Youths drilled on varied topics at Nairobi Climate Justice training school.

By Elias Ngalame

The ongoing training of youths across the globe at the Nairobi Climate Justice training school is gaining momentum with drilling on a plethora of climate related topics.

Experts say the world has more young people today than ever and it has been generally acknowledged that there is need for inclusive support mechanisms that ensure the youth continue to amplify efforts to restore the planet.

According to the CEO of the Pan Africa Climate Justice Alliance, PACJA, that organized the training, the youths should drive Climate change adaptation actions that can help rural communities in Africa cope with the challenges of the climate crisis and impacts including to reduce agriculture’s contribution towards greenhouse gas emissions.

“We are training these youths to take the relay in climate justice advocacy,” Dr Mithika Mwenda, PACJA CEO said at the opening of the programme.

PACJA also emphasized on the need for an inclusive youth initiative to drive climate actions.

“ This is the time for the youths to come up with innovative ideas to foster the climate change drive,” Dr Augustine Njamnshi, head of the technical and political committee, PACJA said.

In a paper presented during the training, he highlighted the persistent failure of the global north to honor its commitments to global south, emphasizing the importance for climate justice to take center stage,  calling on participants to wield their influence in shaping policies.

 Since the opening of the training participants have been schooled on varied topics amongst which are adaptation, climate finance, green economy, climate smart agriculture etc.

The focus on climate finance experts noted has been a long-standing contentious issue. African communities demand that those who have historically contributed the most to the climate crisis should bear the cost of the damages. Unfortunately, these cries have often fallen on deaf ears, and the climate finance needed to address the crisis remains elusive.

Facilitators are provided  in-depth exploration of what it means to adopt effective models for climate finance. Key areas of discussion included the necessity of transparency in the disbursement and use of funds, the preparedness of communities most affected by climate change, and the importance of capacity building.

“ It’s clear that the continent requires substantial resources to achieve climate justice, and much work remains to be done, Peter Odogo one of the facilitators on climate finance said.

In his presentation on financing Locally Led-Climate Actions, he explored innovative finance models that are crucial for supporting community-driven climate solutions.

“These programs are not just about funding; they’re about equipping local leaders with the tools and resources needed to make a lasting impact. Investing in such initiatives ensures sustainable development and resilience in the face of climate change, Odego said.

Beyond climate finance, another session delved into the potential of green jobs and the circular economy as pathways to shift Africa towards a green economy.  

“ We discussed innovative ways for companies to transform waste into wealth, emphasizing the significance of individual waste management practices, recycling, re-use, and proper disposal of organic and inorganic waste. These conversations were insightful and painted a vivid picture of how a functional green economy, based on green jobs and circular practices, could significantly bolster African economies, “ one of the trainees said.

According to participants, the discussions at the Climate Justice School training by the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance have been inspiring, focusing on global climate justice through fair, equitable responses for the most vulnerable, and introducing key concepts.

 “These sessions are setting the pace, igniting the climate justice fighter in us, and equipping us to champion global justice while connecting with passionate professionals,” another participant said.

Climate justice movements across Africa face numerous challenges. The concept of climate justice itself struggles with broad acceptance, and there are diverse definitions that create inconsistencies in understanding and approach.

Experts noted that resources are often insufficient to sustain initiatives and actions, while competition among different groups can dilute efforts. Additionally, shrinking civic spaces, often due to government oppression, make it difficult for these movements to gain momentum and create lasting change.

“We must recognize and address these obstacles to ensure a more just and sustainable future for all, notes Charles Peter Mwangi, head of Programs, PACJA.

In the session of green economy participants dove deep into topics like renewable energy, sustainable practices, and the economic benefits of going green.

“Building on our discussions, we explored clean technologies and eco-friendly innovations that are shaping industries worldwide. It’s inspiring to see such dedication to creating positive environmental impacts. We want these youths to continue driving innovation and sustainability forward,” he said.

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