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Nigeria’s Youth Lead the Way in Climate Action: How the Government Plans to Support Them

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Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges facing the world today, and young people are at the forefront of demanding and implementing solutions. In Nigeria, the Federal Government has announced its intention to adopt a youth-led initiative in its effort to tackle the impacts of climate change.

The Minister of Youth Development, Dr Jamila Bio-Ibrahim, made the disclosure at the 13th edition of the UNESCO Youth Forum, held on the sideline of the ongoing 42nd UNESCO General Conference in Paris, France. She expressed the current administration’s commitment to fostering global collaboration to empower developing countries in their efforts to combat climate change while advancing economic development.

According to the Minister, climate change has adverse effects on land and water resources, leading to conflicts, agricultural disruptions, and displacement of communities. She noted that those who are most affected are mostly the youths who constitute about 70% of the Nigerian population.

She said, “It is our youth population who bear the brunt of this challenge the most and it is the youth who also hold the key to innovative solutions.”

The Minister further revealed the administration’s plan to enhance youth climate action in Nigeria through the following strategies:

  • Focusing on young people at the grassroots level, adopting a bottom-up approach to climate action.
  • Engaging with young people in border communities, addressing their marginalization and the specific impacts of climate change they face.
  • Investing in youth-led initiatives by providing skills and financial support to those already involved in climate interventions while building the capacities of emerging ones.
  • Implementing educational and policy-building programs to further climate awareness and action and promoting inclusive policies.
  • Fostering international partnerships for collaborative efforts.

The Minister’s announcement comes at a time when youth-led movements such as Fridays for Future and the Global Youth Biodiversity Network have gained momentum and influence in the global climate agenda. These movements have succeeded in placing climate change at the heart of policy discussions and shaping crucial frameworks such as the Global Biodiversity Framework and the Paris Agreement.

Nigeria is one of the most vulnerable countries to the effects of climate change, ranking 174th out of 181 countries in the 2023 Climate Change Performance Index. The country faces multiple threats such as desertification, flooding, erosion, drought, and rising sea levels. According to the World Bank, climate change could push an additional 100 million people into poverty by 2030 in Nigeria and other sub-Saharan African countries.

The Federal Government’s initiative to support youth-led climate action is therefore a welcome and timely step to address the climate crisis and its social impacts. By empowering and engaging young people, the government can harness their creativity, energy, and resilience to achieve an equitable and sustainable climate transition for Nigeria and the world.

Source: Tribune Online

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