Half of the World population is made of amazing group young people, creative, strong and committed to finding solution to the world greatest challenge; climate change. We traveled by road, sea and air to meet with our peers in Durban, South Africa for the UN climate Talks. Â We began our participation with a 3-day Conference of Youth (COY7) at the University of Kwazulu Natal (UKZN). We held worshos on climate change policy, linking population and climate change, media and messaging, building youth climate coalitions and we dance to the tune of â€œWaka Waka- it time for Africaâ€.Â We met too with â€˜eldersâ€™ who are deciding how our future will look like without much consideration of how and what we think as the inheritor of the present unsustainable world whichever way they leave it.
Much was at stake during the talks. After the excitement, expectation and ultimate failure and farce of the Copenhagen summit in December 2009, the credibility of the entire UN process was under great scrutiny. The 2010 conference in CancÃºn restored some faith, but as things stand there is still no legally binding international framework for cuts in carbon emissions beyond 2012.Â The future of the Kyoto Protocol has been a major sticking point for years â€“ and at these talks. The final outcomes are a Green Climate Fund being instated, the Kyoto Protocol having a second commitment period and there being a road-map to a new legal binding treaty from 2015.
This year marked a great year for the Youth climate movement as we were boosted with a permanent observer seat at the UNFCCC under the YOUNGO (Youth NGOs). Â As the generation that will take over the climate which ever way the govt decides to leave it, young people like us will be spending the next 40 years of their lives de-carbonising the environment. Inside the ICC, we asked that DurbanÂ shouldn’tÂ be a burying ground for Kyoto protocol, govt should show the leadership that they are entrusted with, support Africa and other countries adapt and access the Green Climate Fund. Â We asked them to “Get it done”
“”What has been the most important and exciting news from the conference has been the active involvement of youth – There is a story of hope from Durbanâ€”it’s the story of the youth and their allies who refused to remain silent, and who will stand up everyday and everywhere and show the bravery we saw in South Africa. That’s how we’ll win this fight–and that’s the progress we’re most proud of.” ~ 350.org
African Youth were not left out. We held workshops, social media advocacy and we traveledÂ fromÂ NairobiÂ to Durban by road holding road shows, collecting petitions and creating a great wave of awareness globally on the fate of Africans struggling in face ofÂ devastatingÂ climate impacts and yet Â they shouted “We have faith”. Â but how long can this faith last??
WrittenÂ by Esther Agbarakwe
Photo Credits:Â Kyle Gracey and Esther Agbarakwe