As the Africa Climate Summit kicks off in Nairobi, Kenya (4-6 September, 2023) with the theme of “Driving Green Growth and Climate Finance Solutions for Africa and the World”, I’m filled with a mix of hope, urgency, and determination. Young people like me recognise the gravity of the climate crisis and its disproportionate impact on African countries. We want meaningful action to address the environmental challenges that threaten our continent’s future.

Global Climate Strike in Nairobi. © Evan Habil / Greenpeace
Environmental activists take part in the Climate strike protest in Nairobi calling for action on climate change on September 20, 2019.

First and foremost, we hope that the Africa Climate Summit will prioritise the voices and concerns of us – young people. We are the ones who will inherit the consequences of climate inaction, and our perspectives and ideas should be central to discussions. We want to be more than just spectators – we want a seat at the table to contribute our innovative solutions, fresh ideas and determination to create a more sustainable future.

Climate justice is key 

Climate justice is key for us. I want to see commitments that not only mitigate climate change but also address the social and economic disparities that exist within and among African nations. Many vulnerable communities, especially in rural areas of Kenya, are already experiencing the impacts of climate change, from erratic weather patterns to dwindling natural resources. It’s crucial that the summit focuses on empowering these communities and ensuring that they are not left behind.

I am eager to see concrete actions and commitments from governments, industries and international organisations. The summit should result in tangible agreements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote renewable energy sources and invest in sustainable agriculture and infrastructure. It’s not enough to just talk – we need to see measurable steps towards a carbon-neutral future.

Pan African partnerships, global collaboration

I look forward to a summit that will foster partnerships between African countries and the global community. Climate change is a global issue that requires collaborative efforts, and we can only find solutions when countries come together to share knowledge, resources and expertise. This includes financial support to assist African nations transition to greener economies and adapt to the changing climate.

Global Climate Strike in Nairobi. © Evan Habil / Greenpeace
Environmental activists take part in the Climate strike protest in Nairobi calling for action on climate change on September 20, 2019.

As a plastic campaigner, I feel a sense of responsibility to raise awareness about the summit and its outcomes among my peers. Social media and online platforms have given us the tools to connect and mobilise like never before, and I intend to use these channels to ensure that discussions, decisions and outcomes made at the Africa Climate Summit  will reach as many young people as possible. It’s crucial that we stay informed and engaged, holding our leaders accountable to the promises they make.

The Africa Climate Summit is a pivotal moment for our continent and the world. As a young person, I am excited to see how it will unfold and hopeful that it will mark a turning point in the fight against climate change in Africa. Our future is at stake, and we are ready to be part of the solution.

Global Climate Strike in Nairobi. © Evan Habil / Greenpeace
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Gerance Mutwol is a Plastic Campaigner at Greenpeace Africa. Follow Greenpeace Africa on Twitter(X) and Instagram.