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Youth Involvement in the National Green Climate Conference

The National Green Climate Conference took place from 26 to the 27 of August 2021, at the Bingu International Convention Center (BICC) in Lilongwe. The conference was held under the theme: “Corrective Responsibility for Enhanced Climate Action in Malawi”.

The conference was officially opened by the state president of the Republic of Malawi Dr Lazarus Chakwera, the president expressed concern by the fact that Malawi is now turning into a hotspot for the effects of climate change. He also said that climate change poses a threat in achieving sustainable development goals and that the country needs MK300 billion to fight and recover from the impacts of climate change. The president also launched the Women Network in Climate Action.

The aim of the two-day conference was to assess national progress on combating climate change and develop effective actions for accelerating climate change adaptation and mitigation. At the conference there were several discussion sessions happened concurrently to discuss different levels of Malawi’s plans in dealing with climate change, and also to come up with concrete recommendations for Malawi’s climate change report ahead of the SADC summit on climate change and the COP26 to be held in Scotland. The discussions comprised of high-level guests from the government, the United Nations family, the British embassy, chiefs, youth and the private sector.  Some of the discussion sessions centred on: The national framework for climate services, climate change adaptation and resilience, natural-based solutions for effective and sustainable climate action, and climate finance just to mention a few.

I participated in the climate change adaptation and resilience discussion session in which I was the only youth panellist.  Below are some of the issues that I highlighted during the discussion:

·       I expressed the need to involve the youth in the climate action strategy formulation and implementation

·       Specifically, the issues that I highlighted include the following

Ø  Inclusivity

Ø  mindset and behavior change among the youth on climate change-related activities

Ø  human capital development focusing on the youth

Ø  improving climate funding of activities focusing on the youth

Ø   development of climate-resilient infrastructures in all sectors including some that will target the youth

Ø  improving climate information systems, and investing in eco-friendly technologies and solutions to climate change

Ø  The need to work with community-based radio to disseminate climate change information in languages that the people understand

Being at the conference representing the youth was a great opportunity for me as I was able to give a youth perception about the impacts of climate change. I also learnt a lot regarding the was able to know the status of the climate action in Malawi. This will help me in advocating for the protection and restoration of the environment in Malawi.

The other two Youth Advocates, Lisa Banda and Chisomo Banda were able to connect to the conference virtually as listeners. The feedback that they shared was very useful.

See by the numbers how we are engaging youth voices for positive social change.