Civil society organizations (CSOs) advancing rights of the youth and children have called upon the Government of Malawi to come up with deliberate mechanisms that would enable children and the youth to assume a leading role in interventions aimed at mitigating effects of climate change.
Save the Children Malawi Senior Advocacy, Campaigns, Communications and Media Manager, John Chipeta, made the call at the opening of the Pre – COP28 summit on Climate Justice, which took place at the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) on Wednesday.
Civil Society Network on Climate Change (CISONECC), National Youth Network for Climate Change (NYNCC) and Joining Forces Partners (Save the Children, World Vision, Save the Children Plan Malawi, Child Fund, SOS Children’s Villages and Torres Des Hommes International Federation) organized the summit as a precursor to the 28th Conference of Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The overall goal of the two-day summit was to provide a platform for children, youth and CSOs to directly engage the government on Malawi Country Position towards COP28 and beyond and also deliberate on strategies on how children, youth and CSOs can be involved and supported to effectively and meaningfully participate in influencing decision-making processes before, during and after COP28 and other related processes, the summit shall also provide space to call for urgent and ambitious climate action and address climate injustices and inequalities exacerbated by climate change and disasters.
Chipeta said it was sad that children and the youth continue taking a passenger’s seat in matters concerning environmental degradation and its resultant impacts, including climate change.
He said time had come for Malawi to ensure that children and the youth are steering interventions devised to mitigate effects of climate change.
At this point, Chipeta commended President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera for taking the resolutions the youth and children made at their previous summits to CoP last year.
But a youth representative, Bridget Mitembo, appealed to the government and CSOs to continue investing and create platforms where the youth and children can freely discuss climate change issues.
In his remarks, LUANAR Vice Chancellor Professor Emmanuel Kaunda hailed the CSOs for prioritizing children and the youth in their programming, stressing that this is a key constituency in addressing effects of climate change in Malawi.
Kaunda pledged that his institution would continue providing technical support to the CSOs as they journey towards reversing the loss and damage caused by climate change.
The summit was held under the theme: “Nurturing Hope in the Face of Climate Loss and Damage”.