The latest round of Climate Change negotiations are starting today in Durban South Africa. We have already began to hearing from the many young people attending the talks through the updates they are posting on various platforms. The program is extensive and offers a lot of opportunity to ensure the voices of young people are heard.
We posted an Open Letter a few days back to the young people from the African Continent attending these Climate Change negotiations. We called for a engagement with a purpose. We called for collaboration. We called for substance and consistency. We called for passion and much more. With this short piece, we want to reaffirm our call.
Africa is facing a lot of challenges as a result of Climate Change. The continent is by far a victim than an instigator. We are suffering as a result of selfish, capitalistic and short-cited policies of the developed world. And as a result of the adverse changes they are causing, Africa and most of the developing world is left to suffer the effects. Some countries will disappear in the next decades as a result of sea level rise. Others will sink even deeper in poverty because of loosing their livelihoods and others will suffer diseases that would have not reached them had it not been for Climate Change.
We know the history of our world tells us that Climate Change happens anyway, but we also know that the economic policies of the developed world is accelerating and making the effects of these changes even more severe. Food security is one of the issues that emerges from the climate catastrophe and because of their economic might, developed countries are now breathing down Africa's neck and grabbing land to ensure supply of grain. The sad part is our leaders are falling into their trap and are selling land and rights to produce on the land for absurd amounts and periods of time. And when they do this, the interests of the communities these transactions affect are not an issue considered.
Our Renewed Call
We call on young people at the talks to embody a purpose. Climate Change in itself is vast. If you are not clear of your purpose, objective and message, you will simply waste your time. We call on you to dig deep and find something to be vocal about, something you can measure your participation on. Set yourself targets and if possible, evaluate your participation each day and see where you can do better and where you can increase emphasis.
We call on young Africa's to be courageous and ensure their voices (with clarity and substance, not vulgarity) are heard by bringing their voices together. As we said in our open letter, Africa faces challenges that are common with respect to climate change. We have a common cause. Let our leaders swim in the diversity of their politics - for you, seize the strength in the potential possessed in your youth and fresh ideas.
And lastly, we call on young people to put their connections and technologies of social networking to mobilize the continent for a much stronger voice at the negotiations. There are millions of tools you can use, we encourage you to take them to full advantage.
We applaud your commitment and look forward to hearing about your experiences and contributions to these negotiations.
Originally published in Connect African Development - http://connectafricandev.blogspot.com/2011/11/cop-17-and-cmp-7-begins-today-we.html