Sustainable Engagement of African Youth's Participation in Climate Change in the New Climate Agreement

The recently signed global climate agreement has elicited mixed reactions from around the world by attracting both praise and condemnation in equal measure. But beyond what different people think about the COP21 Paris agreement, we as African youths must step up to the expectations of what it means for us, and the future of our continent.

Within the intergovernmental UNFCCC since 2009, YOUNGO, the official youth organizations civil society constituency has a ‘Global South’ representative who among others, assists organizing the annual Conference of Youth, which brings youth from around the world together in order to build their capacity to participate in climate negotiations. 

Through its Article 6 on Education, Training and Public Awareness, the UNFCCC calls on governments to implement educational and training programmes on climate change to educate, empower and engage all stakeholders including young people. 

At the Lima COP20 in Peru, Decision 19/CP.20, the Lima Ministerial Declaration on Education and Awareness-raising, reaffirmed that youth are one of the key stakeholders to participate and access information and knowledge both of which are crucial for developing and implementing effective policies to combat climate change and adapt to its impacts.

Youth have traditionally been underrepresented in decision-making processes and offered few opportunities to have their voices heard regarding issues that concern them including climate change. All too often, there is a lack of genuine participation of young people in responding to climate change, since programmes are still designed for them, rather than engaging with them as partners.[1]

Whereas African youth are appreciative of the establishment of the ClimDev-Africa Youth Platform (CLAYP), they would wish to see more diverse groups of people benefit from the initiative as opposed to a few select youth representatives as has been the case during the past year in 2015. 

It’s common across the continent to find that the already developed national policies on climate change insufficiently address the education and engagement of youth in climate change issues and the importance of these issues to their present and future lives.

Youth can play a role in informing and educating other youth, sharing information and building capacity, campaigning, lobbying and advocacy, engaging in consultations, leading initiatives, and participating in policy development and decision making.[2]
Through appropriate education, information, resources and guidance, African governments must adequately support young people and provide opportunities for them to become informed participants in order to effectively mobilize youth and prepare current and future generations to be agents of change. This is in line with Agenda 21, Article 6 of the UNFCCC and the outcome document of Rio+20 in 2012, ‘The Future We Want’. 

Eric Mwangi Njoroge blogs for the Network of African Youths for Development (NAYD) on matters concerning climate change. He is currently an Adaptation Policy Fellow during the ongoing Phase III of the African Climate Change Fellowship Program (ACCFP) jointly administered by the Institute of Resource Assessment (IRA-UDSM) of the University of Dar es Salaam and START International, Inc. (START). He can also be reached via email at

[1] D. Selby and F. Kagawa, ‘Runaway Climate Change as Challenge to the “Closing Circle” of Education for Sustainable Development’, 4:1 Journal of Education for Sustainable Development (2010), 37.
[2] United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), The World Youth Report (United Nations (UN), 2012).

COP21 Paris Agreement: NAYD’s Response Statement.

Perhaps the most anticipated event of the year came to a close this past weekend in Paris resulting in a much awaited unprecedented world climate change agreement. The Western mainstream media such as those in the United States did not cover the most critical aspects of the debate despite wide coverage during the opening day of the Summit. Most presented the warming limit for the world that all nations sought to achieve as a ‘simple choice’ between 2 degrees C or 1.5 degrees C for the international community but left out the enormous costs that a majority of the poor developing countries would face as a result of this ‘choice’.

The COP21 Final Climate Change Agreement Full Text has Article 2(1a) as its major highlight and it reads "Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 20C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5c above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change". Still, this is inadequate especially to the majority of poor developing countries.

Major contentious points in the COP21 Paris Agreement
It gives no clear protection to the rights of groups/regions vulnerable to climate change as it presented a position of shared responsibility by failing to explicitly reflect the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC). Clearly, the Paris agreement has moved away from the rigid differentiation between Annex I and non-Annex I countries found in the Kyoto Protocol, towards a more bottom-up global approach of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to be reviewed every five years.

It also didn’t spell out modalities of contribution by developed countries towards the long-promised USD 100 billion Green Climate Fund for developing countries affected by climate change starting in 2020. This gets interesting as increasingly affluent countries such as China continuing to stick to the developing country status position during the negotiations for the past 20 years even though at COP 21 President Xi Jinping promised to contribute more than USD 3 billion in climate aid to the cause.
Perhaps most importantly, whereas it is the first globally acceptable climate deal, it is not a legally binding climate deal since it guarantees nothing to the vulnerable countries.

