African Youths Concerned by Climate Change
By Tapiwa Makosa
A survey on Climate Change conducted among the youth by UNICEF Zimbabwe has established that Climate Change was one of the major issues of concern among young people.
According to the poll, over 63% of young people who responded pointed out that, ‘Climate Change is one of the most pressing concerns for the young people today.’
Among those involved in the survey, 93% were aged between 20 and 24 years.
In addition, they called on the government to take urgent action in combating Climate Change.
They added young people needed to actively engage in lobbying and advocacy to ensure that their concerns on Climate Change were addressed.
The 2016 COP Summit held in Marrakesh, Morocco called for “the highest political commitment to combat Climate Change”.
The minister of Environment, Water and Climate, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri says her ministry has facilitated Climate Change debates across the country as part of efforts to educate young people on environmental protection and Climate Change issues.
“This is part of the government strategy to include young people in policy formulation for Climate Change, adaptation and mitigation activities as outlined in the Climate Change Response Strategy.”
According to the Climate Change Response Strategy: “Children have a major stake in the future and have the right and responsibility to participate in decisions that affect them, and to take adaptive action on Climate Change.
“ Therefore, children and youth should be actors in the Climate Change agenda, rather than being treated as passive observers or victims. Children should learn about Climate Change issues in a way that does not make them feel threatened, but rather, that addressing it is something they can be part of.”
Africa contributes far less to the causes of Climate Change but is affected heavily by the phenomenon.
Prior to each and every COP Summit, a Conference of Youths (COY) is held, and non-governmental organisations headed by young people from around the world gather to deliberate on the motions for debate during the Summit.
This is the highest platform for young people to add their voice in the formulation of international policies that will in-turn help their countries to combat Climate Change.
The conference affords the young people an opportunity to understand Climate Change and how they can make appropriate interventions from policy formulation to behavioural change.