On the 18th to 22nd March 2019 stakeholders, policy makers, opinion leaders and civil society, private sector, indigenous communities gathered at the Accra International Conference Centre to exchange best practices around inclusion, collaboration and engagement in advancement of the Paris agreement and Katowice rule book with a view to finding lasting solutions to tackle climate change with ambitious action for Nationally determined contributions NDCs, as we protect those most vulnerable impacted by changing climate, the Africa Climate Week was flag open by H.E Nana Akufo-Addo, President of Republic of Ghana.
The summit is a wakeup call for both the developing and developed countries which are at risk to climate change and ensuring that citizens are not left behind, transparently developing the needed framework and engaging with relevant stakeholders in pursuance of the implementation of NDCs by respective member states. Global transition to a green energy deviled of fossil fuels that pollute the environment. looking at the agreement have many issues on adaptation and mitigation through the NDCs , loss and damages , adaptation fund , finance , transfer of technology , transparency , support and capacity development gap, most of all these elements still remain a great challenge to implementing the ambitious agreement. It is important to note that some of these issues where separately looked into through a dialogue and breakout session.
Through the facilitation of experience sharing, knowledge dissemination and strengthen regional collaboration, the summit aims at designing and implementing a robust regional information exchange between CSOs (Civil Society Organisations), government, private sector, forum for local government, youth and indigenous communities, a new road map for climate change mitigation and adaption was also designed for countries to meet up with their NDCs target.
YOUTH CORNER : A PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE FROM THE AFRICA CLIMATE WEEK
YOUNGO, being the official children and youth constituency to UNFCCC – United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change (represented at the event) hosted the youth side event, sharing experiences around intergenerational equity and how young people are affected by climate change; looking at the current mechanisms for climate finance which are not accessible most of the times to youth entities; young people are advocating for inclusion in funds allocation to tackle climate change; the current framework for accessing funds does not favor young people hence, low performance of youth energy being utilize . “statistics show that young people form the world’s largest population of 7.7 billion people , this same young people’s action were celebrated at the summit but I did not hear /see how they are going to invest in their innovation or any realistic ways they will support their interventions”. This age group is often neglected in decision making, that will provide solutions to mitigation and adaption, hence financial system are not geared toward supporting youth innovation and startups that can help tackle climate change. It is also important to note that the Green Climate Funds should consult with young people to create a different merchandise for youth to access funding, through a youth focal point to help in the facilitation youth funds for climate mitigation and adaption; it is not out of place to provide youth access to carbons loans , equity and grants to empower young people to take up innovations, provide support in mitigating climate risk in the rural communities with specific focused on climate and sustainable development.
The youth match for climate action were an excluded people centered movement of young African unite against climate change to demand for climate justice , sending one message to one world, asking for youth inclusion, intergenerational equity and innovation in the fight against climate change. Youth have the strengthens, the number, and the mind to achieve climate action if only the needed support to build their capacity, increase advocacy and awareness, hence the need to carry us along can’t be over emphasized. This youth activity took a twist when Prince Israel Orekha, the Executive Director of Connected Advocacy, and the West Africa Regional Coordinator of the International Campaign for Youth Employment Decade, disrupt the United Nation special session on policy- Nature Based Solutions at Scale , with the following resounding words “enough is enough of this grama ,Young people voice needs to be heard and the time for climate justice is now”! This voice led to the closing of the session to allow for young people voice to be giving priority in the fight against climate change.
It’s imperative to note that PACJA ( Pan Africa Climate Justice Alliance) gave support to some participate across Africa to attend the Africa Climate Week, to empower young people, CSOs on the issues and strategy, to enable them increase the knowledge and capacity development gap in the fight against climate change .
STRATEGIC MEETING WITH THE NIGERIA HIGH COMMISSION IN GHANA: main conclusions
As part of our activities to conclude the Africa Climate Week in Accra, there was a strategic meeting with the Nigeria High Commission in Ghana. As a member of the Nigeria Delegation, we met at a closed door meeting to discuss topics and issues regarding the outcome of the summit and other bilateral, indigenous challenges around implementation of climate change. The need for investing in climate adaption, innovation technology, Civil Society Organizations and Private sector involvement to ensure the full implementation of NDCs; “where we are, where we need to be and how we will get there”, ensuring that Nigeria meets the requisite target was among other issues discussed with Amb. Femi Michael Abikoye, The High Commissioner to Ghana. The Ambassador welcomed us and share light on the issues raised, with in-depth capacity and full scale knowledge about the impact of climate change, and promised to relate most of the issues raised to national government for immediate actions.
- Africa must unite, strengthen relevant authorities to champion grassroots initiative , working together to combat climate change.
- Urgent need for capacity development of MDAs and CSOs, increase awareness creation programs target at the impacted communities with clear mitigation and adaption strategy communicating readiness to tackle the challenge.
- Africa for Africa should develop their content and contextualize their mitigation strategy and approach every problem needs to be tackle with our own indigenous innovation, bridging knowledge gap is imperative.
- Access to funding this should be made available to indigenous climate actors reducing the administrative and technical bottle necks. It is urgent and time for action is now!
- Develop new vision for climate change mitigation and adaption bring together key stakeholders private sector, CSOs and Government to design an holistic framework for regional integration strategy for tackling climate change , with harmonized facilities, capacity , strategy and innovations; together we can win the challenge.
- Harnessing the demographic dividend of youth, invest in youth, building their capacity and provide needed funds to implement innovative projects and programs at the grassroots.
- The final goal of which is for the General Assembly of the United Nations to declare the “YOUTH EMPLOYMENT DECADE BY 2020-2030”. A declaration that will encourage Member States to consider youth employment as a priority in their policies and that will engage them in achieving green jobs for youth that leaves no one behind.
by PRINCE ISRAEL OREKHA
Executive director of Connected advocacy for emporwerment and youth development initiative, and west Africa regional coordinator of
international campaign for youth employment decade