By Dibo Willis-Ambetsa
A government think-tank has called for inclusion of the youth in the Kenyan roadmap for COP28, which will be held in the United Arab Emirates.
The Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (Kippra) said there are many youths and youth organizations engaging in climate mitigation measures whose work should not be ignored.
“Kenya is at a unique position moving to COP28 due to the recently concluded Africa Climate Summit. The youth are doing incredible work in the climate action space, and therefore, as Kippra, it is our duty to provide knowledge that will help them navigate any challenges,” said Dr Rose Ngugi, Kippra’s executive director during a meeting that brought together various stakeholders engaging in climate action.
COP28, which will be held in Dubai between November 30 and December 12, has several thematic areas including renewable and clean energy, health impacts, global healthcare systems, food security and nutrition, climate-smart agriculture, water systems, sustainable consumption, sustainable mobility, climate finance, loss and damage, nature based ecosystems, ocean health and gender equality.
Dennis Munene, a representative from Catholic Youth Network, an affiliate of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), said the youth should take advantage of the fact that the headquarters of the global body is in Nairobi.
“When I got into climate action, all I knew was that the environment was three things – trees, litter and Wangari Maathai. The youth today have access to knowledge and information through Kippra, which is a one of a kind institution in Africa, and also through UNEP, which is next door,” he stated.
The meeting observed that Kenya has a shortage of climate negotiators. Therefore, with the AU having been recently given a permanent seat at G20, it is important that Kenya, and Africa at large, has enough climate negotiators to push the African agenda.
“The research work that is done by Kippra is important to arm the youth with the information they need,” noted Hurdson Thomas, the CEO of Greenspace Youth Network.
For COP27, Kippra supported the youth through training and information sharing for them to understand the policy making process. This prepared them adequately for the summit.
Grace Vihenda, the Head of Innovation and Sustainability at Kenya Airways, said that Kenya is well represented when it comes to sustainable mobility.
“Part of our innovations as Kenya Airways is that we are working on carbon emission reduction. For example, we have worked with a youth group that turns plastic into fuel. Sustainable bio fuel is the way to go. We also do significant conservation work all over the country,” she noted.