The African Youth Conference on Climate (AFRIYOCC) rolled to life yesterday in the resort town of Victoria Falls.
By Pretty Chavango
Young people from different countries in Africa have answered to the call of tackling climatic issues as they deliberate on ways to curb climate change in Africa.
Delegates from Namibia, South Africa , Zambia , Malawi and Zimbabwe among other African nations are currently engaging on challenges being faced in their respective countries and exchanging ideas on their action plans and ways to implement them .
Zimbabwe United Nations President, Mr Fischer Chiyanike, welcomed delegates to the conference urging active participation as young people unpack climate issues urging sustainable and achievable solutions.
“It us up to the young people to set the agenda on ways to curb climate change as the leaders of tomorrow , as we work on our position paper let us make sure our proposed solutions are tangible,” he said.
The conference which is set to be officially opened today by Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate is the first of its kind, following calls by the African Union during the 23rd AU summit of head of states in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea which tasked the setting up of a youth programme of the Committee of African Heads of States and Government of Climate Change (CAHOSCC).
The theme of the conference is “African Youth responses to climate change and food security, Action from the frontline.”
Young people attending the conference have unanimously agreed that climate change is no longer a future threat but a “now thing” which demands immediate action.
Peter Mkandawire, from Malawi argued young people to unpack issues of climate change saying that if every person should relate to such issues, noting that most people find these issues complex and full of jargon such that they do not realize the need to contribute to the curbing of climate change.
“We must own these things working on literacy concerns for example explaining the green house gases to farmers and those in the grassroots levels ,let us get out of science and use local languages “ , said Mkandawire .
As the young people prepare the position paper to be presented to the Heads of States during the fifth Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA) to be held on Wednesday it has been noted that there is need to bridge the gap between young people from Africa and those from first world countries as climate change does not impact in isolation, rather it is a global issue which needs to be tackled at a global level.
Lawrence Mashungu representing Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate urged the youths to come up with a strong , detailed position paper as the conference comes at a time when the world is looking at coming up with a new agreement on climate change through COP 21.
Khomotso Mtuli, from South Africa said governments need to reserve funds for adaptation measures when it comes to climate change as most times there is no money to tackle climate change effects.
Africa is the least contributor to climate change with China and United States listed as the largest emitters of greenhouse gases in the world however it is one of the most vulnerable continents to climate change noting its considerably limited adaptive capacity, geographical position exacerbated by widespread poverty and the existing low levels of development.
African Youth Conference on Climate ChangeCommittee of African Heads of States and Government of Climate Change (CAHOSCC)Elephant Hills HotelKhomotso MtuliLawrence MashunguPeter Mkandawire