The Fourth Session of the UN Environment Assembly took place between 11th – 15th March 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya. But really to witness the informal negotiations, a lot of stakeholders, myself included, arrived a week before the official assembly. Again a first for me, I learned quite a lot about navigating negotiations in a UN environment (pun intended).
I had the privilege of attending the Africa Climate Week that took place from the 18th – 22nd March, 2019 in Accra Ghana. Thanks to the cooperation and collaboration of agencies and organizations like the UNFCCC, GCF and PACJA, youth engagement was meaningful and a success. Below is the a copy of the Climate March Statement written for YOUNGO during the March on 21st March, 2019. I am humbled to have helped pen this down.
Everyday, youth around the world are gearing up to demand for climate justice and climate action. The growing movement is now in Africa, with young people taking to the streets in peaceful demonstrations to place pressure on their governments to increase ambition.
But, it is not just about increasing Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), or sitting in boardrooms in front of policymakers to talk about our continental Adaptation Plans. It is about securing our future, protecting our livelihoods and saving the one planet that we call home.
We walk on the streets to demand for change. We walk on the streets to put a face to this terror. Climate Change is no longer a myth. It is that dark monster knocking at our doorsteps in broad daylight telling us that maybe tomorrow the homes of our brothers and sisters in small island developing states may get washed away by rising sea levels.
I start this blog post with that provocative title because this was literally my experience at my very first COP 24 session in Katowice, Poland. For those who may not understand some of the abbreviations allow me to give a quick intro:
COP – Conference of Parties
UNFCCC – United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
YOUNGO – Youth NGOs also the official youth constituency to the UNFCCC
PAWP – Paris Agreement Work Program
I got into the whole COP negotiations coffee-crazed, sleep deprived, life changing session because of a thing my organization did with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. That is another story for another day. So this thing, allowed me to earn the privilege of participating in the GSCSY (sorry another acronym) short for Global South Climate Scholarship for Youth, where I met amazing youth advocates from all over the world, literally. I am talking three continents from the global south with a rich diversity in culture and the way we all view how climate change affects us.