Nevertheless, COP 21 was a great improvement on previous COP sessions as it now shows commitment by almost all countries of the world in tackling climate change. Ultimately, while COP21 in Paris took a step in the right direction, only the concrete actions governments will take over the coming weeks, months and years ahead will help shape our common future.

Eric Mwangi Njoroge blogs for the Network of African Youths for Development (NAYD) on matters concerning climate change. He is currently an Adaptation Policy Fellow during the ongoing Phase III of the African Climate Change Fellowship Program (ACCFP) jointly administered by the Institute of Resource Assessment (IRA-UDSM) of the University of Dar es Salaam and START International, Inc. (START). Eric tweets on development and climate change here @erictwese.

Message from ACTION/2015 following a weekend of action on climate change across the World

Dear all,

huge congratulations and a big thank you for all the hard work and creativity you put into pulling off a spectacular weekend of mobilisations! It has been amazing to see the hundreds of updates coming in from around the world!

Early estimates suggest that 570,000 people that have gathered, cycled, marched and danced through 2300 events in over 175 countries - spreading our message for a fairer, cleaner, safer world. People of faith, affected communities, the young and old, activists, development workers, and trade unionists, all joined together to demand urgent climate action at the Climate Summit (COP21) in Paris.
Check out some of the photos on our Flickr page here:
And here are just a few of the highlights so far to give you a flavour of all the awesome mobilisations around the world:    
In India, more that 140,000 people took to the streets today to raise awareness of the dangerous effects of climate change and demand climate action to protect the country’s most vulnerable communities.

In Malawi, thousands took to the streets and to their bikes to demand concrete action from world leaders.

 In Costa Rica, communities took to the streets and used art to call for climate justice.

 In Nepal, even elephant marched - highlighting the adverse impact of climate change on animals like elephants and rhinos. A paraglider also took to the skies to call for action at COP21.

In Indonesia, 3000 people gathered at a colourful march in Jakarta. Here are some of the action/2015 activists that took to the streets.

In Chile, thousands joined the people's climate march with artists & citizens leading the way under the slogan of “Let’s mobilise for the planet and real commitments!”

In Afghanistan, people took to the streets for a climate march and 200 people gather for a cleanup in Kabul. 

In Uganda, communities braved the rain for a Climate March in Kampala, echoing the Pope’s call for urgent climate action.

In South Africa, 1,500 people took to the streets in Cape Town and 500 in Johannesburg. 

 In Togo, thousands took to the streets for the Lomé ‘Marche pour le Climat’.

In the UK, 50,000 people went to the streets to ask for strong climate action at the COP21 in Paris.

  In Ukraine, thousands braved the weather to march in Kiev.

  And in MENA, activists gathered for climate action in Yemen

  ...and a marathon was also organized in Kuwait City.

 Please do keep updating us on your amazing mobilisations so we make sure leaders feel the GLOBAL CLIMATE MARCH heat!
1) SOCIAL MEDIA - Share images and messages from your mobilisations on social media using #action2015 and #ClimateMarch
Sample messages:
·         I joined the #ClimateMarch around the world.  @nameofleader commit for ambitious climate action at #COP21 [attach image of your mobilisation]
·         I call on @nameofleader  to play your part in the fight against climate change #ClimateMarch #action2015 [attach image of your mobilisation]
·         Complete the very brief survey After your activities have been completed don’t forget to complete the really M&E simple form here so we can track your actions and then they can be added to the grand totaliser on our website! (contact Zack if you have any questions:
·         Record and share the images and stories of your mobilisations to  as soon as possible this weekend. That way we can share online through the global action/2015 social media channels, with the media and with decision-makers in Paris! If you want us to be able to share your photos, you must fill out our Content License Agreement here: 
We look forward to hearing about your plans!
The action/2015 Climate Summit Mobilisation action/team

