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African climate youth activists gather ahead of COP27

Kenya hosts hundreds of youth climate activists from Africa for the second edition of Nairobi Summer School on Climate Justice, a platform headed by the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA).

Young African climate change activists have been given an opportunity to voice their concerns ahead of Egypt’s COP27 in November.

Hundreds are currently gathering at Nairobi’s Kenyatta University for two weeks to voice their concerns.

The Nairobi Summer School on Climate Justice (NSSCJ) educates both passionate stakeholders and young climate activists by empowering them with more knowledge on climate change and providing practical skills to fight for climate justice on a global stage.

Africa still remains the most endangered continent according to reports by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), despite emitting the least greenhouse gases at 2-3%.

Climate change has disrupted normal rainfall patterns in most regions, affecting the continent’s biggest economy – agriculture.

During the opening ceremony, the Acting Executive Director of the Pan African Climate Justice

Alliance, Mr. Charles Mwangi said, “Our destiny is in our own hands. We must equip the youth to engage with their governments and demand effective and adequate policies that will cater for their low carbon future.”

The organisation is taking major steps in ensuring the climate justice conversations in the future are led by young activists who are well equipped with knowledge and the capacity to drive change.

For the two-week symposium, activists will engage with fellow established climate campaigners, researchers, experts, and academicians on sustainability goals and the importance of green initiatives.

More than 700 young activists will also be following online.

Giving young Africans the opportunity to learn and engage ahead of COP27 will encourage inclusivity. This year’s event is expected to have a greater African turnout as it will be held in Egypt.

Climate change has affected various communities’ living patterns. From extreme weather conditions causing drought and famine in Northern regions, to flooding causing havoc in Southern areas, food supply chains are currently a major problem and thousands are facing extreme hunger.

For years, Africa’s youth has not been given a front seat at climate negotiations like COP. Gen Z has demonstrated the capacity to lead through online engagements and forums to create change and for leaders to act.

One of the renowned young digital climate activists from Nigeria, Lucky Abeng, will be attending the conference. “Let the youth negotiate for themselves and bring on board ideas they think can work for them”, he said. He is also the Coordinator for the Commonwealth Youth Climate Change Network.

Beginning the climate change conversation in schools will make more of us aware of our environment and create positive, impactful practices.