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International Youth Should Must Adapt To Climate Change

By Joel Onyango, Winnie Khaemba

Rising sea levels, increasing temperatures, shifting seasons and climate related disasters are but a few indicators to the impacts that climate change has on the Gaia. As a result, vulnerable sectors such as agriculture and natural resources exploitation are hard hit, not to mention urban and rural settlements and populations. This makes Climate Change ‘simply the greatest collective challenge we face as a human family’, says Ban Ki Moon (Secretary General of the United Nations) and we couldn’t agree more. To cushion against these impacts, communities have to adapt to climate variability and change. This realization by multiple stakeholders was the genesis of the global annual conferences on Community Based Adaptation (CBA).

The CBA approach recognizes that local communities constitute key ‘building blocks’ in efforts to adapt to the effects of climate change. The CBA  approach therefore places local communities at the centre of  adaptation  initiatives  –  in  terms  of  needs,  priorities,  knowledge,  capacities  and participation. The ninth in the CBA conferences series (CBA9) - in Nairobi from April  23rd to 30th 2015, continues to allude to the critical role and input provided by stakeholders including researchers, policy makers and the private sector in building resilience to climate change. This conference is hosted by The  African  Centre  for  Technology  Studies  (ACTS)  jointly  with  the  Government  of Kenya  (GOK),  the  International  Institute  for  Environment  and  Development  (IIED) and  the  Bangladesh  Centre  for  Advanced  Studies  (BCAS).

With the world’s young forming almost a third of the global population, their role in accelerating the adaptation as part of the ‘community’ cannot be ignored. The dividend that the young people provide in support to adapting to and cushioning the effects of climate variability and change, has been recognized by CBA9 through the convening of the youth  conference  running parallel to the international CBA 9 conference held from 27th to 28th April 2015. The CBA9 Youth Conference (#YouthCBA) aims to build and enhance the knowledge of young people on community based adaptation practices and policies. The #YouthCBA will tap into experienced climate adaptation experts to enhance the understanding of the youth on community based adaptation. With the innovative minds of the youth, the #YouthCBA will target to explore  innovative  ideas  on  how  science,  technology,  and  innovation  (ST&I) can be integrated into CBA and be useful in influencing policy and practice.

The #YouthCBA will, in its entirety, provide over 100 participants with a social and economical road map on how the international youth community would adapt to climate change through plenary and breakout sessions, posters, market cafe, documentaries and videos, and concerts. This will go a long way in contributing to the climate change discussion and development of climate change positions at local, national, regional and international level, especially to the 21st Conference of Parties (COP 21) of the UNFCCC to be held in Paris in 2015. At the same time, outputs including youth declaration, policy brief, youth toolkit and online knowledge sharing platform on CBA will form part of the recommendations and/or declarations following the CBA9 main conference.

Physical and online participation in the #YouthCBA will be on, with updates and commentaries, from the main organisers and the global youth community.

“Don’t be left out of contributing to the urgent need for the international youth community to sustainably adapt to climate variability and change”