Participants of the Climate action youth round table

ENGAGING YOUTH ON CLIMATE ACTION!

Climate change is a major global issue that requires interventions, adaptation, and mitigation actions to limit its adverse effects to secure the future of our planet.  With the emanating negative impacts of climate change, the County government of Mombasa unveiled the Governors’ Young Leaders’ Program (GYLP) hosted by the office of the governor, His Excellency Hon. Ali Hassan Joho. Youth are young and energetic and key in the adaptation and mitigation of the effects of climate change.

The vision of GYLP is to mentor youthful leaders between 20-35 years to create opportunities for them to articulate their thinking and planning towards solving the current and future challenges. The GYLP mission is to engage youth in peer dialogue on contextual issues through a mentorship and capacity building program designed to improve their leadership potential. The strength and voices of young leaders will bring change and support achievement of SDGs 13 and 11 (Climate Action and Sustainable Cities and communities) among others. GYLP seeks to engage with policymakers, private sector, experts, researchers, students, civil society organizations within the climate action realm.

On the 14th of March 2022, the GYLP hosted a roundtable conversation on climate action covering two themes. Panelists in the first-round table discussion on Environmental and climate threats along the coast were Dr. Innocent Ngao Wanyonyi of Coastal Marine and Resource Development (COMRED), Ms. Ilhan Abass the County Chief Officer for Environment, Dr. John Munji Kimani of Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) and Eng. Howard A. Mmayi of Kenya National Highway Authority (KENHA).

Panelists Ms. Ilhan Abass and Dr. Ngao Wanyonyi

The second-round table discussion focused on Centralizing local interventions by public, private, civil society & other interest groups to benefit youth. Panelists in this session were Dr. Godfrey Nato, County Executive Committee Member for Environment, Ms. Asma Awadh of World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Dr. Tayba Hatimy of Baus Taka Enterprises, and Mr. Benjamin Barwa of Green Biz, Kenya climate innovation center who based their d. Basil Muga Angaga from GYLP and Ms. Eva Kimani from BOOST moderated the discussions respectively. Each panelist made a commitment towards a cause related to youth and climate.

We unanimously concluded that change in land and sea use practices, over exploitation of natural resources, climate change and poor waste management techniques are the main environmental threats. Safer approaches such as the use of renewable energy, development plans, adaptation of alternative farming methods to increase food security, reforestation and afforestation of mangroves to increase carbon sink and proper waste management (Reduce, reuse, recycle) are some of the recommended practices to combat the impacts of climate change.

The round table complements prior activities by Miji Bora project aimed at improving stakeholder participation in addressing the drivers of change within the coastal city. Miji bora has supported the development of the City Mombasa in County Climate Change Policy, County Climate Change Adaptation Plan, City Stakeholder dialogue on Climate and GHG emission in transport sector, Climathon Hakathon and City Scenarios development.

Mombasa County climate change policy

The GYLP climate change round table therefore forms an integral part of stakeholder engagement through dialogue and mentorship of youth to take their rightful place in smart sustainable city discourses. COMRED through the Miji Bora project was glad to take part in the GYLP Climate Action event. Miji Bora is keen on integrating relevant programs of the GYLP into the Mombasa Smart City Forum.

Sensitization and creation of opportunities for youths on issues aligned to the impact of climate change, involving them in round table conversations on climate action and funding innovative projects will help to protect the future of our planet. However, the big question we need to ask ourselves is,

Are we speaking the youths’ language on climate action?

By Eunice Ogada and Clifford Ochiel at COMRED