‘We need more youths getting involved in the work we do at AU’

From leading the first African youth delegation to attend the summit to launching the 30-point Youth Declaration on Climate Mobility, Adaptation, Policy and Finance, the envoy created an opportunity for youth to take their seat at the table and contribute to the past. Their voices were represented and heard at the climate summit held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt in November this year.

Furthermore, to mark Youth Day 2022, the AU Youth Envoy hosted an African Union Youth Meetup on the lines of COP27 on November 10, 2022. It was a platform for youth from different parts of the continent to connect and share experiences. About his climate initiative.

Neela Yasmin FaisalA 2022 AU Media Fellow, interviewed Ms Mpemba About COP27, climate dynamics, and the youth humanitarian crisis, among others youth matters, Here are the excerpts:

photo Credit: African Union

Question: This is the first time that an African youth delegation is participating in the COP. Congratulations. What exciting youth projects will you be launching here?

I think it is very exciting to see so many young people in Africa having the opportunity to participate in climate change negotiations and discussions, a realization of Article 11b in the African Union Youth Charter, which calls for creating a platform to engage youth and are engaged at the decision-making table.

I advocated for more places for Africa’s youth to not only participate in COP27, but also to have the opportunity to speak on their work on climate change, as well as to further accelerate their initiatives and make a better impact across the continent. It also supported access to funding to drive innovation. , I also believe it is important to continually build the capacity of our youth, including climate change negotiation training and more young people taking on roles in climate finance, as this is the largest demographic in Africa. The issues of loss and damage affect them the most.

My first visit at the beginning of my tenure was to Egypt. We joined with the COP27 committee to discuss climate change negotiation meetings and ways to engage youth on climate action. We advocated for a youth representative, and it’s great to see the appointment of Dr Omnia, the COP27 Youth Envoy, and African youth in particular to rally behind him in driving youth engagement on climate change.

Question: African women and youth are greatly affected by the dynamics of climate change. How are you making sure this issue is addressed?

Honestly, when a young person is experiencing[climate dynamics]I love it because I am a young person myself. Working closely with the Department of Humanities, we organized a humanitarian youth pre-summit, as young people coming up with a position and discussing humanitarian and The Pledge was organized to develop policy recommendations prior to the summit. In Malabo, including climate dynamics. But it also needs money, resources, capacity building and choice. It’s not just member states: we have African financial institutions, development organizations and young people themselves. Together, we can take this to implementation by mobilizing ourselves in our various communities, even through NGO-led organizations and civil societies, and ensure that this is not just talk, but action. Take concrete action.

Q: As an AU Youth envoy, what were your demands and expectations regarding the COP?

We demand climate justice! What is discussed at COP27 is on loss and damage, and climate adaptability. Because the youth is the largest demographic in Africa that affects us the most, yet, it is given less funding. Africa’s contribution to carbon emissions globally is the lowest. So, what I’m hoping is that more investment and funding is going to be seen towards climate adaptability, and loss and damage. Second, we need young people to inform the system at the global, continental and national levels.

photo Credit: African Union

Q: You took over as the AU Youth Ambassador in November 2021. How have you bridged the gap between AU and youth since then?

When I was appointed to my role as an AU Youth Ambassador, one of the first things I did was to go on a listening tour to raise more awareness of what the African Union was doing, but most importantly, to encourage youth What they expect from the African Union is for the people to make themselves heard, and advocate for the ratification of the African Union Youth Charter. I will continue the listening tour, which includes youth engagement, community engagement and political engagement, so that I can not only bring their voices back to the decision-making table, but engage them in implementing our policies. african union youth charter,

I want more young people at the table, more young people getting involved in the work that we do in the African Union and raising awareness of the African Union Youth Charter in its implementation by member states.

Q: How do you think youth can participate in policy making and implementation?

Youth can become part of policy making and implementation in various ways, starting with the government structure. This means we need to make sure they are included. For example, we’ve been lobbying for every country to have a youth advisor to the president, and we’ve already seen this happen in four countries. Area-specific youth advisory councils are also important as part of governance structures. Also we have to look at the ground level. We collaborate with national youth councils and community leaders, and we continue to build their capacities. Through that we can influence policy implementation.

This article was produced as part of the ‘COP27 AFRICAN YOUTH VOICES’ series, a collaboration between Rwanda Post, GLIM and L’Ecologiste., Youth initiatives and amplifying voices to mark COP27 Courtesy of the African Union (AU) Media Fellowship.

The AU Media Fellowship Program is implemented by the African Union through the Directorate of Information and Communication, supported by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ). Through the Fellowship, the AU seeks to promote ownership of key policies and programmes, and accelerate the achievement of goals under its Agenda 2063, which focuses on delivering socio-economic and developmental transformation across the continent.

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