An Andover teenager is set to host a UN-backed conference which is set to tackle one of the most important issues affecting the planet today.

Dmitrijs Meiksans, the MYP for North West Hampshire, is to host the UK’s Local Conference of Youth through his charity DMK Potential, where young people, politicians and organisations come together to discuss climate change and actions to tackle it.

This conferences feeds into a global youth conference and ultimately to COP26, the climate change conference in Glasgow where nations around the world are due to commit to tougher actions on climate change.

Dmitrijs told the Advertiser: “We’ve been able to get it and hope to develop and make a big thing out of it. Applying for it, there was quite a lengthy application and we’re so, so lucky to be picked to get it and run it this year.”

The first UK local conference of youth was held in Manchester in 2019, following the signing of the Paris Agreement on climate change in 2016. Last year’s event was postponed due to Covid, with Dmitrijs’ event set to be held online.

“Traditionally, the last organisation to have been given this title held the conference in person,” he said. “Of course, they didn’t know about Covid at the time so this time it will be online. This enables many more young people to get involved and make it as inclusive as possible. It will be over Zoom with hundreds and hundreds of young people if we do our jobs well.”

Dmitrijs says he and his charity hope to shape the event around helping young people develop climate change campaigning skills, by hearing speakers and taking part in workshops. At the moment, the charity is recruiting for a co-ordinator to help run the project.

“Through the workshops and the toolkits we would develop with the co-ordinator, we will give a young person a chance and give them a foundation to work from,” he said, “and we can hopefully track that progress over time with the skills after they have developed them through the conference.”

He said the conference would help build bridges between young people and politicians, and give 11-18 year olds a voice in climate change policies across the country.

“I think our ambition is to form connections so that young people have the security that they know people are listening,” said Dmitrijs. “We will work with government ministers, local councillors, local councils to ensure the young person knows that somebody is listening and that there is an open dialogue created.”

The preliminary preparations have gone well, with an “amazing response.”

“We’re hoping to get a range of local, national and regional individuals to get a wide variety as possible,” said Dmitrijs. “Climate change campaigning has a wide range of definitions so there’s no right focus on just one. We just hope that a lot of people do turn up!”

The conference is due to take place before COP26, with a date of mid-October currently planned.