Leaders at Africa Climate Conference urge youth to take the lead

Africa Climate Conference

Antony Kirori of Green Pencils Limited writes notes down using a pencil made from recycled paper at the expo center during the opening ceremony of the Africa Climate Summit held at the Kenyatta International Conference Center (KICC) on September 4, 2023.

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

Young people around the world have received a powerful message about their role in tackling climate change.

Speaking at a high-level intergenerational dialogue on Africa driving climate adaptation solutions and jobs, former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a passionate challenge to the younger generation, urging them to step forward and make their voices heard.

"Speak out, stand up, exercise your right to vote and make your voices heard. Embrace bold ambitions and cultivate compassion for all humanity. Embrace global citizenship and transcend the confines of national borders that divide us. Remember that we are all human beings facing the same global challenges together," said Moon.

The President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, also made a major announcement during the event, launching a $1 billion youth facility dedicated to climate adaptation efforts in Africa.

He highlighted the Bank's $12.5 billion commitment to Africa's Adaptation Acceleration Programme and stressed the urgency of addressing climate change due to its significant economic impact on Africa.

"Africa is losing billions of dollars a year due to climate change and needs financial support. The African Development Bank has committed $12.5 billion to the African Adaptation Acceleration Programme and today we are launching a $1 billion initiative," Adesina said.

Meanwhile, Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba announced the recruitment of 1 million young people into the Green Army to help achieve the President's goal of planting 15 billion trees by 2032.

He pledged the government's commitment to climate change adaptation efforts in Kenya.

"In terms of implementing this convention, Kenya has already installed air-activated sensors at five monitoring sites across the country. The data from these sensors is already enabling us to take measures to control air pollution around sports venues to ensure that our children compete in a clean environment. As a deliberate action, we are also recruiting a 1 million youth green army as climate warriors," said Namwamba.

Dr Patrick Veerkoijen, CEO of GCA and Distinguished Chair of WMI, said it was time for Africa to lead the conversation and take immediate action on climate change.

He said "Adapt or die", Africa is ground zero and the effects of climate change are being felt every minute around the world, "We are in the eye of the storm".