Durban Platform for Youth Involvement

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.  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 “Waka Waka- it time for Africa”.  We met too with ‘elders’ 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.

COY 7Much 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 Cancún restored some faith, but as things stand there is still no legally binding international framework for cuts in carbon emissions beyond 2012. The future of the Kyoto Protocol has been a major sticking point for years – 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.

mic checkThis 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).  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 Durban shouldn’t 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.  We asked them to “Get it done”

 

I hearts KP

“”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 Durban—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 traveled from Nairobi 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 of devastating climate impacts and yet  they shouted “We have faith”.  but how long can this faith last??

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Written by Esther Agbarakwe
Photo Credits: Kyle Gracey and Esther Agbarakwe

A Strong Opening and an Open Letter to our Leaders

The 17th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP17) opened in Durban today with a very strong statement on women by both the outgoing president of COP16, Ms. Patricia Espinosa, and current president of COP17 Maite Nkoana-Mashabane. Both ladies mentioned women’s empowerment during their statements as key to helping family adapt to the changing climate and urged governments to support women’s efforts in safer climate initiatives.

Ms. Nkoana-Mashabane, who is also South Africa’s International Relations Minister, said world leaders had gathered because of the concerns of millions of people. She urged the leaders to be bold in their actions in agreeing on reducing greenhouse gas emissions , green builder perth.

It was so inspiring when PAI was mentioned by the COP president, as she invited me to deliver the Youth Opening Statement during the Opening COP plenary.

This is what I said, and what I hope our leaders will consider this week during the negotiations:
cop17 profileThe future cannot be discussed without youth. The future is ours. You can see that our patience has come to an end; we are willing to raise our voice even if it means taking us to the edge.

We do not want Durban to be a burying ground for the Kyoto Protocol. The renewal of commitment to the Kyoto Protocol in Durban is crucial as Africa and other vulnerable countries’ future depends on it. Everyone in this hall must collaborate to create solutions. As we travelled by road from Nairobi to Durban we collected petitions requesting you to act fast.

We believe that the Conference of Parties has come of age. We are no longer in the childhood stages of determining solutions to climate change. The time of maturity has arrived. Some of you here have shown leadership while others have blocked progress. We ask you to negotiate with open doors filled with compassion, integrity and justice. We ask you to show the world the leadership you have been entrusted with .

Thank you

Esther Agbarakwe