Monday, February 22, 2010

Missed the Nigerian Youth Post-COP workshop? Here’s what happened

Reiz Continetal Hall Abuja saw a lot of young climate activists last Tuesday (Feb. 16th 2010). With a lot of new faces this time, the curiosity and the level of participation were unmatched. After everybody had their cup of hot tea/coffee basking in the sun outside, all of the 50 or so participants patiently waited while the organizers fixed little technicalities. By now, I, for one, have accepted that where there’s a projector involved, some tech hiccups occur sometimes,

Iregbu, NigerianCAN Youth Coordinator welcome participant as he was asisted by Silva Akuto(a.k.a Slim) to facilitate the workshop, He called on Nkiru Nnaemgo to present a "Reveiw of Pre-COP Youth Position" Nkiru's Presentation was fun as fun for us to watch as it probably was for people who campaigned for total youth involvemnet at COP15, it aslo reminded us on the Youth positions on NAPA. and the from setting up a "Youth Desk" at the Special Climate Change Unit of the FME to the establishment of a "Petroleum Future Fund" for susttainable development-we did it all! Because we wanted to send delegations off to COP15 with the strongest possible message that people from every corner of Nigeria, to the cities, the lanes, the desert– is telling them to cut a deal that meets the science. The well received media coverage is representative of just that – we were successful in making our voices heard, out loud.

But it’s a pity that the Copenhagen Accord didn’t even ‘take note of’ the time and the energy that we the Nigerian Youth – not just the Nigeria youth, but youth from around the globe – spent putting pressure on policymakers and delegates in preparation for and during the conference itself. Yes, the Nigerian Youth Movement also reached the eyes and ears of people at Bella Center too and Esther Agbarakwe and Onochie Anwara elaborated more on the actions that took place during the actual conference. Involvement in the various YOUNGO groups, AYICC and Global South meeting as well as the Interntaional Youth Press Conference. we, indeed, made our presence felt. For which, I do think we should receive a pat on the back. We have already gained momentum, guys.

Onochie Anwara went further to analysis the challenges we faced inspite of the progress, such as lack of indepth knowledge of climate changes issues and inter-govt negocaiations and the need to begin an "aggresive capacity building for the Youth movemnet in Nigeria to meet up with it peers in world

This was followed by Nkiru's very technical presentation (may have been for the new faces, I am assuming) on ‘Overview of COP15 and its outcome Copenhagen Accord’. I must say, it was quite detailed and structured, covering almost all the A-to-Z of COPs, it included everything starting from COP1 to COP15, AWG-KP and AWG-LCA, and the Pro’s and Con’s of Copenhagen Accord. If you want to know what exactly went about during the 17 years of snail –paced negotiations, you can just go through his 10 minutes long presentation, and you’ll know just about everything there is to know. So much for the 17 years.
This was followed by a disscusion session on the Implication of the Copenhagen Accord on Nigerian Youth Position. It was noted that the accord did not even include 'youth' in it statement..or maybe we are included among the 'vulnurable' people.

At this point, Dr Fodeke, the Head Special Climate Unit of FME arrived and was welcomed by the partcipant as such he was given an opportunity to present as adress as he was the Rep of the Honourable Minister. He said that the Minister of Environment, Mr John Odey is very committed to Youth development and involvemnet in the climate Change issues as it is our Future that is as stake, He promised to have a page on the SCCU Wepsite for Youths..this was applaued . young people need to take the opportunity on green Jobs and creat a safe future he said..He acknoweldged Esther's role in leading the Nigerian Youth at COP15 and said that this is the kind of leadership that we need....

And for me personally, the post-COP workshop was very informative and fruitful, I’d say, because it made me rethink about the whole climate change negotiation dynamics. I finally got the bigger picture: Reputable scientists and governments no longer question the existence of climate change and its consequences. Its effects around the globe are already too obvious. In the face of so much agreement, why is the leap from understanding to taking action so difficult? Is it because the countries have failed to pursue the mitigation of their CO2 output with enough vigour since Kyoto? Is it because climate change became apparent just when the countries of the global south saw their first glimmer of hope of escaping poverty? Negotiating positions changes until every country is left on its own, the rift between developed, emerging and developing countries widens and people still think World Bank can protect the climate. Where are we heading?

Friday, February 12, 2010

"I represent Nigeria"..Youth Participation and looking at retirement at 25yrs!

