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Role of youth underlined as Fourth Cohort of Nairobi Summer School on Climate Justice opens

High-level dignitaries, government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, and hundreds of youths from 87 countries across Africa, Asia, Europe, and America on Monday, June 24, 2024, converged on Kenya for the International Symposium on Climate Justice.

Nairobi Summer School
Delegates at the official opening of the fourth Nairobi Summer School on Climate Justice (NSSCJ) in Kenya

The event marked the official opening of the fourth Nairobi Summer School on Climate Justice (NSSCJ), with the theme “Igniting Youth Power for Enhanced Global Solidarity on Climate Justice.”

Dr. Mithika Mwenda, the Executive Director of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), stated that it is the perfect time for the youth to step forward and advocate for climate justice.

He further noted that the interest shown by the applicants indicates the willingness of the youth is a step in the right direction as they play a critical role in addressing climate change issues in Africa and beyond.

Since its inception in 2020, NSSCJ has graduated over 1,500 alumni who continue to drive climate advocacy across Africa and beyond, with various alumni getting placements in climate spaces such as the African Group of Negotiators, The Commonwealth, United Nations, among many more.

“We are definitely proud of these young and brilliant minds,” stated Mwenda, adding that Cohort IV aims to further enhance the capacity of young climate advocates, activists, policymakers, and community leaders to champion climate justice.

Dr Beatrice Muganda Inyangala, Principal Secretary, State Department for Higher Education and Research, Ministry of Education, Kenya, applauded the opportunity offered for youth to learn about climate change and related dialogues and emphasised the role of the education sector in combating climate change and fostering climate justice.

“We recognise the pivotal role that education plays in equipping our young people with the knowledge, skills, and values needed to drive sustainable development and resilience,” said Dr. Inyangala.

She added that the Nairobi Summer School of Climate Justice is more than just a conference. “It is a beacon of hope and a catalyst for change. This forum provides a wide spectrum of opportunities to learn, collaborate, and innovate. I commend each one of you for taking the bold decision to seize this opportunity,” she said.

Ayele Kabede the Programme Manager for SIDA, Regional Office, Africa, praised the youth attending the training and highlighted that the future belongs to the young generation hence building their capacity and fostering knowledge in climate justice and climate change remain essential and the focus of the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).

“This is a big achievement to have all these students here. Like last here, the discussions revolve around COP29 to take place in Baku, Azerbaijan, this year. The Conference will focus on the advanced goals of the UNFCC and Paris Agreement. We know that the future belongs to the young people and the decisions of the future should be taken by you and for you,” noted Kabede.

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