Local Conference of the Youth: Small efforts can create long lasting impacts

By Lynn Modester, Chairperson KIUESA | October 6, 2021

Whether it’s because of anti-fossil fuel campaigns such as Decoalonize in Kenya, or climate disasters that have quite literally brought climate change to people’s doorsteps, the last few years have witnessed a dramatic shift in global awareness of the crisis.

In spite of this elevated attention, it’s clear that there is still not enough evidence to show that the world is on track to be net zero and resilient by 2050.

Fossil fuels remain the primary source of energy and climate-related disasters continue to bring many communities to the brink of acceptable existence.

Kenya has been on the receiving end of repeated climate-related disasters. These include the recent locust invasion that hit the agricultural sector; floods in the western part of Kenya displacing communities; and the droughts that have hit the northern parts of Kenya — that are already experiencing water and heat stress.

But of course, each county has its own climate story to tell, as well as offer possible solutions specific to their region. Key to these solutions are young people.

Young Kenyans, for instance, have already been taking it upon themselves to help fix the mistakes of the past; consciously rebuilding the present and creating a sustainable future.

Youth and civil society voices in Kenya are vibrant and offer a multitude of solutions that should feature in the international climate arena. However, with the various restrictions (travel, covid vaccine accessibility concerns and resourcing, for example), not all of the voices will be able to be fully represented – particularly for when world leaders meet at this year’s COP26.

This is where the Global Conference of Youths (GCOY) and Local Conference of Youth (LCOY) come in. Both these conferences provide a much needed platform for climate voices across the world to be represented at the UN climate negotiations.

This year, from October 12-16, The Kenyan LCOY in line with the theme Unifying for Change: Transforming Climate Policies into Impactful Local Action, sets to address a number of themes, including sustainable energy, nature-based solutions, adaptation & resilience, and climate finance.

The five day conference will cover everything from dialogues with state actors on ideas for a sustainable Kenya, to artistic expressions for climate justice.

The primary goal of the LCOY in Kenya is to establish a young consultation mechanism within the climate change directorate so that young people in Kenya feature in any NDC, NAP or LTS submitted to the UNFCCC Secretariat in future iterations.

The future of climate change is based on local solutions to local problems. In accordance with a Kenyan Swahili adage ‘Haba na haba hujaza kibaba’, small efforts build up to create long lasting impact. This is the chance to learn, educate and take action towards a sustainable Kenya, and a sustainable world.

To be a part of the discussion, register here

Twitter @Modester_Lynn

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