Sharm el-Sheikh, 17 November 2022 - The Brazzaville Foundation concluded its mission at COP27 by inviting representatives of African youth organisations to debate on the theme "African solutions for the climate". On this occasion, it was hosted by the International Organisation of the Francophonie, which had opportunely opened a youth forum during the COP.
Mobilising African youth networks
In the final hours of the COP, as African negotiators tried to make their voices heard on the release of the 100 billion dollars promised at COP15 in Copenhagen, and as they continued discussions on the issue of loss and damage, which was on the COP agenda for the first time, a passionate debate was opened by the Brazzaville Foundation in the youth area of the pavilion of the International Organisation of the Francophonie around a proposal that is essential to accelerate the emergence of African economies: Calling on young people to find African solutions for the climate: "This is in line with the solutions we want to put in place" confirmed Marie, president of an environmental organisation based in Cameroon.
Some thirty leaders of youth organisations participated in the meeting in a committed, passionate and relevant manner: "We need to trust youth to be concrete," said Gildas, a doctoral student specialising in data management, who deplored the lack of follow-up to various consultations that had already involved young people for several years, recommending that the Foundation use its know-how to remobilise African youth networks.
Moderated by Raoul Siemeni, Director General of Afrique Environnement, the debate allowed for a lively and very instructive exchange, concluding with the need to prepare for COP28.
Promoting the continent's natural and human capital
During the PreCOP27 in Kinshasa in early October, the Foundation launched a first survey to understand how Africa is responding to the challenges posed by climate change and how it is also contributing to the challenges posed by the climate transition at the global level. This first consultation confirmed the need to change the discourse on African capacities, recognising that while the continent's countries are among the least polluting, they are also, by virtue of their natural resources, the best placed to respond to the major issue of adaptation. But it seems that non-African countries are still stuck with outdated mental models about Africa's natural and human capital.
For Mahamat, coordinator of an NGO promoting children's rights in Chad, this stems from the fact that Africa is not sufficiently involved in multilateral decision-making processes. A young Congolese scientist goes further: "The polluting countries do not listen to the suggestions of African scientists", expressing surprise at a form of contempt for the solutions provided by the academic world: "Even within the IPCC, we are looking for African voices".
Makia, a Guinean entrepreneur elected Miss Jungle for finding solutions for reforestation, deplored the fact that successful projects are not better supported, as there is an ongoing battle to find the means to act.
Building on the primacy of African competence
Asked to conclude the debate, the Foundation's Chief Executive, Richard Amalvy, supported the idea put forward by Albert, a Congolese academic, of imposing a change of paradigm by relaying the message and image of a successful Africa that refuses to be a victim and eternally assisted.
The springs of endogenous development require a long time to produce their effects. They are the most likely to create a lasting and definitive impact. The Chief Executive invited the participants to contribute "to the reinforcement of the Brazzaville Foundation's method, based on the primacy of African competence" by indicating that its President, Jean-Yves Ollivier, ardently wishes to invite African youth to a series of "solution forums" in the framework of initiatives coordinated by the Foundation on climate and public health issues.
In the immediate future, the Foundation will conclude the consultation conducted during COP27, which aimed to deepen the survey conducted during the PreCOP. Concrete results will be shared by the end of the year with all those who have the capacity to act politically, socially, economically and scientifically on the continent.
The participants left with one thing in mind: we must already prepare for COP28 in Dubai.
The Institute de la Francophonie pour le développement durable (IFDD) was a major facilitator to make the voice of African youth heard during COP27.