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Youth Day: Stakeholders explore just transition for green jobs amid climate challenges

The Intergenerational Equity and Innovation (Youth) thematic group of the Nigeria Civil Society Framework on Paris Agreement and the SGDs (NCSFPAS) anchored by Connected Advocacy for Empowerment and Youth Development Initiative on Thursday August 19, 2021 engaged stakeholders in a workshop to discuss “The Role of Intergenerational Equity and Innovation in Achieving the Paris Agreement for Sustainable Livelihood and Decent Green Jobs for Youth to Tackle Climate Change and Insecurity”.

Young climate change actors
Young climate change actors who spoke at the event

In his opening remark, the Executive Director of Connected Advocacy, Prince Israel Orekha, underlined the need to rally all sectors of the economy to address climate change, which he described as one of the greatest dangers facing mankind in the 21st century.

Saying that Its effect on youth job loss is massive, Orekha said: “Putting into consideration the country’s position in the global economy of scale, there is an urgent need for a national synergy of strategic stakeholders, to drive innovative sustainable development actions in tackling climate change unemployment situations and food shortage while advocating for decent jobs that brings peace, leaving no one behind in Nigeria.

“If done, this will go a long way to reduce the 32.5% unemployment rate currently being witnessed in the country and contribute tremendously to putting an end to insecurity.”

Among the speakers were notable young climate change actors from across Nigeria who gave their insights on various topics and the need to push for green jobs.

Present were Olumide Idowu, co-founder International Climate Change Development Initiative; Gloria Kasang Bulus, Executive Director of Bridge That Gap Initiative; Tito Uzomah, Executive Director Prime Initiative for Green Development (PIGD); Lucky Abeng, representing CSDevNet Nigeria; and Tokoni Ngeribika, an environmental consultant and founder of Inocket Global Ltd.

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Idowu spoke on the topic “Climate Justice: A Recommendation for COP26, the Nigeria Youth Position”, stressing the fact that Nigerians are a part of the ecosystem and “we can achieve environmental justice if only everyone plays their parts and the younger generation have to come together to re-strategise, implement, and lead locally driven activities to see that there is justice in all aspects of the seven sectors of the NDCs”.

Bulus addressed the topic “The Paris Agreement; A Pathway for Sustainable Livelihoods for Youths in Nigeria”, wherein she spoke about how proper implementation of the Paris Agreement by its Parties will go a long way to create an enabling environment for sustainable livelihoods for all.

She said: “The Paris Agreement not only respects the pursuing efforts to raise the ambition to limit the temperature increase to below 1.5C to reduce the adaptive burden in countries, it also admits to the right of future generations for a better and safer livelihood; prioritising the safeguarding of food security and ending poverty, hunger and unemployment.”

Speaking on the topic “Available Decent Work for Youth: The Strategy for Harnessing Innovative Green Jobs Opportunities”, Uzomah charged young persons not to wait for government actions but to come up with climate-smart innovations which will create the sustainable jobs needed.

“There are no jobs out there for our graduates who are coming out of the tertiary institutions in their thousands every year. We need to explore collaboration and sponsorship from developmental partners to provide jobs and most importantly green jobs which contribute to preserving and restoring the environment,” he said.

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Ngeribika brought to the limelight Mainstreaming the Gender Perspective in the fight for a better environment for all. She expressed delight that the updated Nigeria’s NDCs mainstreams gender across all sectors as one of its ambitions for achieving the Paris Agreement.

She, however, lamented that “gender equality issues need to go beyond inclusion in words in policy documents. It also has to be mainstreamed into planning and implementation of these policies”.

She cited an imbalance currently experienced in resource provision for farmers faced with climate change problems, saying: “Women are responsible for carrying out 70% of the agricultural labour yet they presently only have access to less than 20% of available agricultural resources. A gender analysis conducted during the preparation of the 2021 NDC update showed a general lack of access to and control of resources by women compared to their counterparts in all seven priority sectors. This is clearly, an imbalance.”

Abeng wrapped up the conversation of the day by speaking on “Understanding the Nigeria NDCs: What Youths Needs to Know for Effective Policy Advocacy and Civic Engagement”.

Pointing out three main challenges and two areas of focus of the Federal Government, he identified access to the $100 billion global climate fund of which Africa has not been able to access up to 11%. Securing national ownership amongst Nigerians especially the youths and improvement of data collation and assessments are some of the other challenges being faced which need to be urgently addressed.

He said: “Understanding Nigeria’s NDCs, it is important to note that the government is focusing on mitigation approaches in tackling climate change and priorities are being given to waste and water.”

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Gathering comments and opinions from participants, it was noted that:

  • Climate innovations should greatly be concerned with finding alternatives methods for practices in our communities that harm the environment.
  • Young people are key to achieving any sustainable impact when we talk about climate change. If young people fully understand the problem, they will drive the solution faster and more effectively with their innovations and by community organising.
  • Young people should be shown a new direction that they can peserve and conserve their environment and at the same time earn a living.
  • Young people need to start plunging into the clean energy space; taking up innovations in getting the country to adopt clean and affordable energy for all.
  • It is also important for the media to increase their coverage of climate actors especially at the grassroots who are currently achieving a lot in their local communities as this will go a long way to encourage other young persons to come into the environmental space as actors or investors.
  • There was a unanimous clamour for this year’s COP26 to be held physically. They cited connectivity issues which many persons currently face in Africa, which will put African youths at a disadvantage in participating fully, while pushing for a better implementation of the Paris Agreement in Africa at the conference.

The workshop was put together by Connected Advocacy in collaboration with the Climate and Sustainable Development Network of Nigeria (CSDevNet) and the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) in commemoration of the International Youth Day.

By Oluwatoyin Akinwande

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