Minister of Green Economy and Environment, Collins Nzovu, has urged youths to use their energy, connections and innovation to drive the change needed to save the planet from climate change.
He was speaking at a high-level event this week during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), hosted by the Commonwealth Secretariat in partnership with the governments of Fiji and Zambia.
This is according to a statement issued by the Commonwealth Secretariat on Tuesday.
Nzovu told delegates that the future belonged to the children, and that governments should do everything possible to ensure they leave a liveable climate for them.
“We realise we need to pass the baton of leadership to the youth. We are increasing our support to the youth to take leadership which demonstrates our unwavering support for the Commonwealth Year of the Youth,” he said.
The event saw the launch of a new report, which showed that young people, who were among those most at risk to the impacts of climate change, were not accessing the funds they needed to tackle the challenges posed by global warming.
The report by the Commonwealth Secretariat and YOUNGO, the children and youth constituency of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), analysed 100 climate finance initiatives targeted at young people.
While it showed an increase in youth-focused climate finance, funds were mainly disbursed in small amounts, hindering large-scale youth-led climate action. In addition, the audit information provided by funders lacked full transparency, especially about beneficiaries and what projects were funded.
In response, the report called for a fit-for-purpose approach to deploying climate finance for youth-led actions to remove existing barriers and ensure young people receive a fair share of support.
The proposed solutions included targeted reporting, a streamlined process for accessing funds with a focus on clear eligibility criteria, increased private sector support and new innovative financing sources.
Climate finance, a core part of the Paris Agreement, was provided to help developing countries cut greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Speaking at the event, the Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt Patricia Scotland said young people, who made up 60 per cent of Commonwealth citizens, were on the frontline of the climate crisis, living mostly in areas prone to extreme weather events.
“As a result, many are facing job losses, displacement, health issues and educational setbacks. In the face of adversity, the resilience of young people shines through as they harness their drive and talent to lead on powerful climate solutions,” she added.
During the event, participants shared their experiences on accessing climate finance, up-skilling and leveraging technology to empower youth-led efforts in tackling the challenges posed by climate change, while examining ways to maximise existing opportunities.
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