April 14, 2015


By Namboka Belinda.

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges the world is facing currently. Although it has been argued to be a natural phenomenon that man has no power over, there is enough evidence which shows how human influence exacerbates the problem. We are at that point where we can no longer afford the luxury to keep debating on whether it is happening or not. We have to act quickly and decisively to ensure that we come up with adaptation and mitigation strategies. Most importantly, we have the scientific knowledge that answers the why and how the phenomenon is taking place. With determination and persistence, we might not be able to reverse the process but we have the power to minimize its effects. We still have hope that with the current and future technologies coupled with favourable policies, we shall be able to blunten the sharp edges of climate change effects slicing through our lives. 
The youth, under the umbrella of Youth Negotiators for Climate Change-Ethiopia, together with civil society organisations, the academia and various high profile government representatives including the minister of environment from France who will be the COP21 president, the minister of environment of Ethiopia and Djibouti, the IPCC chair, Africa Group of Negotiators representative, the France ambassador to Africa and Indian ocean on climate change among others, met in Addis Ababa on the “Road to Paris/What kind of agreement do we need?” conference which took place from 7th to 9th of April.
Some interesting facts that I learnt
1.       Africa has been able to get 50% of its electricity from renewable sources since 2012
2.       Europe is dedicated to reduce 40% of its emission by 2030
3.       The Green Fund has 100billion dollars per annum
4.       There exists a youth portal where all your innovation, entrepreneurial and policy questions can be addressed (How Cool?)
5.       Egypt will be the voice of Africa chosen by the AU at COP21
The COP21 conference presents an opportunity for Africa to negotiate for its citizens a deal that will not only enhance their adaptation and mitigation capabilities, but also ensure its development agenda is well catered for. It is therefore mandatory for Africa to address the next three issues before starting the journey to Paris.
What do we know?
Impacts of Climate change to Africa
What do we want?
We must ensure it’s aligned to our desire for maximum growth
What space do we have?
Our strength as 54 nations
The African Union has decided to approach the negotiations as the African block with Egypt as our mouth piece. This means that we need to prepare well and empower Egypt well in advance with confidence and strategies to approach the negotiating table. It is therefore imperative to seal all loopholes and strengthen our pillars. Forming a 54 nation block gives us an edge but as we join the ‘Road to Paris’, we must know:
ž   How coordinated are we?
ž   Are we creating synergies as African countries or are we drawing apart?
ž   What processes are leading to COP21 at national and regional level?
ž   What issues have been raised in the different platforms and are we feeding the recommendations onto the next platforms?
ž   Who are our partners and who are our opponents at the COP21?
The conference offering a great platform, the youth especially from AYICC took advantage to voice their most pressing concerns - addressing unemployment. This was addressed in three categories;
Adaptation, mitigation and capacity building – Environmental education should start from childhood; training of young climate scientists especially on disaggregation of data by age, gender and location in IPCC, training that emphasizes on efficient social protection mechanisms to build resilience; how to influence national and regional processes. There was a proposal to create an African Agricultural Innovation Hub and implementation of Warsaw Mechanism on loss and damage.
Climate finance and technology transfer- The green climate fund should add a youth component and accredit local financial institutions that youth can easily approach; promote efficient technology transfer and incorporate technology transfer within, carbon trading mechanisms; engender young lawyers to serve as experts on climate finance planning.
Means of Implementation, Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) and youth engagement in climate negotiations- Finance participation of youth in UNFCCC, IPCC, INDCs, UNCCD and other climate policies; Creation of African Youth Group of Negotiators (AYGN); Common but differentiated responsibilities be based on historical emissions and have multilateral financing; emissions be measured according to consumptions rather than production and distinct between survival and luxury emissions; support for youth on innovations and creative campaigns against climate change.
For a detailed report on the youth position:Youth Position on Road to Paris
What’s your position as an African youth on the COP21 negotiations? What would you like addressed? Did we represent your interests as expected? Give your feedback.



  1. interesting read and good work, Keep it up!

  2. Excellent piece! Well articulated and succinct.

    Also, it is quite exciting to see how AYICC s engaged in the process, from the grassroots to the international level; way to go!

    One point though: the Green Climate Fund thus far has only about US$10 billion in pledges, but it has a target of mobilising US$100 billion per year by 2020 :)

    Otherwise, keep up and looking forward to more articles.


  3. Nice article moreso, it highlighted the entry-point of environmental education.