An annual youth symposium focusing on capturing voice of marginalized youths in the climate change crisis discussions has kicked off in Bulawayo amid calls for the mainstreaming of youth voices in policy formulation.
Hosted annually by Advocates4Earth, the indaba in its third year running, will tackle the impact of the climate crisis on human rights and livelihoods to counter environmental and climate injustice in adaptation policies.
Advocates4Earth founding director Tinashe Chisaira said Zimbabwe faces a challenge of deep-seated inequality emanating from the current neo-liberal and capitalistic economic model in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Chisaira said youths who are often left out in policy formulation will have an opportunity to add their voice in the climate debate and have their concerns captured.
He expressed worry over significant lack of youth participation in analytical policy engagement and advocacy on the issues of climate change, climate adaptation and mitigation as well as human rights and socio-ecological transformation.
“We have a major problem in Zimbabwe which is climate change adaptation. We already know that climate change is here we cannot run away from it but we have to capacitate our people to adapt in the face of climate change be it in terms of agriculture.
“Our main focus is to capture the voice of young people who are often excluded, we have young voices, researchers and civic activists sharing on climate adaptation.
“We will come up with a journal that we will then distribute to policy makers and stakeholders, young voices participating will also be added into this journal,” said Chisaira.
Youthful academies researchers, civic activists will submit of draft papers and share findings for validation by delegates and this will to contribute to the final journal which we will launch at the end of this program.
Advocates4Earth says there is significant human rights impacts and lack of adaptation preparedness posed by the economic system in Zimbabwe and the Global South, calls for collaborative actions.
The Global South, faces the worst of climate change impact despite contributing the least to the current negative impacts, while its resources are exploited without consummate benefits to its inhabitants.
Chisaira said the symposium will provide a platform for experience sharing, development of critical analysis of modern environmental and social changes and network building among youths and their allies in the struggle for proper responses to the impacts of climate change.
“The Symposium brings together young people from climate justice organisations, civil society, colleges, political parties and trade unions around Zimbabwe who are passionate about addressing climate change, analyzing the impacts of climate change on human rights and social justice as well as movement building and promoting sustainable lifestyles,” he said.
The 1st Annual symposium ran under the theme ‘Extractive Industries and Human rights’. The 2nd Annual Symposium was themed ‘Sustainability’. The 2020 Edition of the symposium will run under the theme ‘Climate change adaptation in the Global South’.
Advocates4Earth is a non-profit, public interest environmental law, climate and wildlife justice organization for the Global South.