I attended my first United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (COP) in Marrakech in 2016. I was among 22 youth fellows selected by the Global Peace Initiative of Women to support and strengthen conversations on indigenous knowledge and the role of young leaders in driving momentum towards climate action. Since COP22, I have been involved in the activities of UNFCCC activities mostly on Climate Adaptation through Green Africa Youth Organization, the UNFCCC’s Youth Constituency (YOUNGO) as well as representing private sector organizations at climate-related global gatherings. My journey with such international engagements have built my capacity to understand the decision-making process and frameworks that governs the action we all wish to see.
During the recent UNFCCC 25th Conference of Parties (COP25), there hasn’t been any COP with such intense momentum by young people. This momentum had been cultured gradually from the global youth climate movement and the efforts of the Office of the Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth (OSGEY) to provide valuable platform for young people at high-level decision making platforms. My engagement at the Abu Dhabi Climate Meeting as part of 30 young people invited by OSGEY to support the stock-taking on 9 climate action tracks ahead of UN Sec. General’s Climate Action Summit, was another great step that led to the momentum at COP25. Following the Abu-Dhabi Climate Meeting, I was part of an Advisory Group that supported the design and delivery of the first-ever Youth Climate Summit (YCS). During these period, the largest youth climate protests happened across the globe and that momentum followed through the Climate Action Summit and to COP25.
I summarize my engagement at the YCS and Abu Dhabi Climate Meeting as a moment of crossroads – on one side, there is huge advocacy drive by young people and on the other hand, the advocacy is very generic, narrowed in the form of mobilization, and lacking specificity of demands. This experience influenced the paper Adapt for Our Future – which was launched at the YCS. Technical capacity, context-specific advocacy, and decision-making mandate remains a challenge and this was my main submissions and interventions at COP25.
Watch highlighted sessions from COP25 Intergenerational Inquiry and A climate just future for all children.
On thematic agenda, I am continuously engaged as an Observer to the Adaptation Committee meetings of the UNFCCC Adaptation Programme. My participation centers on bringing community-based and youth perspectives to the meetings. The theme for the 2020 Technical Expert Meeting on Adaptation (TEM-A) was Education and training, public participation and youth to enhance adaptation action and I supported the design and delivery of the virtual events – specifically the sub-topic: Youth engagement to enhance adaptation action.
These experiences have helped to shape my contribution to climate policy and planning at different governance levels. Through this, I have enhanced my understanding on the role of youth and other stakeholders in addressing the climate crisis and currently supporting institutions to better integrate the aspirations of young people in their planning.