By Isaac J. Martin
Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Nov 10 (EFE).- While the Western world is “completely disconnected” from reality, young men and women from African nations are speaking up at the Cop27 climate summit in Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh to hold polluting countries accountable for climate change consequences.
During the major UN climate change conference taking place in the African continent for the first time since 2016, those young people are taking the opportunity to share experiences and collect the necessary tools that would enable them to raise awareness about climate change back home.
Philip Owiti Dinga, a 37-year-old member of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), tells Efe he does not believe that African voices are forgotten but rather they not armed with what they need since there are many young people connecting through climate summits so that they can bring new techniques and technologies back to their countries.
A LANGUAGE THEY UNDERSTAND
These young Africans want to be able to go back to their rural areas and educate people working in the sectors most affected by climate change in a language they can understand.
Tsaone Amogelang Mokwatsu, 29, is focusing on horticulture at the Nairobi Summer School for Climate Justice, a Kenyan-based center specializing in teaching the youth how to speak up about climate change and mitigate its effects.
Mokwatsu is thankful that these annual summits exist so that Africans can meet, share their stories, and have their voices heard, but regretted that not everyone can afford to go to such events.
“We go back to our communities, to our respective countries to implement what we were taught,” she says. “We just need support and also be given an opportunity to showcase what we are doing.”
Mokwatsu, who comes from a tiny rural area in Botswana, explains that she shows those older people working on farms what “climate change is all about” through delayed harvests and the intensity and frequency of precipitation.
They carry out various activities to break down the jargon in reports of specialized agencies, she highlights, pointing out they need people to use their “talent to spread the message” and to identify what these communities need to understand.
A ‘DISCONNECTED’ WEST
One of the main issues at Cop27 is climate-related loss and damage, referring to the compensation the poorest countries get from the developed nations for the damage caused by climate change.
Dinga believes the West “is completely disconnected from the global context” because they do not take into account the elements of culture in Africa.
CONSEQUENCES OF FORGETTING AFRICA
The Sahel region is one of the most affected by climate change and where the vast majority of the population is under 25 years old.
Nigerien activist Sani Ayouba tells Efe that the youth there are “completely outside of public and development policies.”
This establishes an “ecological crisis that hits young people hard, most of whom depend economically on rural areas,” according to Ayouba.
“Young Africans must not only be at the center of making international public policies but also local ones,” Ayouba stresses. EFE