Kenyan youth set for awareness walk ahead of COP27

COP27 Egypt awareness walk

From left: Zablon Ogolla, the founder Plogging Kenya, Rebecca Bor, chairperson for cycling to COP27, and Daniel Helmer, the Global March for Planet Co-coordinator during a media briefing in Nairobi on September 15, 2022.  They said a group of young people from Kenya will march to Egypt to raise awareness on climate change.

Photo credit: Evans Habil | Nation Media Group

A group of youth from Kenya are planning to undertake a 4,868km walk to raise awareness on global issues and the local solutions that grassroots actors and individuals can offer to address planetary crises ahead of the 27th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP27) in Egypt.

The March for Our Planet initiative will be undertaken both globally and within Africa in a caravan-foot march style ahead of the conference in Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt.

Speaking during a press briefing in Nairobi, Global March for our Planet Jai Jagat Network coordinator Daniel Helmer said the march brings to focus issues of climate, nature, biodiversity, pollution, land, water, food systems, migration and poverty.

Implement solutions

“Solutions not only need to be heard, but implemented, and all sectors of society and levels need to be heard and engaged. Climate represents the penultimate offence and crisis, but it is exacerbated and tripled by other crises. Thus, COP 27 represents one in many of the critical international processes this year that must be ensured as successful. In regard to this, a group of young people in Kenya, joining other youth in Africa, have decided to walk from 21 September as they head to COP27 in Egypt, raising awareness on the global climate change crises and present the plights faced by local communities across Africa,” said Mr Helmer.

With the objective to bring a global voice through advocacy and engagement of people at all levels towards COP27 and generating a platform that will be brought to COP27, especially from a global south perspective, Mr Helmer said mobilising people from the grassroots will give them a leeway to tell stories of the current struggles, needs and systems of people by bringing a collective voice from all sectors of society.

“We want to begin to identify where continued needs are in building a network of grassroots change organisations who need support on building sustainability on a local level, to recognise and advocate for groups who are underrepresented and endangered globally to ensure their protection,” Mr Helmer said.

Climate resilience

These events are aimed at advocating for sustainable environmental and natural resources management in relation to climate resilience.

COP27 is key for the young people since it is the first COP to have a youth environmental council to deliberate on efforts by young people, how they are affected and what they can do to reduce vulnerability.

The walk will start from Kwale, through Funzi Island, Diani and Voi to Nairobi. The marchers will proceed to Kikuyu then to Nakuru, Kericho, Kisumu and Busia after which they will connect with a team from Uganda, transverse through Khartoum in Sudan to Sharma Sheikh in Egypt as they train new people in principled nonviolent action and nonviolent economy.

Journey to Egypt

“This is an initiative that will follow a 4,868-kilometre journey through Uganda, Sudan to Egypt, with a focal point narrative of the importance of Lake Victoria, in addition to highlighting initiatives which local communities are doing across the route and their stories which they place as an importance of the Kenyan environment to the health, well-being and prosperity of the people of Kenya and Africa. This caravan will follow the Nile River from Lake Victoria all the way to Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt highlighting similar work being done across countries,” said Mr Helmer.

COP27 aims to bring together governments to accelerate global efforts to confront the climate crisis.

“The latest science shows that climate change is moving much faster than we are, and is pushing ecosystems and communities to their limits. We need to urgently scale up efforts to adapt to a warming world and to implement climate solutions across all sectors to halve emissions by 2030,” Mr Helmer.