Young people in Kenya hold workshop for a united voice on climate change.

Involving young people in conversations about climate change and policy formulation is crucial for fostering inclusive decision-making and safeguarding pastoral communities’ way of life and cultural heritage.

There is a need for factual, well-articulated and targeted communication on climate change, and this can only be achieved if the communicators are well-informed about the phenomenon. To this effect, ActionAid International Kenya (AAIK) and its partners brought together 100 young people from all corners of Kenya to build their capacity and understanding of all the facets of climate change on Monday, November 27, 2023, in Nairobi. Our partners in this initiative included Care Kenya, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), PELUM Kenya and ActionAid Denmark.

Participants following discussions during the youth workshop held in Nairobi.

When we talk about ‘Fund Our Future,’ it is imperative that the youth and communities most affected by climate change are engaged from the point of knowledge for any fruitful outcome. As we draw closer to the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and with a limited number of young people represented at COP28, the young people have resolved to occupy alternative platforms to participate in the convention.

“It is difficult to find all of us on the discussion tables in Dubai, but we can create ways to voice our issues and concerns to be discussed in the Convention. Climate change is a pressing matter, and all humans are reeling from its effects. While others will be in Dubai deliberating on climate change, Kenya is reeling in the most severe impacts of this phenomenon,” said Kitasi Wanga, AAIK programme manager – resilient livelihoods and emergencies while encouraging young people to take to social media platforms to engage and contribute to the climate fair.

Kitasi Wanga, AAIK’s programme manager, resilient livelihoods and emergencies, speaking at the youth capacity building workshop held in Nairobi.

Now, people have died from floods occasioned by El-Nino rains. Animals, crops, houses, schools, and business premises are being swept away, shuttering people’s livelihoods. Japheth Orieny, a young environmentalist, noted that young people will have to do double work to realize climate justice.

He said: “As African youth, we feel our voices and that of communities most affected are not considered in climate conventions like #COP28. It is time terminologies and policy documents are simplified for the youth to understand to contribute to the change we desire.”

Having attended various climate change forums and the COP27, the climate justice advocate also listed some challenges hampering efforts to stop and reverse climate change.

“Some delegates negotiate in bad faith, pushing their business agendas, not climate plans. Much can be achieved if such delegates are screened out of all COPs. The youth and members of communities most affected by climate change are not well represented in COP discussions,” added Orieny.

Obed Koringo, Care Kenya’s Climate Policy Adviser, makes a presentation at the youth workshop held in Nairobi.

Sharing his experience at COP meetings, Collins Odhiambo of ActionAid Denmark noted that more time and importance must be attached to the Convention deliberations.

“There is a need to articulate the urgency and impact of climate change in our lives in Africa, but if a topic/ subject or concern is allocated two minutes (literary) for consultations before presentations are made and conclusions are drawn, we cannot have the right picture from which decisions are arrived at,” averred Odhiambo.

Collins Odhiambo engages youth at the youth workshop held in Nairobi.

COP28 commences on Thursday, November 30, 2023, and runs through to Tuesday, December 12, 2023, at Expo City Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Author:  Mary Consolata Makokha, Communications Officer ActionAid Kenya. Edited by Ezra Kiriago ,Communications Coordinator ActionAid Kenya.


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