A product of Local Conference of Youth (LCOY), Kenya
The youth (aged 15-24) in Kenya form 20.3% of Kenya’s population, a figure which is above the world’s average of 15.8% and 19.2% for Africa. There has been a long-held notion among the youth in Africa that they have not been engaged in key decision-making processes even though these decisions directly impact their daily lives. Climate change is one of the areas in which the youth desire increased participation and involvement. The youth feel that the existing policies do not favour them and are calling for increased participation on climate change policy making processes.
In preparation for the forthcoming Conference of parties (COP 24) which will be held in Katowice Poland in December 2018, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) partnered with Africa Youth Initiative on Climate Change (AYICC) to brainstorm on a youth position to be presented at COP 24. The meeting which was attended by over one hundred African youth drawn from different areas was hosted by AYICC and held at the African Nazarene University (A.N.U) on 20th and 21st November.
In his opening remarks, Julius Karanja, a project officer from PACJA urged the delegates to invest in research on climate change so as to have facts whenever they are called upon to participate in climate change dialogue.
“It is sad that as youth we only get to be recognized or involved in issues after decisions have been taken on our behalf, this should not be the case since we will live with the effects of climate change for a long time. It is fair that we fight to be involved and to achieve this, we must have facts on climate change,” said Mr. Karanja.
The delegates went through a process which entailed a determination of the current position of youth on climate change. They then sought a common understanding on where they want to be and plotted a means of getting day. The 2-day brainstorming session led the delegates to arrive at the position of the African youth on climate change hence:
The Key African Youth Messages for the Katowice Climate Change Conference
Where are we?
We, the youth are only called upon during grass root-level mobilization and other ground work and not in climate change negotiations. This is not a good place to be.
Where do we want to be?
- We want to create awareness on effects of climate change. We are energetic and creative and this will enable us to creatively present climate change messages to enhance their understanding.
- We want our innovations on climate change to be encouraged and incubated as this may lead to modern ways of combating climate change.
- Our capacities should be built to equip us with necessary information and tools to combat climate change. This is specifically so for those of us living in the marginalized areas to enable us combat climate change threats.
- We are heavy social media users; we will use twitter, face book and other social media platforms to effectively disseminate information on climate change.
How do we get there?
- Unity of purpose- We will unite with like-minded people and actively engage in climate change policy making.