Africa Youth on the Climate Frontline: AfDB Promised 1 Billion Dollars for Youth’s Climate Adaptation Efforts
On Monday, September 4, 2023 the University of Nairobi through the Wangari Maathai Institute with the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) hosted a high level inter-generational dialogue tagged, Africa driving Climate Adaptation solution & jobs.
The Chief Guest, Former Secretary General, United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Sports graced the occasion. Other panelists are former presidents and Ministers of different countries, and young people. Its about time that Africa led the conversation on Climate change. Africa is on the frontline of the climate emergency it did not create. Africa’s youth population is the largest ever with almost one billion people under the age of 35. Climate change is an intergenerational issue, disproportionately impacting younger generations who will experience worsening climate impacts throughout their lifetime.
Ban Ki-moon, Former Secretary General, United Nations, and Chairman of Global Center on Adaptation, challenged the youth to speak up, ‘Speak up, come out and vote and use your voice. Be Crazy ambitious and compassionate about humanity. Be Global citizens, do not consider the National boundaries that separate us. We are all humans facing the same global challenges.’ He was excited as he noted that he has planted a tree and compared it to Wangari Maatha’s advocacy and legacy of planting trees. He told the youth to continue being hopeful and being agents of change.
The CS, Ministry of Sports, Hon. Ababu Namwamba, announced the recruitment of 1M youth on the Green Army to assist in achieving the President’s goal of planting 15 Billion trees by 2032. He pledged the government’s commitment on climate adaptation efforts in Kenya.
Dr. Patrick Veerkoijen, the CEO of GCA and Distinguished Chair of WMI, said that it is time for Africa to lead the conversation and action against climate change immediately. He said, ‘Adapt or die’, Africa is ground zero and the effects of climate change continue to be felt across the world every minute, ‘We are in the eye of the storm’.
He noted that the GCA is the only organization that has made a commitment of raising 25 Billion USD in the next five years towards Climate Adaptation in Africa through the AAAP programme.
On his part, the President, African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina announced the launch of 1 Billion USD youth facility that will go towards climate adaptation efforts in Africa. He mentioned the partnership with GCA through the AAAP programme that has a commitment of raising 25 Billion USD and has called for more organizations to partner to raise the funds towards mitigating the effects of Climate change.
The Vice Chancellor, University of Nairobi, Prof. Stephen Kiama, expressed the priviledge of hosting such a high-level intergenerational dialogue. He noted, ‘We gather here today to highlight the importance of the voices of our youth in confronting the climate crisis that our continent faces. This dialogue seeks to empower and involve the next generation in shaping their own future. As the African proverb says, "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." Today, we choose to go together, united in our determination to tackle the challenges of climate change.’
‘It is a moment of great significance that we have the privilege of listening to the insights and perspectives of different generations especially the young people. Their voices will guide us towards effective solutions and strategies to address this crisis. By engaging in this dialogue, we acknowledge that the youth are not simply beneficiaries, but rather active contributors and agents of change. And they are learning from our experience and hope to do better’ noted Prof. Kiama.
The high-level intergenerational dialogue is happening during the Africa Climate Summit 2023 that the Government of Kenya and the Africa Union is hosting.
Other high-level guests that are in the panel are H.E Graca Machel, Deputy Managing Director, IMF, H.E Bo Li, H.E. Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, Minister for International Development, Norway among other guests and the youth.