Ghana’s Second Lady and Chair of the Africa Women and Children Conference (AFRIWOCC), Samira Bawumia has highlighted the unique role African youth can play to revolutionize the continent’s approach to the challenges brought on by climate change.
Speaking at the AFRIWOCC Pre-COP Youth Climate Dialogue and Innovation Exhibition on Tuesday, November 21 at the University of Ghana on the theme, “Youth in Climate Action”, Mrs Bawumia said “the youth are not just the leaders of tomorrow but the architects of today’s transformative actions.”
She added: “I’m thrilled to see so many young leaders gathered here today to discuss climate change, sustainable development, and gender-related issues affecting women and children in the African context as well as showcase innovative climate solutions developed by young Africans.”
AFRIWOCC is convened as a platform to discuss the issues affecting women, youth, and children in Africa and to coordinate a network of organizations focused on women, and children in Africa. In August this year, AFRIWOCC organised its maiden conference which brought to the fore the urgency of amplifying the voices of women and children in the face of climate crisis. This groundbreaking initiative, borne out of a collective commitment to address the pressing issues faced by women and children, serves as a testament to the power of global collaboration and the unwavering dedication to a sustainable future.
She said they’re committed to building upon that momentum by focusing on the critical role of the youth in climate action while recognizing the unique energy, creativity, and determination young people bring to the global climate movement. She further noted that the world is at a critical juncture, facing environmental challenges that demand innovative ideas and solutions.
“The recent climate-related disasters across the globe are stark reminders of the urgency of our actions. The youth, as change- makers and advocates, have a unique role to play in changing the discourse and shaping policies and actions that will redefine the trajectory of our planet” she added.
The AFRIWOCC conference underscored the importance of moving beyond rhetoric and translating commitments into tangible actions.
She, therefore, said this Pre-COP Youth Climate Dialogue and Innovation Exhibition presents an opportunity to harness the creativity, passion, and determination of the youth in addressing climate change.
“Our discussions will focus on practical steps, innovative solutions, and collaborative efforts to ensure that the youth are not just part of the conversation but are actively shaping the future.”
While acknowledging that the African continent was blessed with a vibrant youth and rich cultural diversity, she also mentioned that it is one of the region’s most vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change.
“Our youth have a unique perspective and an unparalleled ability to embrace change. It is time to leverage this power for the benefit of our planet. From sustainable energy solutions to eco-friendly innovations, Africa’s youth have the potential to revolutionize the way we approach climate challenges. I look forward to the inspirational conversations and engagements we are going to have today.”
She reiterated that the goal of the event was to provide a platform for African youth to voice their perspectives, and concerns, share innovative ideas, and collaboratively address climate change, sustainable development, and gender-related issues affecting women and children in Africa.
“We need to elevate the voices of the African youth, advocate for the financial backing that youth-led climate initiatives deserve, and support the youth leaders amongst us who inspire and ensure that our solutions and stories drive our climate agenda.
She challenged the young participants not “to view this event as a mere conference but as a commitment to lead the charge in climate action. You are not here to merely discuss; you are here to be the visionaries, the solution architects, and the ambassadors of change. We look forward to shaping outcomes from this forum at COP 28 in Dubai.”
The Chair and Convener of the Africa Women and Children Conference (AFRIWOCC), commended the sponsors of the event comprising the National Petroleum Authority, Energy Commission, and Fidelity Bank Ghana, and said their commitment to empowering the youth in climate action is pivotal, and will inspire meaningful change.
“Following our deliberations today, we must carry on the passion, determination, and hope that have filled these halls. Together, we can reshape the destiny of Africa, by protecting our planet, and building the Africa we all dream of. Together we can ensure climate justice for Africa; with women and girls leading the way” the Second Lady concluded.