Rio Conventions Pavilion TV, CBD COP11 (13/10/2012) – Esther Agbarakwe and Billy M. Lombe, co-founders of the African Youth Initiative on Climate Change (AYICC), discuss the role of young people, in particular from African nations, in environmental policy making.
Agbarakwe, now an advisor to AYICC, asserts that biodiversity negotiations will define the environment that young people grow up to inherit so it is vital that young people have their voices heard. She also asserts that young people are inherently close to nature and so have a particular interest in biodiversity.
Lombe, now CEO of AYICC, emphasises the importance of proper consultation and full participation of young people in negotiations. He recounts that all too often conferences have paraded young people around but not actually included them in policy-making. He asserts that young people need to be involved from start to finish.
Lombe emphasises the need for better funding of the participation of young people in biodiversity negotiations. He recounts that for the most recent climate change COP in Durban, South Africa, AYICC received funding to facilitate the attendance of over 100 people – a situation very different to that of the Biodiversity COP.
Agbarakwe is keen to emphasise how much she appreciates the support Africa receives from global north organisations but says it is important they view Africa as a continent rather than a country. She laments that many global organisations will have several European offices while thinking that a single African office is sufficient.