UNDP Zimbabwe, UNITAR, Zimbabwe Youth for Peace, Zimbabwe Youth Council and the Government of Zimbabwe jointly organised the first Youth Climate Dialogue between Zimbabwe and China on the 19th of December, 2019. This event was conducted online and hosted at the United Nations Information Centre in Harare. Twenty- five youths from Zimbabwe joined their peers from the Ocean University of China in the online Youth Climate Dialogue. The Zimbabwean participants were drawn from various youth organisations, government ministries and universities which are actively involved in accelerating climate action.
As youth become increasingly aware of the challenges and opportunities in transitioning to a low carbon growth, many are joining the global dialogue sharing ideas and solutions to tackle Climate Change. In this inaugural Youth Climate Dialogue, students from China explored the economic implications of climate change for emerging and developing economies, whilst the representatives from Zimbabwe presented strategic interventions and policies which have been developed to address climate change in Zimbabwe.
Several key issues and questions were raised during the dialogue including: the role of the youth in accelerating climate action; the pivotal role of climate change education and awareness; climate finance as a critical enabler of attaining the climate targets and ambitions, and how developing countries like can Zimbabwe grow their economies through renewable sources of energy.
The dialogue culminated with the young people from Zimbabwe proposing the following recommendations to effectively tackle climate change:
- The policy making process should involve the most vulnerable groups including, youth, children, women , the elderly and the disabled in line with leaving no-one behind.
- Enhanced climate change education and awareness is required to encourage behaviour change towards low carbon lifestyles.
- Investment in education is needed to enhance young people’s knowledge of climate and carbon finance empowering them to lead in the development of the national renewable energy policy and the low emissions strategy.
- All sectors of the economy should mainstream climate change in their policies, strategies, budgeting and operations.
- At the international level, the developed countries should be given stricter mandatory Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emmissions reduction targets and address the issue of negative GHG externality.
The youth climate dialogue was held as part of the Regional Experience Sharing and Youth Climate Dialogue sessions which is being implemented as part of the development of a National Climate Change Learning Strategy for Zimbabwe. The Strategy is being developed by the Government of Zimbabwe in partnership with UNITAR and UNDP.