Government has created opportunities for the participation of young people in climate change processes, as it intensifies efforts to reconstruct the country’s green economy in a sustainable manner by 2030.
Globally, there is increasing recognition that young people not only have the right to decide how resources are allocated, but that they also have valuable knowledge and viewpoints to bring to governance processes.
In some African countries, those under 35 comprise up to 70 percent of the population, making them a constituency difficult to ignore.
Young people are positive agents of change and world-wide, youths developed innovations and climate change solutions through mitigation and adaptation projects, contributing to Government initiatives and research efforts, and practicing sustainable living as models for society and communities.
Yet, despite this, youths are often not included in decision-making or lack the information and resources to engage meaningfully.
The updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) report in Zimbabwe supports ambitious climate and sustainable development agendas and, as such, recognises the critical role youth play in successful climate action.
NDCs are efforts implemented by each country to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change and are at the heart of the Paris Agreement.
Speaking at the Youth dialogue on the NDC Target enhancement process in Bulawayo recently, Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu, said for the country to meet its emission target by 2030 the role of youths should not undermined.
The NDC regional youths workshop was part of the global initiatives for enhancing action on climate change adaptation and mitigation.
“Achieving Zimbabwe’s NDC targets requires measures that ensure that all different population groups can adapt to climate change, strengthen their resilience, and help reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.
“Zimbabwe’s Low Emission Development Strategy (LEDS) which will run from 2020 to 2050 sets the course for the country to go green, while at the same time ensuring sustainable economic development.
“It is based on the Government’s economic planning up to 2050 and covers mitigation measures in the main sectors namely Energy; Industrial Processes and Product Use; Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use; and, Waste.
“The immediate process of revising the NDC provides an opportunity to enhance collaboration amongst Government agencies and increase mutual understanding between the Government and its stakeholders including the youths for top-priority actions, as well as the roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders.
This will include awareness of additional finance requirements to implement achievable, cost-effective but socially inclusive emissions reductions across various sectors of the economy,” he said.
Minister Ndlovu said that climate change is now inevitable and urgent actions from all age groups must be taken so as to adapt and become more resilient.
He said the Covid-19 pandemic offers the nation a unique opportunity to rebuild economy in a green and sustainable way.
“We are gathered here to discuss the NDC revision process with youth representatives and come up with a Youth Position Paper with recommendations for consideration in the enhancement process.
“We are also going to discuss climate change and disability issues, crafting possible ways to integrate such issues in the enhancement process. We need to take the whole-of-Government and whole-of-society approach in the process.
“Partnership members are encouraged to incorporate relevant actions in their country or organisational context and collaborate across the Partnership to strengthen youth engagement in NDC action. The NDC Partnership Youth Engagement Plan proposes a series of actions to engage meaningfully with youth.”
Minister Ndlovu said that youths’ have a critical role to play across all phases of NDCs, from development and enhancement to implementation.
He challenged climate stakeholders to explore ways which will improve access to funding for NDC implementation projects of youth and youth-led organisations.
“In consultation and planning process around the NDCs at the country level, members are encouraged to establish dedicated capacity and technical expertise to support mainstreaming of youth inputs and priorities and consider a series of actions pertaining to youth engagement.
“Capacity development is essential for empowering youth to take action on climate change.
“Members are encouraged to consider capacity building for young people as a critical component of their climate work. This includes access to tools, guidance and educational resources, as well as regular analysis and knowledge sharing,” said Minister Ndlovu.
He added that the Ministry is working on the establishment of a National Climate Change Funding Mechanism, that will help climate change mainstreaming in planning and budgetary processes at national and sub-national levels by the end of 2022.