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UN challenged to help youth mitigate climate change


The United Nations has been called upon to work with the youth to engage in cycling as a way of mitigating effects of climate change.

At the same time the youth have been called upon to actively participate in the reduction of effects of climate change using technology and innovation.

During an event at the United Nations in Nairobi’s Gigiri, to mark the World’s Citites Day, and which targeted youth, speaker after speaker stressed on the link between social justice and environmental justice, and how this affected food security and the wellbeing of a people, and how the youth were an integral part of the whole process.

“It’s the small innovations by the youth in their remote areas that eventually contribute to the overall mitigation and adaptation to impacts of climate change. Technology, which must respect the needs of the people, must be part of this,” said Douglas Reagan, Chief of Youth and Livelihood Unit at the UN Habitat.

He added that technology needed to be user and people friendly.

According to Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) Head of Programmes Salina, it is estimated that about 55 per cent of the world’s population lives in urban areas; majority being the youth, who possess a myriad skills, abilities and work force.

Ms Sanou said this estimate is projected to increase to about 68 per cent by 2050. She suggested solutions to problems likely to occur.

“New Urban Agenda is very rich on climate resilience in urban areas. Governments have ratified it but it has not been a priority for implementation. It’s time we flipped the other side of the coin. Try youth and other CSOs in the implementation of NUA with a clear click on climate resilience at a city level.”

Other proposals were on just energy transition and access, and urban sprawl.

Phillip Tinga of C40 Cities said almost 60 per cent of Nairobi residents walk to work not out of choice. “We want more youth to be involved in cycling and walking to work as a matter of choice,” he said, adding: “Youth can play a big role in changing Nairobi into a smart city. It needs change of mind set. It is called constructive disruption.”

Zelda Kerubo, a Youth Representative from the Kenya Platform for Climate Governance (KPCG), said: We are encouraging the youth to cycle to school and work. We can only influence the world by leading the way and by example.

Brenda Awuor, an Ukulima Tech founder, encouraged Kenyans to use every little space, even on the balconies, to grow their own food as a way of mitigating climate crisis.

“The average age of an African farmer is 60 years. This should be brought down. Food security can be achieved with the youth’s input from the rural and urban areas. Technology is key, as now smart farming where there is monitoring of farms using mobile apps, is improving yield in several parts of the world,” she said.

Michael Khaduyu, the KPCG national coordinator, stressed on innovation and capacity building for the youth to participate in mitigating several climate challenges.

“We should think of solutions that do not worsen the problems we already have. Where are the problems emerging from? Let’s stop wasting. Your action and inaction affect everyone in the globe.”

The event was organised by PACJA and the UN Habitat, with the theme “Innovations and Better Life for Future Generations”.

The sub-theme was Youth Dialogue on Accelerated Implementation of SDG 11.

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