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Youth Need a Voice to Tackle Climate Change

By:Mathias Hangala
Environmental Commissioner Timoteus Mufeti says there is a need for youth to partake in decisions and plans which will affect them in the future.
The Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism’s environmental commissoner was speaking on Tuesday on the sidelines of the National Youth Council’s (NYC) three-day National Youth Climate Summit.
It was hosted in Windhoek under the theme Empowering Youth for Climate Change Action, attracting 42 youth delegates from all the 14 regions.
Mufeti reiterated the climate is changing due to various human economic activities, which is affecting local communities in various ways such impacting food production and consequently income disruptions.
Namibia is currently ranked 109th out of 182 countries on the ND-GAIN Country Index.
The index combines a country’s vulnerability and readiness to adapt to climate change, and in this regard Namibia is ranked 122 for vulnerability and 104th for readiness.
Hence, Mufeti stressed, the need for youths to partake in decisions and plans which will affect them in the long term.
He stressed government has an open door policy and welcomes suggestions and proposals by individuals who would like to invent new ways of doing things.
“It is therefore imperative to refrain from playing blame games but rather take hold of opportunities like this by availing their ideas.”
It is expected after deliberations that the youth will draft a statement which will form part of the National Action Plan on Climate Change to ensure the voice of young people is added there-in.
According to research, the frequency of droughts in Namibia appears to be increasing, with one year of drought conditions recorded in the 1980s, three recorded in the 1990s, two in the 2000s, and three in the 2010s.
At the same occasion the National Youth Climate Change Action Network of Namibia (Youth 4 CAN) founder & executive director, Toini Amutenya, said young people are trying their utmost to ensure their voices are heard, despite challenges they faced over the years.

“Though the platform called the National Youth Climate Action Network, we do have a membership of all regional representatives and we advocate toward remote youth also to be on the platform and engaging and deliberating on the issues,” Amutenya told The Villager.
Amutenya observed the diversity, terrain and also diverse climate change vulnerabilities the country experiences, and which requires different action approaches.
According to her, the solution is to include youths from those areas she narrated, but specific attention will be given to active youths who are active in various fronts such as mitigating initiatives and income generating activities.
The summit is expected to be concluded on Thursday with recommendations and a draft statement which form part of a presentation to be presented at the COP summit expected to be held in November this year.

Mathias Hangala

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