Nigerian Youths Make Case for Safer Climate Future

CEC National Activator for Nigeria, Esther Agbarakwe, organized a youth forum in Nigeria on the topic of climate change. The event also marked the start of the International Year of Youth.

In Nigeria, participants at a youth forum on climate change, August 2010 Photo: Esther Agbarakwe

“OUR ENVIRONMENT, OUR YEAR, OUR VOICE” was the theme of a climate change youth forum in Nigeria held August 16, 2010 at Shehu Musa Yaradua Center Abuja to celebrate the International Year of Youth, which runs August 2010-2011.


Nigerian Youth Climate Coalition (NYCC), a network of youths and youth-led organisation working on climate change mobilised and celebrated the 2010 International Year of Youth.

The aim of the forum was to create awareness and increase knowledge of young people on issues that affect the environment, especially climate issues. The event was also an opportunity for young people to share experiences and dialogue with leaders of today, in order to raise leaders of tomorrow. The morning session included the launch of the “One House One Tree Campaign” with over 200 trees donated by the Abuja Green Society, and planted at the Mnifa Estate, Abuja. The event was organized by the Nigerian Youth Climate Coalition (NYCC)/ Youth Aid Organization for Africa (YAOFA) and VSO Nigeria (Volunteer Service Overseas)., in collaboration with Global Xchange Returned Volunteers Forum, Abuja Green Society (AGS), Women Environmental Programme (WEP) and funded by BNRCC (Building Nigeria’s Response to Climate Change) as part of its Engaging Naija Youth on Climate Change Project .

The event brought together young people from all sectors and parts of the country to engage in dialogue collaborate and reflect on International Year of the Youth and the future steps towards a sustainable future in Nigeria where young people are rarely consulted on issues of global environmental governance.

Over 200 participants attended this event, including NYSC MDG Group members, Partners, youth leaders, volunteers, and distinguished members of the media. The event had the honour of having the participation of Dr. Victor Fodeke, Head of the Special Climate Change Unit of the Federal Ministry of Environment, Mrs Julia Ajayi, VSO Country Director, Dr Austin Uganwa, NASPA Project Coordinator, and Dr. Hussaini Abdu, Country Director of Action Aid.

In her Welcome remarks, Mrs Julia Ajayi emphasized the need for youth to step up and take action against the global climate change crisis. Dr. Fodeke, rallied the youth during his rousing presentation on ” Climate Change What You Need to Know” thanked the organizers and gave a goodwill message from the Hon. Minister of Environment, Mr John Odey.

The event was a wonderful occasion for participants to learn and inspire each other. A special feature was a “Live Talk Show’ where guest speakers were invited to share their leadership experiences with the “live studio audience”. One of the guests included Adewole Taiwo, a participant of President Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders Forum which was held at the White House in Washington DC recently.

According to Chiomarh Chukwuneta, a participant and a volunteer “This year’s international youth day will remain one of the most memorable to me because I took a decision to share my resources, skills and energy with other young people and I didn’t regret it at all because I’ve come to realize that volunteering is not solely about contributing to a good cause, but also about having a new experience and growing as a person.

The event also included a “Town Hall Meeting” where youth had the opportunity to speak to a panel of experts and mentors to raise their questions and concerns about the environment, climate change and how their role in governance and leadership can better shape Nigeria’s future towards environmental sustainability.

To contact the author, Esther Agbarakwe, write to esther.agbarakwe@yout...

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