The Ghana Youth Alliance for Agenda 2030 (GYA-2030), a Non Governmental Organisation, has called for an increased education and awareness creation on climate change among the youth to enable them support efforts at mitigating the impact of climate change.
They said the capacities of the youth should also be built so they can collaborate with both the public and the private sector actors in taking actions that would help address climate change challenge while supporting the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The youth made the call in a communique issued and copied to the Ghana News Agency ahead of Ghana’s participation in the 23rd session of the Conference of Parties (COP23) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) scheduled for Bonn, Germany, from the 6th -17th November.
The GYA-2030 said they wanted the youth to be integrated in the implementation of Ghana’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) to the fight against climate change and SDGs as a matter of urgency.
The Communiqué was issued at the end of the 2nd Ghana Youth Conference on Climate Change and Sustainable Development (GYCCC-SD17) organised by the Greener Impact International (GII) with support from the UNDP Ghana, the National Youth Authority (NYA) and the Ministry of Environment, Science Technology and Innovation (MESTI).
The event was held under the theme: “Integrating Youth in the implementation of Ghana’s Nationally Determined Contributions and Sustainable Development Agenda”.
In the communiqué, the youth expressed concern that funding for climate change interventions are inadequate and that they were aware that the youth population in the country would bear the brunt of a damaged environment in the immediate future.
They, therefore, said it is critical the youth are engaged in development deliberations to make decisions more relevant and legitimate.
The youth said efforts to establish Climate Change Departments and Units in all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) as indicated in Ghana’s NDCs should actualise soonest, with a Desk for Youth (D4Y) to particularly enhance young people’s engagement with policy makers at the local level.
The communiqué called for the need to foster progressive partnerships among youth associations, government and the private sector, all aimed at building adequate capacities of more young people into social enterprises, skills development and increase support for their initiatives.
It called on the National Youth Authority to facilitate the creation of an online portal that would collate data and connect all youth organisations, actors and young people working on climate change and sustainable development issues together.
It said an annual Climate Change/Environmental Award Scheme be instituted, targeting youth with innovative initiatives that had the potential of addressing climate change impact, as well as promoting youth development and the unemployment conundrum that plagues the country.
The youth also appealed that a Special Fund be created to support youth climate innovations.
“The youth said they wanted a Ghana where poverty and unemployment were matters of the past; where the pursuit of environmental sustainability was balanced with socio-economic growth that was well shared across diverse geography and demographics; as well as a
Ghana that becomes and continues to be a net negative greenhouse gas emitter.
They said they wanted a country where young people were empowered to take action for climate and SDGs and could critique government policies for results, transparency and accountability.