August 27, 2012

Africa Rio+20 Opinion Piece

AFRICAN RIO+20 YOUTH CONFERENCE OPINION PIECE
Nairobi 12th and 13th JUNE, 2012

Preamble

We, the youth delegates to the Pan African Youth Conference, Africa +20, at Nairobi, Kenya:
Acknowledging the urgent need to start a transition towards green, fair and people-centered agriculture, that promotes a sustainable food system through the production of sufficient, healthy and balanced food for all humanity while maintaining or enhancing ecosystems, biodiversity and natural resources;

Committing to the promotion of innovations that will lead to and sustain a green economy;
Taking note that the sanctity of life of future generations depends solely on our actions and commitment towards sustainable development;
Recognizing that our governments have a moral and political responsibility to steer our collective national policies and legislation along the sustainable development path;
Commit to:
  1. Adopting Sustainable livelihood patterns that will promote saving of energy
  2. Finding solutions to the problem of youth unemployment through innovation in eco business thus facilitating the creation of green jobs.
  3. Participation in policy processes that incorporate the “going green” concept
  4. Peer capacity building and awareness creation on the effects of climate change and adaptation mechanisms that will ensure that the regions realizes a green economy in the face of changing climate conditions.
  5. Enhancing partnership among all the stakeholders that will see the up calling of medium and small scale business initiatives.
Demand that our governments collectively commit themselves to supporting;
  1. The reduction of youth unemployment through the creation of green jobs.
  2. The Progressive reform of education systems and curricula to enhance the knowledge and skills necessary for Sustainable Development.
  1. Strengthening local, national and regional institutional, legal and policy frameworks for Sustainable Development driven towards sustaining a blue economy and availability of clean water for all.
  2. Improve transport infrastructure in the region to facilitate movement of agricultural produce to towns and urban centers.
  3. Formulate policies and strategies that promote access to clean forms of energy for all
  4. Promote and implement effective water harvesting and recycling mechanisms that will in turn facilitate optimal agricultural yield.
  5. Support and encourage eco-focused business initiatives and innovations that will ensure that the concept and goal of a Green Economy is realized regionally.

Conclusion
Although Africa has progressed in integrating the pillars of Sustainable Development (Economic, Social and Environmental growth), a number of weaknesses and challenges still remain and must be addressed. The key challenges relate to decreasing financial resources to foster Sustainable Development, in view of a weak private sector and limited public sector resources, yet the transition to a green economy requires additional resources, new technologies, human and financial resources.

We, as young people, are cognizant of the fact that;
  1. Green Economy is a welcome development that the continent is willing and ready to embrace in the context of attaining our needs while embracing ecological conservation.
  1. The development should however, NOT be used as a justification for new barriers to trade, aid or access to finance.
  1. Institutional mechanisms to monitor and ensure integration of the three pillars of Sustainable Development in an integrated and balanced manner need to be established and where they exist strengthened and positioned where they will have the muscle to influence policy and decision making;
  1. The future of humanity through the rest of the 21st century depends upon an integrated and sustainable intensification of agricultural production to deliver consistent food, nutrition and energy at the national and continental level and addresses and overcomes the negative effects of land degradation, loss of biological diversity, water scarcity and the effects of climate change.
  1. Youth are partners, assets and a prerequisite for Sustainable Development in Africa with a unique contribution to make to the present and future generations and are a great potential in driving Sustainable Development in Africa.
This is what we declare and recommend to our governments as well as the private sector and civil society, to undertake ahead of Rio+20 and beyond. Any action to be taken affects us and future generations. We care about our planet and we will all work together in creating a more sustainable era.

Posted by: Kennedy Liti Mbeva

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