British govt, WEP empowers Youth delegates to COP26

Chuks Oyema-Aziken

Towards a successful outing at the forthcoming 26th United Nations Climate Change conference (COP26), Nigerian youths have come together to develop a Report on Climate Change that will be used to engage at the various summits and contribute to the global declaration at the meeting in Glasgow, Scotland.
The dialogue in Abuja was organised by the British High Commission and the Women Environmental Programme.
The consultation was to empower the various youth delegates who will be participating at COP26, COY16 and the Pre-COP26 Summits to ensure they are in a good position to share the perspectives of young Nigerians.
The dialogue also served as the finale of the youth consultations by Nigeria’s Youth4Climate delegates and a platform to discuss youth perspectives on the implementation of the NDC. 
It was attended by representatives from other key youth groups such as the Resilient40, Cheveners, Conference of Youth (COY16) Nigeria, African Youth Initiative on Climate Change (AYICC), YOUNGO, the media among others.
Opening the dialogue, Ms Adesuwa Obasuyi, Climate Change Policy Manager, British High Commission lauded Youths involvement in getting response to the effects of Climate Change.
In his welcome remarks, Sean Melbourne, Head of Climate Change and Energy, West Africa, Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, FCDO, noted that all over Nigeria, young people are leading the fight against climate change, whether that’s through advocating for climate action, or developing and implementing climate solutions. 
“I have seen this for myself first-hand – getting involved for instance in the youth-led treeplanting initiative implemented by SustyVibes as part of the Nigeria for Nature project supported by the High Commission, and also by following your activities on-line.
“The science tells us that the 1.5 degree cap is critical. Indeed, that every fraction of a degree makes a difference. A temperature rise of two degrees, rather than 1.5, would mean hundreds of millions more people affected.
“Twice as many plants and three times as many insect species would lose vast swathes of their habitat.  Plants and insects incidentally that humanity needs to survive.
“While some progress has been made since the Paris Agreement was signed, it’s clear we are not yet doing enough to arrest damaging climate impacts.  But it’s not too late.
“To keep that 1.5 degree target within reach we must halve global emissions by 2030. That means taking action now.
“We must take decisions today that will drive down emissions throughout the next decade. That is why COP26 is so critical,” he said.
“It must be the moment we come together, as one, to build a greener, more inclusive future. To protect people and nature from the effects of climate change. This requires getting the finance in place to invest in ClimateAction.
“It means strengthening collaboration, locally, nationally and internationally. Addressing the climate crisis requires all of us to be advocates and catalysts for change. 
“Young people and civil society should never underestimate their power. Channelled effectively, it is immense.
He enumerated several efforts by the UK government towards a successful COP26 for the Youths.
“Last year, the UK Government established the Civil Society and Youth Advisory Council to help shape COP26.
“We are also working closely with our Italian partners on the Youth4Climate: Driving Ambition event in Milan this month, where young people will forge a declaration that will be shared with Ministers. It’s the final official meeting of ministers ahead of COP26. I am delighted that two young Nigerians here today – Joy Egbe and Azeez Abubakar – have been selected to represent Nigeria at Youth4Climate.
“We are also supporting the sixteenth Conference of Youth or COY16, organised by the official youth group of the UN. A delegate for COY16, Ugo Ajuzie is here with us too. These conferences will bring young people together from across the world to submit a declaration to the United Nations. I encourage you all to participate in this live-streamed event.
In his speech, Deputy Head of Missions, Italy Embassy in Nigeria, Tarek Chazli, who represented his Ambassador restated his governments support for various Youth programmes on Climate Change. 

“Italy’s commitment is that the voice of young people may continue to be heard in subsequent international negotiations: the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, ECOSOC and future UNFCCC meetings.

“Like the UK, Italy has an unbroken record of governments, of every political color, who maintain that Climate Change is a real and huge issue that the international community needs to address.

Mr John Baaki, Deputy Executive Director of WEP appreciated the British High Commission for their partnership with WEP and called on other youth groups to partner among themselves  to address climate change challenges confronting the country.

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