August 12th is globally recognised as the World International Youth Day.
As part of its activities to celebrate the youth day, Climate and Sustainable Development Network (CSDevNet), in collaboration with the National Civil Society Framework on Paris Agreement and the SDGs (NCFPAS) and the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) convened a National Youth Discussion on Nigeria Youth Inclusion and the Implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
The discussion sought to collate ideas, knowledge and draft a work plan that will inform, encourage, and influence leaders to raise the ambition of their commitments to the NDCs with youth inclusion at its core.
The discussion took place at CSDevNet’s Secretariat in Abuja, Nigeria, from August 12 to 14 2019.
The focus group which was made up of Nigerian youth from various sectors (Government, private sector, CSOs & NGOs, academia) and different parts of the country were able to beam searchlight on critical issues that will determine Nigeria’s ability to implement the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
According to Mr Pius Oko, the Project Officer for CSDevNet, “it is pertinent to discuss about youth participation and inclusiveness on the NDCs, “the heart of the Paris Agreement” as key stakeholders of its implementation in Nigeria.”
The NCSFPAS Youth Thematic Group Chair, Prince Israel Orekha stated that the meeting was critical because a survey carried out revealed that 6 out of 10 young people in Nigeria do not know about climate change issues.
He said “There is need for awareness creation and mobilization at the grassroots level as the youths are the major contributors in mitigating the impacts associated with climate change.”
He added that “The youths need to embark on an organized advocacy to break the existing knowledge gap.”
Addressing participants, Mr Monday Abuh, CSDevNet’s Stakeholders Engagement Officer challenged the youth to always be at the forefront of action and innovations on climate change.
He said “This workshop will give Nigerian youth room to make inputs that correctly suit the youth and gender need; to ensure we meet the SDGs, climate change concerns must be addressed as a matter of urgency in Nigeria and youth should be engaged for solutions.”
Dr Ibrahim Choji, Chairman of the CSDevNet Board of Trustees who was represented by Mr Samuel Jinadu stated that the meeting was organized to galvanize and harvest ideas on what the youth can do, projects to embark on and explore ways to project the activities and innovations of youth and youth-led organizations in tackling the impacts of climate change in Nigeria.
“It is very important we examine actionable plans so as not to see inputs by youth continuously ignored as it is often the case”, he said.
The adoption of the Paris Agreement in December 2015 marked a new chapter for international cooperation on climate.
National governments agreed to develop country-specific Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) which are national climate plans highlighting climate actions, including climate related targets, priorities, policies and measures.
These are to be implemented by governments in response to climate change and as a contribution to global climate action to enable intergenerational equity, environmental justice, low carbon climate resilient and growth, and access to sustainable energy for all.
Other concerns covered by the NDCs include gender equality, and a just transition for those whose jobs or livelihoods are threatened by ambitious climate policies and the protection and promotion of human rights for all.
Nigeria’s INDCs became NDCs in March 2017 with a pledge to reduce emissions by 20% while stating that with international support and funding, emissions will be reduced by 45%; hence the phrase for Nigeria’s NDCs became ‘20% conditionally and 45% unconditionally’.
The original document on Nigeria’s NDCs earlier released by the Department of Climate Change of the Federal Ministry of Environment focused mainly five thematic areas: Agriculture, Energy, Oil & Gas, Industry and Transportation.
However, CSDevNet was informed upon enquiries that the document is currently under review, to include two more thematic areas: Waste Management and Water.
Nigeria is also required to submit regular reports on the progress of the NDCs and these reports are supposed to be all inclusive, with the youth activities on climate action taking a centre stage.
Youth inclusion is further highlighted in view of its important role in helping to shape climate policies and implementing the Sustainable Development Goals
However, Nigerian youth which makes up close to 50% of the population, hasn’t been effectively engaged, on what their expected roles are in ensuring the successful implementation of the NDCs.
Intergenerational equity requires the full, equal and meaningful participation of youth in all activities, processes and platforms for climate action, an integrated approach, concerning the wellbeing and equity of current and future generations.
These are the ones who most likely will face difficult living conditions in and the impacts of a changing climate, as drought, flooding and food security, but who are not historically responsible for causing those conditions.
At the recently concluded National Discussion on Nigeria Youth Inclusion and the Implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions, it was a general consensus among participants that there was a relegation of youth inclusivity in the implementation of the NDCs in Nigeria.
To change this narrative, the youth focused their discussions around:
- Developing specific plans to fill the gaps in adaptation, capacity building, education, access to safe, affordable, available and sustainable technologies and decision-making schemes for youth in the rural areas (vulnerable) on the seven thematic areas of Nigeria’s NDCs which are: Agriculture, Energy, Oil & Gas, Industry, Transportation, Waste Management and Water.
- Pointing out gaps which may hinder the implementation of the NDCs such as the budgetary allocation, as well as identifying government policies which may be detrimental to the implementation of the NDCs.
- Exploring and deliberating on converging areas of youth lobbying, advocacy and mobilization at local, state and national levels among non-state actors and government.
- Identifying and defining the youth action agenda for different stakeholders to build a strong and unified voice moving forward the national climate discourse process.
At the end of the dialogue, the youth came up with a draft National paper on mainstreaming gender and youth in the implementation of the NDCs which highlighted the focus of the discussion, it was agreed upon that there should be a movement on social media using the hashtag ‘#WhatHasChanged?’ to engage other stakeholders, follow up on national policies, strategies and action plans to ensure that they are harmonized with the NDCs and point out when they are not.
The youth resolved to be involved at the beginning of the NDCs implementation process to identify intended outcomes, during the process to monitor the extent to which the goals have been achieved and to and at the end to assess the extent to which the goals have been achieved.
In addition, a decision was reached to put a call out to all youth-led CSOs and NGOs in Nigeria to submit reports on projects and activities in a format to be decided upon by CSDevNet-led Nigeria Civil Society Framework on Paris Agreement and SDGs (NCSFPAS) Youth Thematic Group. These reports will be featured in the Youth Action section of CSDevNet’s website (www.csdevnet.org). The aim of which is to bring all youth activities on climate action nationwide to the fore and make it easy accessible to members of the public, as well as to monitor and demonstrate youth impacts and show results.