Launch of major new African young initiative to tackle climate change

African Youth Climate Hub aims to mobilize youth’s voices from the Global South

A major new climate change initiative focused on promoting ideas and solutions from young Africans has been launched during the 2019 Climate Action Summit of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, by Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Hasnaa, President of the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection. As a committed global leader, Her Royal Highness has, for several decades, consistently and concretely put Youth and the Public at the center of the activities of the Foundation, with a core focus on Education for Sustainable Development.

The initiative is a partnership between Morocco’s Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection, YOUNGO (Children and Youth Constituency to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), Mohammed VI Polytechnic University, OCP Group and young people who have been central in co-constructing this initiative.

The Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection brings to the initiative its 18 -year track record in terms of Education for Sustainable Development in Morocco as well as an increased focus on Africa, the digital and international cooperation. YOUNGO brings to the initiative a membership of 200+ youth-led, youth-focused NGOs and its technical expertise. Mohammed VI Polytechnic University brings to the initiative its learning by doing approach, its African network of experts, as well as its state-of-the-art resources. OCP Group is providing support and bringing its private sector perspective to the initiative.

The African Youth Climate Hub will offer the opportunity for young Africans to establish and maintain a generation-wide movement to address climate change. The Hub will educate, inspire, empower and mobilize young people to create sustainable change in their schools, communities and professional ecosystems, at all relevant scales.

The aim is to provide a forum in which young Africans can discuss their ideas for tackling climate change. The ideas which are judged as best hitting the Hub’s key targets will be advanced in an incubator before being developed further for launch. The Hub hopes to bring together Africa’s most committed and innovative young climate change thinkers, provide a learning centre and help people find green jobs in Africa.

“Africa is both affected by climate change and a rich source of solutions but never before has there been such an inclusive and impact focused space for young Africans to come together and share their ideas for solutions produced in, and relevant to, their continent,” said Ms. Meryem Hdia, a 21-year-old from Morocco and a youth ambassador for the Hub. “This new Climate Hub is about African youth creating their own solutions for climate change. It is about developing ideas that will have a real impact on the lives of people worldwide.”

The Climate Hub will enable young Africans to more clearly identify and connect with the different groups and organizations that need to listen to their thoughts and build on their insights and best practices to amplify action. The Hub aims to generate forums involving key stakeholders and the young people; to reduce capacity gaps; and promote an active cross-generational approach.

But the Hub is not just about ideas: concrete outcomes are the aim with support mechanisms in place to bring ideas to reality. These include a network to facilitate connections across borders and generations, an incubator and a knowledge centre. These and other elements will help develop an African climate change ecosystem including e-learning, best practices and green jobs.

The African Youth Climate Hub will be based at the Hassan II International Centre for Environmental training in Rabat, Morocco. An annual gathering of the Hub will be held at the Centre and will enable young people from across the African continent to engage in knowledge sharing, exchange of best practices and more.

The Climate Hub is fully aligned with the goals of the United Nations’ Climate Action Summit and shares its key criteria. There has been and will continue to be a clear focus on making the hub replicable and scalable; on working efficiently to support partners and measure success; and on including young people at every stage of the process including at governance level.

Best practices and projects registered by the Hub will have to deal with one or several dimensions of climate change adaptation and/or mitigation challenges. Young people will be able to apply for their projects to be incubated and developed through to fruition. Hub members will vote on the best projects.

“At the very heart of this major project are young Africans and their creative ideas,” said Chiagozie Udeh, a 25-year-old from Nigeria and one of the initiative’s partner and youth ambassador. “This generation is already inheriting the problems posed by climate crisis– a problem which we did not create but has fallen on us to solve. We are the last generation with the possibility of solving this crisis and platforms such as this Hub are critical for meaningful youth engagement and to allow our ideas to become solutions for today and tomorrow.”

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