African Youth Call for Inclusive and Meaningful Investments at Africa Climate Summit
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From September 1-3, the Africa Youth Climate Assembly (AYCA) joined hands to produce the AYCA Nairobi Declaration, which includes an ambitious call for African and international decision-makers to “commit to meaningful, inclusive, and systemic embedding of youth engagement in African climate change frameworks and process.”
The statement comes as a precursor to the African Union Heads of State and Government Africa Climate Summit 2023, which is taking place this week in Nairobi, Kenya. The summit aims to mobilize solutions to climate change while accounting for both Africa’s development and the need for increased investment in global action.
The youth assembly resolved that stakeholders at the Africa Climate Summit should support youth inclusion in climate and development decision-making, investment in green youth entrepreneurship and research, and the establishment of a United Nations Youth Office in Africa, among other commitments.
The declaration also stressed the empowerment of marginalized groups of young people, including youth with disabilities and young climate migrants.
Youth representatives presented their remarks at the start of the summit’s opening plenary on September 4. “Our declaration reflects our commitment to harness the power of our youth to drive meaningful change,” said Elizabeth Wathuti, the Assembly’s Lead Coordinator based in Kenya. “The African Youth Climate Assembly’s vision is rooted in inclusivity, resilience, innovation, and the conviction that young people are one of the biggest resources that Africa is endowed with.”
Deon Shekuza, a Namibian Youth Representative, then summarized the declaration, stressing the call to create an intergenerational green investment fund to generate green jobs for African youth.
Saad Uakkas, Youth Representative, Morocco, closed the youth statement: “Our vision encompasses green investments, renewable energy, adaptation initiatives, and youth-led innovation… We have to trust you, and you have to trust us. We call upon you leaders to enable us and stand with us in this crucial mission.”
At the closing session of the summit, Kenya’s President, H.E. William Ruto commended the youth representatives in his own remarks, echoing that young people are Africa’s greatest resource to deliver prosperity and well-being for Africa’s growing population while attaining global climate goals.
Following the youth declaration, the African Development Bank Group announced the launch of a $1 billion initiative to finance youth-led businesses and start-ups.
The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) has consistently demonstrated its unwavering commitment to empowering youth in Africa to become champions for conservation and sustainable development. We firmly support AYCA's call for meaningful youth engagement in African climate change frameworks and processes, highlighting the importance of incorporating the voices and ideas of the youth into decision-making dialogues.
AWF's dedication to youth empowerment extends beyond mere rhetoric. The African Wildlife Foundation stands as a steadfast advocate for the youth in Africa, echoing the sentiments expressed in the AYCA Nairobi Declaration. AWF's commitment to youth engagement, green entrepreneurship, and inclusivity reinforces its role as a catalyst for positive change in the continent's conservation and climate efforts. Through collaborative endeavors like the AYCA, AWF remains committed to pave the way for a brighter and more sustainable future for Africa's youth and its precious natural resources.