional artistic expression that can be applied to actions at the conference, or nontraditional viewpoints.

6. AvailabilityApplicants who can attend the entire conference and in-person training will be given preference.


Application Procedure

*** The application period has closed. Please check back next spring for the 2015 application ***

Button to go to the SustainUS COP19 Application


Click the link to access our online application. Applications must be received by 11:59 pm EDT April 10, 2014 (please note that the deadline has been extended from April 3).

All applicants will be notified of the application results in late April and the selected candidates will be required to confirm their participation shortly thereafter. If you have any questions, please contact AoC Coordinators Yi Wang and Alyssa Tsuchiya at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .



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