Intro: This is true story of what inspires me Youth Participation..I so do feel happy when I read international Youth reports where young Nigerian youth participated in and the word "NIGERIA" mentioned in the report.

I was 10 years old, when I began "activisting" on issues of children Rights. then in in the old town of Calabar, where I was raised, infact I was still in Primary school then. My Dad was the Chairman of then PTA and that too help me to live up to the expection of who my dad was..Well not untill the 27th of May 1995 that I was ask to participate at the Children Day Celebration at the Government House Calabar with the Wife of the then Millitary Admistration, Mrs Gloria Oboneni(I hope I got that right)..that I began active participation. I was 10.

Now did I stoped there? NO! I realised a calling for me in youth work that when I got into Secondry school (high school to my American peeps) I was very active. The school itself so my interest and dedication, thus they sent me to various adolescents workshops and symposia on adolescent sexuality, education and career.

Another thing I got from my Mom is giving back, so I started a Health Club in my school know as WAPI Health club, was inspired me to becomes the Senior Girls Prefect..ofcource I had mentors both in the school and outside, which greatly help me.

My Univerisiy days was even more interesting as I became more knowlegeable on issues on adolescent and youth sexuality, and leadership building as I volunteered for Nigerian Youth aid Programme(NYAP),Univeristy of Calabar, as a youth counselor and activist. Well It was not easy combining acedemic studies and activsism and peer-education, but as inpsired and determines as I was, I just did it! Thank God my parent suppoted me...Natiional Youth Service Corp Scheme provides an opportunity for young graduates to contribute to national Development, I took that opportunity as I served my Country and help over 35 adolescent to gain leadership eskilles and experiences with the support of UNICEF.

15 years later, the struggle continues as the world face global challenges that demand innovatie sollutions to achieve sustianable development. I took my "Voice" to the UN, at a High Level Meeting on Sustainable Development(UNCSD) the 18th Session, demaning that Heads of Government Practice what they Preach and see young people as stakeholders who need to be integrally involved in the process to acheive sustianable development... Now being involved as an Active Global citizen on issues of sustianable development, I feel happy more so to see the fellow Nigerian Youth and my younger generation became inspired  and taking action in field of SD... I am 25yrs now! What I am leaving back for my next generation?

 NEXT GENERATION: Most time we some of the successful youths activities are carried away with the fame and populairty associated with our susccesses that we forget that there exist the "Next Generation" which need to be inspired and intergrally involved to carring on from where we may have stopped, There are many young people with amazing interest and dedication waiting to be guided and involved in youth activisim because they do no have the right direction. What can we do then? . 

Inspired with the  growth of the International Youth Climate Movement(IYCM) and what young people can do and are doing in India, Canada, Austrain and the UK, so why not Nigeria. With support of an amazing team of dedicated youths, Nigerian Youth Climate Coalition (NYCC)was born on June 6th 2010 in Abuja, at the "Dialogue with the Elder Forum" on Inter-generational Partnership for Sustainabilty with the Financial support from Earth Charter International. Since then, Many young Nigerian have had their capacity enhanced on Climate Change and Youth participation. COP15 provided such an avenue to increased awareness on climate chnage and sustainble living. Now as a leading youth plateform on climate change in Nigeria, NYCC is poised to increase youth participation on Climate Change issues. As a Co-Director of NYCC, I am planing on handing over to the "Next Generation" in May 2010 just like what happend in UK Youth Climate Coalition. Who says that Youth can not retire and play advisory role at 25?

 NEXT LEVEL:  A new phase in my life just began. As I enhanced my professional career as an environmental activist, I got employed with Women Environmental Programme,(WEP), an NGO with UN Specail ECOSOC a program Officer working on Climate Change. WEP Women Environmental Programme (WEP), a non-governmental, non-profit, non-religious and voluntary organisation, was established in 1997 by a group of grassroots women in Nigeria. The major aim is to address the gender injustices on issues relating to environment, economic and social rights of women, children and youths in the society. WEP’s headquarters is situated in Abuja while its operational offices are in two geopolitical zones of Nigeria, namely: North Central and North East.

WEP is operating as an NGO under the Companies and Allied Matters Act by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). The organisation is administered by a Board of Directors, while the management team run the administration. The Executive Director who is part of the management team serves as the operational head. WEP has United Nations special Economic and Social Council Status (UNECOSOC status). I am happy and feel fulfiled as this chapter in my life opens.