What youth want addressed at Africa climate summit

A section of activists from African Countries take part in the 'Real Africa Climate Summit People's protest against the African Climate Summit (ACS) from Nyayo stadium to Green Park, Nairobi. September 4th, 2023. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

African youth, civil societies and indigenous people have given their demands at the ongoing week-long Africa Climate Summit (ACS).

Speaking under Africa Youth Climate Assembly (AYCA) during the opening ceremony of the summit, the youth gave eight demands that they want to be met by summit stakeholders.

"We oblige upon stakeholders to recognise, promote and invest in the decision of the AYCA to establish the Assembly as the principal forum for consolidating and meaningfully enhancing the coordination of climate governance across member states beyond the ACS," said Elizabeth Wathuti, AYCA lead coordinator representing Kenya.

She added: "We also urge the key stakeholders to support youth inclusion in advancing Africa's sustainable development goals and the green growth agenda in official continental forums."

The youth want the summit stakeholders to engage Africa Unions' Youth Division and Department of Sustainable Environment and Blue Economy to integrate the AYCA into their structures, aligning with Article 19 of the African Youth Charter on Sustainable Development and Protection of the Environment.

Also, they want an intergenerational green investment fund to be created to generate green jobs for youth in Africa.

"We also want you to lobby for the established United Nations Youth Office to be domiciled in Africa in line with the structuring of a global multilateral climate institution,'' said Deon Shekuza from Namibia.

Currently, the UN Youth Office is headquartered in New York City in the US.

African youth want adaptation jobs and also to be equipped with entrepreneurial skills for solutions and fostering resilient livelihoods.

They also want stakeholders to engage African youth as advocates for increased access to renewable energy, exploring Africa's agricultural potential and finally invest in youth-led research and innovation for identifying local climate solutions.

They said their vision encompasses green investments, renewable energy, adaptation initiatives, and youth-led innovation.

"Climate justice and sustainability are within our reach, if not, one day we will be here at your place with our countries burning and drowning and you will not be there to save us. Join our hands to save our continent," said Saad Ukaas from Morocco.

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