- Posted November 13, 2011 by
ON THE ROAD TO DURBAN:CLIMATE JUSTICE YOUTH CARAVAN
CONFERENCE WITH A DIFFERENCE:COP 17
This year’s United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) coming up between the 28 of November and the 9th of December has been described as a conference with a difference, as a campaign towards the conference tagged “We Have Faith: Act Now” Climate Justice Caravan, was launched in Nairobi Kenya on the 6th of November at the August 7th Memorial Park. The Conference which is the Conference of Parties COP17 is an opportunity for Africa being the host to also have a voice and a formidable one. This was the position of the Regional Director of the Africa Adaptation Programme(AAP) on Climate Change, under the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP), Jacqueline Frank. She said the AAP selected five young African journalists from Nigeria, Senegal, Cameroun, Ethiopia and Kenya to give a media coverage of the Climate Justice Caravan from the view of an African media.
The Climate Justice Youth Caravan is a movement of change that calling on leaders across the world to listen to the voice of the youths to act now in making decisions on the environment, which would preserve the earth and give, hope to generation yet unborn”. This was the summary of the vision behind the We Have Faith: Act Now Climate Justice Caravan, according to the programme coordinator of the Africa Youth Initiative on Climate change in Kenya, Mr David Kuria. Mr David said the caravan is made up of about 200 youths from across Africa, Europe and some parts of Asia with three basic demands that is in the form of a petition that would be signed by Africans in the routes where the caravan would be travelling through. The demands which are: (1) commit to a fair and legally binding agreement and to a second commitment period for the Kyoto protocol,(2)set clear short and long term targets for carbon emission reductions that keep average temperature increases well below 1.5 degrees centigrade, and to support solutions that contribute to healing the earth,(3)ensure there is adequate finance for adaptation in Africa with such finance coming from historically polluting nations in recognition of their ecological debt and be additional to existing development aid.
These petitions would be signed by Africans in Kenya,Tanzania, Malawi,Botswana,Zambia and then South Africa. In each countries visited,Mr David explained that concerts would be organized with artistes performing from the host countries alongside Kenyan’s Climate Change Ambassador Juliani, Norway music group(Tensing) and others. The concert is an opportunity for Africans to understand the issues of climate change and how its affect them because Africans are devastatingly affected by the impact of climate change which include extreme increase temperature, excessive rainfall,drought,coastal and shore-line erosion due to sea-level rise among others.
The convener of the caravan Mr. George Auko said the concept of the caravan was initiated after the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen Denmark in 2009. Mr. Auko said though the Kenya Youth Climate Change Network was already in existence in 2007 but after the Copenhagen conference, it became necessary for Kenyans to have a single voice on climate change and this further s strengthen their commitment on the fight against climate change. George Auko said the caravan was tagged climate justice because climate change is viewed as a justice, economic, social and developmental issues and not a political tool as portrayed by the western world, who is mainly the big polluters of the earth.George said the time has come for polluters to pay and not feel they are doing the rest of the world a favour by financing environment projects.
Mr. George said the presence of about eighty Norwegians on the caravan was due to the support of the Norway church alliance, which has a base in Kenya and always willing to partner with the Kenyan youth on developmental projects. The Norwegians comprise of youths between the age of 16-45 years who are students, volunteer and social workers with a majority from the Young Men and Women Christian Association.
Mr. Fredrik Glad-Gjernes, the International Global Director of the YW/MCA based in Oslo Norway said young people in Norway were willing to join the caravan because they believe they can stop poverty which is caused by people and youths as change agent could make their leaders commit to a serious position on climate change and environmentalissues. Mr. Fredrik said climate change further aggravates the level of poverty of people affected by its effect and is optimist that this year Climate Change Conference would result in a binding legal agreement that would help to make the world a better place. His concerns for Africa is that not been a major polluter of the Earth is adversely affected by climate change which has pose a threat to food security, source of livelihood, extinction of indigenous species of both plants and animals, among others.
The Youths in the caravan are travelling in six trucks and sleeping in camp sites along border routes till they arrive South Africa. So far concerts have been held in Nairobi, Dar Es Salaam and Lilongwe.