Young Africans deserve to be part of the plans governing their futures

By Africa Youth Initiative on Climate Change | October 20, 2021

Africa’s youth population is growing rapidly and is expected to reach over 830 million by 2050. Whether this spells promise or peril depends on how leadership in Africa manages its “youth bulge”.

We are the largest demographic and therefore a significant resource to the world that cannot be ignored. We continue to be disproportionately affected by negative impacts of climate events due to the precarious position African youth tend to occupy in African societies.

Despite our majority stake, African youth are concerned about being sidelined and underrepresented in climate change policy making and implementation processes at the national, regional and international levels.

This state of play is misguided and a great disservice to our planet. African youth should be part of the climate solutions being conceptualized in rooms behind closed doors.

Integrating African youth in the creation of climate policies, plans, projects and programs at all levels is imperative. This is because African youth have the much-needed skill sets and are already leading climate action in their home countries.

What’s more, African youth work across a range of diverse industries — which make us integral to the successful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Agreement, the African Agenda 2063, the African Union Youth Charter and other national visions and plans which cut across multiple sectors.

It is non negotiable: young Africans deserve to be part of the plans governing their futures!

We recommend the following action points:

  1. Climate finance: We urge the Green Climate Fund, the African Development Bank, UNECA, and all other multilateral finance institutions to prioritize, release and urgently scale up climate financing for youth employment and green livelihoods and innovation opportunities across Africa. We also urge Africa Countries to develop national and sub-national climate change financial mechanisms with defined portfolios for the youth which incorporate accountability, transparency and reporting mechanisms
  2. NDC implementation: We call for urgency in the submission of the updated/revised NDCs from developed and developing countries to meet their obligations to the UNFCCC, and to base the revised NDC on consultations with, and clear implementation plans, involving youth
  3. Adaptation, loss and damage: We demand climate justice and more resources (financial and technical) to be channeled towards building community resilience and unlocking green jobs for the youth.
  4. Gender and climate change: We call for the full implementation of the Gender Action Plan under the enhanced Lima Work Programme by African countries
  5. Action for climate empowerment: We urge African countries to nominate ACE National Focal Points and provide them with the necessary institutional support for their activities, as well as, develop and implement national strategies on ACE
  6. Negotiations: We call for integration, capacity building and financing of African youth in climate change negotiation processes at all levels as well as, invite African countries to develop national junior negotiators programmes to mentor future negotiators
  7. Agriculture: We invite all relevant institutions to offer incentives to green enterprises run by youth and ease access to climate finance to upscale smart innovations in the agriculture sector.

The above  action points are the first steps that institutions mandated to work on climate can start working on to build goodwill amongst 60% of Africa’s population and advance the continent towards a climate resilient and green development pathway.

The time for the young people’s voices to be heard, listened to and incorporated is now!

The Africa Youth Initiative on Climate Change is the largest Youth Network Organisation in Africa. You can find us on our website here or visit us on Twitter and on Facebook. The Africa Youth Position Ahead of UNFCCC COP 26 in Glasgow has been published with the support of the Open Society Foundation, List and the UN High Level Climate Action Champions.

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