Lilongwe: The Youth under the banner of National Youth Network on Climate Change (NYNCC) have bemoaned their inadequate participation in the formulation of strategies that address issues of climate change.
The youths who have gathered at Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe at the first ever Youth Conference on Climate Change say their full participation in such issues would help government achieve the fight against climate change.
A representative of the youth delegates, Lisa Banda, told members of the media in Lilongwe on Monday on the sidelines of the conference that youths constitute a majority of the country’s population and as such should be incorporated in all activities including climate change mitigation and management.
She said time has come that youths should be at the focal point of all discussions in as far as climate change issues are concerned.
She, therefore, called upon government and other stakeholders to invest in young people in awareness and capacity building among others if the country is to win the fight against climate change.
The demographic makeup of the country clearly shows that youths are in majority hence the need to involve them in formulation of strategies and activities that mitigate the impact of climate change, she said.
Banda who is a third year Environmental Science student at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) Bunda College said issues of climate change concerns the youths more than anyone else as they are the future of the country hence their involvement in programs and interventions on climate change is important.
Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Aggrey Massi said the role of the youth in the fight against climate change is important saying youths comprise 70 percent of the country’s population hence their efforts are vital in addressing such issues.
The role of the youths in shaping the future is very important. 70 percent of our population are youths and this justifies the gathering today, he said.
He called upon the youth to make an impact in their communities in climate change, climate crisis, climate justice and climate financing issues.
Massi, assured the youth of government’s commitment to creating a conducive environment for their participation in climate change through different adaptation policies that talk about the same.
He observed that times are changing and there are emerging issues which need attention and meetings such as this youth conference hence the youth should be prioritized to offer solutions.
Government and relevant stakeholders need to involve the youths in all areas. Policies should be aligned with issues that affect the youths, he said.
(NYNCC) Board chairperson, Christopher Bauti concurred with Massi saying there is need to invest in the youth in order to reach the majority with information and awareness messages on issues of climate change.
Climate change hasn’t penetrated to every corner of the country hence the need to have conferences such as this one in order for all to have and access information on climate change, said Bauti.
Conference Steering Committee Chairperson, Matthew Pickard who is also Care Malawi Country Director said the role of the youth is important as they are energized and ready to change situations.
The conference which is being held under the theme ‘Integrating Youths in Climate Change Negotiations, Sustainable Adaptation and Mitigation Activities’ is expected to invigorate youth ideas on how local and international legal framework can meet their participation in mitigating effects of climate change.
The conference is discussing climate change situation in Malawi, how the international climate change frameworks influence the national response, gender and climate justice and climate and energy among others.
It is expected that by the end of the conference the youth will produce a communique which will be presented to the Ministry of Natural resources, Energy and Mining.
Source: Malawi News Agency MANA