African Youth welcome the hosting of the African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN) in Bamako, Mali from the 12 to 16 September 2011. This 14th session which aims at consolidating the African common position within the climate negotiations at COP 17 as well as the Rio + 20 gives impetus to the African youth to get their permanent observer status at AMCEN.
The African Youth Initiative on Climate Change (AYICC) is a Pan-African movement of young people and organizations which aims at addressing issues of climate change, environment and sustainable development. AYICC was formed in Nairobi in 2006 during the UNFCCC COP 12 as a platform for youth advocacy on climate change issues. Its goal is to bring together the synergies of youth to participate in various forums and debates in order to find solutions to climate change issues.
In fulfilling this, AYICC is represented at AMCEN by youth organizations and NGOs from Africa led by JVE International, an environmental organization present in over 19 countries in Africa which is fighting for climate justice through advocacy and the education of young people on climate change in Africa.
Like its peers in the African civil society, AYICC would like to remind Ministers that climate justice and sustainable development should be the basic fundamental strategy for Africa. This requires:
- Recognition of the right of people to development, the maintenance of the earth’s bio capacity , and inter and intra-generational equity;
- Urgent focus on adaptation to climate change especially for the most vulnerable communities to easily access adequate funding;
- The implementation of an innovative financing mechanism that takes into account historical responsibility, direct access (without intermediaries), and the rejection of all forms of debt;
- A call to limit the average increase in temperature to below 1.5 ° C; and
- Integrating environmental sustainability into national development plans.
All these demands are contained in the ‘Have Faith-Act Now’ petition campaign in which AYICC is involved and in which we are seeking to collect one (1) million signatures to take to COP 17.This campaign also includes a youth caravan from Nairobi to Durban.
Further to this, AYICC wishes to reaffirm its commitment to contribute to the construction of a new development paradigm. In this regard, Rio +20 is an opportunity for us to:
- Act on the transition to a low carbon development and build resilience to the impacts of climate change
- Lay the foundations for a genuine global governance mechanism for sustainable development
- Place Youth, Chidren and Indigenous peoples in particular and civil society in general, at the heart of environmental governance and development.
- Guide the green economy to address the fight against poverty while taking care not to exacerbate social inequalities, let alone the destruction of biodiversity or the collapse of the poor states in favor of the private sector.
The urgent and important message that the ministers should take to heart is that: 'Climate change threatens the balance of life on Earth with Sea level rises and increased acidity , the melting of ice caps and glaciers, deterioration of forests and coral reefs and other ecosystem changes. With these, the existence of some communities is threatened while others face increasing difficulties in their development . According to Sylvia Wachira the AYICC Coordinator. ‘While the lives of young people and children are just blooming, it is undeniable that we are on the brink of a climatic catastrophe which will cause disturbances with unpredictable weather patterns, the collapse of food systems, mass migration and unprecedented human conflict .’
With this in mind, we AYICC affirms that it is committed to supporting the position of Africa to reach a fair and equitable agreement at COP 17 in Durban.
We represent the future which you speak of : RESPECT IT!