Themed “Glasgow Climate Pact: A Roadmap to Climate Action”, the Revamp Rave Network Initiative’s (RRN) Open Conference Event that held on Friday, April 29, 2022, aimed to launch the Second Virtual Cohort Programme on Climate Change.
It also served as a follow-up of the Glasgow Climate Pact to set a foundational knowledge around the current state of youth involvement in actualising the Paris Agreement for the new participants in the cohort.
In attendance were leading experts such as Prof Olanrewaju Fagbohun, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and Professor of Environmental Law; Elizabeth Gulugulu, the Global South Focal Point of the Youth Constituency to the UNFCCC; Inga Stefanowicz, Head of the European Union in Nigeria and the ECOWAS’s Digital and Green Economy department; and Sean Melbourne, Head of Climate Change and Energy, West Africa, UK Government who were also panels for the event.
Other special guests present were Christine Gould, the CEO of Thought For Food (TFF) and an Agric-Tech innovator; Michael Simire, CEO of EnviroNews; Dr Todd Ngara, the Lead Consultant for the Nigerian Climate Change Response Programme (NCCRP); Evgeniia Konstanian, the Global Lead for the United Nations Decade of Science’s Early Career Ocean Professionals (UN Ocean Decade-ECOP); Taiwo Ajewole of WasteXchange; and Hira Wajahat, the CEO and Founder of CleanTech Republik.
Other partnering organisations present were Executive Helping Initiative, SDG Action Network, Mushin To the World, and Nigeria Climate Change Response team, to mention a few.
The programme started with the founder of the Network and the coordinator of the Climate College Hub, Abimbola Abikoye, giving the opening remark. She explained why the Climate College Hub was established, saying that it was meant to incorporate more young people into climate action processes while giving them access to build more capacity to birth climate-smart innovations to solve climate change.
She ran through how the first edition of the Virtual Cohort, which spanned three months, trained 20 young African advocates, mobilised 30 tutors worldwide and, through the cohort, launched “Ecolog: A Quick Guide to the Basics of Climate Change”.
She underlined the need to educate more young people to make meaningful climate action to enable their local communities, stating that it is vital for sustainable development.
“Hence, the Climate College Hub project, a hybrid sustainability innovation platform, was created to solve the three significant challenges identified by the team: young people’s interest to engage meaningfully but not knowing the know-how, get a one-stop platform to build their knowledge about how climate change affects them and what actions to take, and to develop their understanding of climate science and advocacy.
She stressed that the Second Cohort Programme, which had over 700 applicants, would see the training of 200 applicants who would have the opportunity to do a post-programme internship with Thoughts For Food, UN Ocean Decade of Science’s Early Career Ocean Professional Programme, EnviroNews Nigeria and WasteXchange to help them get more practical capacity on what they would learn on the cohort. She thanked everyone for taking the time to grace the occasion.
Shortly after the founder’s welcome address, the chief guest speaker, Dr Priscilla Achakpa, the global president of the Women Empowerment Programme (WEP), gave the keynote speech.
She said, “If the young people are not placed strategically to address the challenges especially environmental and climate change, then that nation is doomed. Young people are the strength of this nation; it is also, therefore very, imperative that youth can be pivotal to building social collation, economic prosperity, and environmental sustainability.
“The essence of continuous learning about climate and harnessing the opportunities that come with the challenges of this new climate era set by young people is integral to addressing climate change and building a more resilient world,”, she added, while emphasising the need to acknowledge the strength and importance of youth involvement and innovation for more sustainability.
After the keynote speech, Godiya Zambwa, the organisation’s communication lead, gave an overview of the cohort programme in retrospect and ran through the plans for the cohort. The moderator for the event, Mohammed Mahmood Maishanu, the co-founder of BlackWalnut, a clean tech company based in Nigeria, called on the partnering organisations to give a five-minute speech each to commemorate the event.
Gould spoke about the need to solve food insecurity and strengthen food systems through technology and innovation. She talked about the work TFF is doing to address food security issues through programmes and innovation challenge competitions to encourage innovative youth solutions worldwide. She ended by expressing her excitement about the partnership with RRN and urged the participants to leverage the opportunity to increase their capacity.
Simire of EnviroNews and one of the partnering organisations on the cohort, spoke extensively about the roles of young people and how EnviroNews will help achieve the programme’s vision through the internship.
He further stated that climate communication is crucial for young people to project their knowledge and impact on the sustainable development issues climate change impacts. He mentioned that awareness-raising and information dissemination is vital as young people know more than anyone about the climate challenges they face. He said that this is an opportunity for the participants to get hands-on training on climate communication processes.
Kostianaia, the Global Lead for the UN Ocean Decade-ECOP programme, said that the mindset of learning about solving climate change to conserve ocean resources and young people’s networking with their peers from different countries could strengthen more youth voices and active participation in climate action. Hence, the ECOP programme will help build more informed advocates to see the need to conserve ocean biodiversity. She gave an overview of what ECOP has been doing to solve climate change challenges.
Afterwards, the panel session began with Prof Fagbohun spoke on International Climate Regime and Youth Involvement, saying that the international climate regimes are characterised by variances of rules, institutions, programmes, decision making, and procedures, excepted to shape expectations and guide activities that can deliver on achieving the goal of climate reductions.
Mentioning the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, the goals of both conventions are to reduce greenhouse gases and get parties to meet to present ambitious national goals.
“Yet, we continually plead for recognition of increasing climate injustices and a need for a sense of urgency in reducing climate impact,” he said, pointing out that there are laws, but it is more crucial to meet the challenges of climate injustices and that more youth participation is needed to solve the current climate change crisis.
Speaking on “Youth Participation: Climate Change and Energy Transition”, Mr Melbourne’s talking points were about how the impact of climate change is intensely felt across all ecosystems and how the solutions to climate change and biodiversity loss can be achieved through scaling impact.
He spoke about the COP26 Conference held in Glasgow in 2021, and some outcomes pushed forward by young people and all nations present. He said that “individually, we can make a difference by collaborating with young people as they have the power to reimagine the world.”
Speaking on “Raising Climate Ambition and Implementing the NDCs”, Stefanowicz of the EU highlighted the objectives of the European Union and the goals to attain a Green and Digital Economy through its Team Europe Initiative and its quest for more inclusion through the launch of the EU Youth Sounding Board Advisory Group to achieve not only the Paris Agreement, but its help Nigeria scale up through partnership its climate objectives.
She highlighted how individuals, particularly young people, are raising the standard to contribute to achieving the climate objectives by embracing a sustainable lifestyle and promoting it with technology, innovation and creativity.
Speaking on “Young People as Agent of Change in Achieving the Paris Agreement”, Gulugulu, the Youth Focal Person to the UNFCC, said the role of young people in achieving the Paris Agreement and mitigating the impact of climate change is critical for sustainability.
“Every person could use their various skills to scale up their climate impact, which can be done through writing, activism activities and policymaking,” she noted, underlining the need for youths being resilient and focused on fighting climate change and fostering innovative solutions. She also touched on the importance of individual and community climate literacy efforts and education, which are essential in fighting climate change.
After the panel session, one of the past tutors, Akintunde Akinmolayan, and alumni Godiya Zambwa from the maiden edition gave their testimonials to encourage the active participation of the new participants.
The event ended with the closing remarks given by Mrs Wynfred Achu-Egbuson, the European Union Youth Focal and CSO Officer.
This training is an exposure for youths to understand climate change and their actions even those who are championing the call for climate actions will learn the latest trend in climate change discuss.
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