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COP27 Youth: African youth demands inclusion on climate change matters 

African youth representatives and delegates in the ongoing United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) have asked policymakers and heads of government to ensure the inclusion of young persons during decision-making on climate matters.

Youth Climate Justice at COP 27. Photo Credit: Vanessa Blog
Youth Climate Justice at COP 27. Photo Credit: Vanessa Blog

African youth representatives and delegates in the ongoing United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) have asked policymakers and heads of government to ensure the inclusion of young persons during decision-making on climate matters.

The youth representatives spoke during “COP27 Youth and Future Generation Day” This year’s COP27 makes history with the first-ever “Youth-led Climate Forum, Children and Youth Pavilion at COP and Youth Envoy.” 

The young representatives from the Conference of the Youth present the Global Youth Statement, underlining key policy asks. Young Africa session reveals adaptation and funding as priorities for the continent’s youth.

COP27 Presidency’s focus on youth was to ensure that the voices of the young and future generations are heard. The “COP27 Youth and Future Generation Day” sought to ensure that young people be part of the conversation. 

The youth day kicked off with an opening ceremony of the thematic day and youth-led climate forum, which brought together high-level policymakers with young representatives from the Conference of the Youth (COY17) to present the Global Youth Statement and underline the key policy asks compiled by the world’s youth for inclusion in the COP27 discussions and outcomes and drive climate ambition and implementation.  

According to COP27 Presidency, the youth representatives presented their key demands that paid specific attention to Action for Climate Empowerment, Adaptation and Resilience and Accessible Finance that were determined during COY17 which convened over 1,000 young people from more than 140 countries before the official opening of COP27, and following several rich local, national and regional conferences of youth.

COP27 President, Sameh Shoukry, during his recent visit to the Children and Youth Pavillion, said: “The impacts of climate change have significant effects on the health, nutrition, education and the future of young people, meanwhile youth stands to be the most impacted by the decisions we take at the climate process. Thus, they should be considered natural allies and partners in driving climate action.

“Ensuring that the youth are represented and have a seat at the table is of absolute importance as it is their future lives and livelihoods that are directly impacted by the implementation of climate commitments” Mr Shoukry added. 

In Africa, over 200 million people fall within the age range of 15 to 24, making the continent have the largest population of young people in the world and the fastest-growing youth population in the world. Africa is the only region where the population of youth is increasing. 

The Young Africa session commenced with the results of a survey that was done with over 200 African youth which showcased impressive youth-led solutions from Egypt and the rest of the continent.  

The session has youth experts who are entrepreneurs and solution makers presenting their innovative activities and grassroots initiatives for climate adaptation and mitigation, which can help the continent attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

According to the results of the survey, 64% found adaptation as a critical priority that needs to be addressed at COP27, and 84 per cent hinged their expectations on “supporting funding for youth” as a solution to their concerns. 

During the session, African youth experts, start-ups and entrepreneurs presented their grassroots initiatives for climate adaptation and mitigation in addition to innovative solutions using systematic and cross-cutting approaches to tackle local climate challenges in Africa. 

The youth participants used the session to underline the interrelationship between climate change and the enjoyment of human rights by young people and the role of youth as a catalyst for ambition and climate justice and accountability. 

It was noted also that youth perspectives and needs should be effectively integrated with the design and implementation of National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). 

Discussions during the session reflected the strong support by youth to establishing a financial mechanism focused on loss and damage, the further movement towards just transition, and also for local adaptation and resilience solutions that are responsive to the needs of vulnerable communities. 

The youth also said quality education needs to improve in Africa as well as the provision of green decent jobs. 

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