Chers tous

Tout d'abord - énormes félicitations de nous deux pour toute la créativité et l’énorme travail que vous avez fait pour mettre sur pieds une journée spectaculaire de mobilisation hier.
C’est  vraiment fantastique de voir le coup d'envoi des mobilisations pour la COP dans le monde entier! Jusqu’à maintenant, les premières estimations parlent de plus de 570000 personnes qui ont participé dans les Marches Mondiales pour le Climat – que ce soit en pédalant, marchant et dansant dans les plus de 2300 événements qui ont été organisés dans plus de 175 pays – pour diffuser notre message pour un monde plus propre, plus sûr, plus juste. Les liders religieux, les personnes les plus touchées par le climat, les militants - jeunes et vieux, les travailleurs, les organisations se concentrant sur le développement et les syndicalistes, tous réunis pour exiger une urgente action lors du Sommet sur le climat (COP21) à Paris.
Voici quelques faits marquant pour vous donner un aperçu de toutes les actions formidables qui se déroulent actuellement:
En Inde, plus de 140,000 personnes ont manifesté dans les rues pour souligner les effets dangereux du changement climatique et exiger une action importante pour le climat pour protéger les populations les plus vulnérables. Au Malawi, des milliers ont pris leurs vélos pour demander des actions concrètes des dirigeants. Au Costa Rica, les communautés sont allées dans les rues pour la justice climatique.  Au Népal, une manifestation d’éléphants a été organisée pour souligner les impacts du changement climatique sur les animaux comme les éléphants et les rhinocéros. Des parapentes ont également porté notre message pour l’action climatique. En Indonésie, Jakarta a vu à plus de 3,000 personnes se rassembler pour une marche remplie de couleurs. Voici quelques-uns des activistes d’action/2015 qui sont descendus dans les rues. Au Chili, des milliers de personnes ont rejoint la marche citoyenne avec des artistes et les communautés locales qui vont montrer le chemin sous le slogan de "Mobilisons-nous pour la planète et des engagements réels!" En Afghanistan, les gens sont descendus les rues pour le climat et 200 personnes se sont rassemblées pour un nettoyage à Kabul.  En Ouganda, les communautés ont confronté la pluie pour la Marche pour le Climat, faisant écho à l’appel pour une urgente action pour le climat. En Afrique du Sud, 1500 personnes ont manifesté dans les rues de Cape Town et 500 personnes à Johannesburg. Au Togo, des milliers de personnes ont manifesté dans les rues de Lomé pour la «Marche pour le Climat»  Au Royaume-Uni, 50,000 personnes sont descendues dans les rues pour exiger une action ambitieuse pour le climat à la COP 21 à Paris.  En Ukraine, des milliers de personnes se sont mobilisées à Kiev. Et au  Moyen Orient, les activistes se sont rassemblés pour demander une forte action pour le climat au Yémen. Et un marathon a été organisé au Kuwait.
Et continuez à nous envoyer des nouvelles de vos superbes mobilisations pour veiller à ce que les dirigeants sentent la pression des MARCHES MONDIALES POUR LE CLIMAT ! 
Et enfin voici 2 rappels rapides:
1) RÉSEAUX SOCIAUX - Partagez des photos et messages de vos mobilisations sur les réseaux sociaux en utilisant les hashtags #action2015 et #MarcheClimat .
Example de messages :
·         J’ai  rejoins les #MarcheClimat autour du monde. @nomdudirigeant engagez-vous pour des mesures ambitieuses à la #COP21 [joignez l’image de votre mobilisation]

·         J’appelle à @nomdudirigeant à assumer ses responsabilités en termes de climat #MarcheClimat #action2015 [joignez l’image de votre mobilisation]
1.     Remplissez ce très bref questionnaire : Suite à vos activités, n’oubliez pas de remplir ce simple formulaire de suivi et évaluation afin que nous puissions suivre vos actions, et pour qu’elles puissent être ajoutés au totalisateursur notre site! (Contactez Zack si vous avez des questions:

2.     Enregistrez et partagez les images et les histoires de vos mobilisations à le plus tôt possible ce weekend. De cette façon, nous pourrons les partager en ligne sur les réseaux sociaux, avec les médias et les preneurs de décision à Paris! Pour que nous puissions partager vos photos, n’oubliez pas de remplir notre Contrat de Licence de Contenu ici : 

Un grand merci et chaleureuses salutations,
Equipe d’action pour la mobilisation autour du Sommet du Climat