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Thursday, February 29, 2024

YOUNG AFRICANS AT COP27 SAY THEY WANT ACTION, NOT WORDS

Date:

By Kingsley Ighobor

‘Our planet is in trouble, and we, the young people, will be the ones to suffer if action is not taken to save it’ – Yoanna Milad, 21, from Egypt

Yoanna Milad, 21, from Egypt, says she wants to live in a clean and safe environment. “Our planet is in trouble, and we, the young people, will be the ones to suffer if action is not taken to save it. I want COP27 to lead to an agreement on exactly how and when we will stop using fossil fuels, and how we are going to have electric buses on the roads. Let countries tell us not just what they want to do but what they have done so far.”

Yoanna’s compatriot Salma Salah, 21, echoes the same point. In addition, Salma would like young Africans to be at the forefront of finding solutions to the climate crisis. “We hope that as they deliberate, they listen to our voices and our concerns, so that any agreement from COP27 will have broad support.”

The devastating impact of climate change is the key motivator for Sharon Gakii, a 24-year-old climate activist from Kenya. For her, it is personal. “I come from Kajiado County, a semi-arid region in Kenya. My parents lost at least 100 cattle due to drought, and right now they don’t have enough money to pay school fees for my younger siblings.

“I am here to make my voice heard. I am here to let everyone know it’s about time that countries meet their climate commitments. For example, the $100 billion promised by wealthy nations more than a decade ago to help poor countries in adaptation and mitigation has still not been delivered. We are in 2022. Why?” she asks rhetorically.

All solutions?

Not all young Africans believe solutions have to come from wealthy countries. Twenty nine-year-old  Dahiru Mohammad Hashim, a medical doctor from Nigeria who left his practice to concentrate on tree planting, says, “The global solution is the local solution. He believes the onus is on national governments to lead the charge.

“Our governments need to show us how they have met their NDCs [Nationally Determined Contributions],” he says. “Perennial flooding in his country and drought have led to rising insecurity”.

Solani Mhango, a Malawian working in Mozambique with the non-governmental organization World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) says he would like to hear more about loss and damage.

“I want to see a financial facility made available for loss and damage in Africa because Africa has special needs and circumstances. We cannot suffer for a situation we did not create.”

Solani laments frequent cyclones rampaging Mozambique. “There is no doubt that we are in trouble. Cyclones such as Idai [in 2019] are destroying our land, and there is need for the big, wealthy, and high-polluting nations to fulfill their $100 billion pledges for mitigation and adaption.”

For more information on COVID-19, visit www.un.org/coronavirus

Africa Renewal

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