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?

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