Climate change young leaders-operating under the Malawi Scotland Partnership climate change programme-have demanded that their voice must be held at the forthcoming 26th United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26).
The climate change young leaders said this in the Capital Lilongwe when the Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources-which is the focal point for the climate convention, Paris Agreement and Kyoto Protocol in Malawi-prepared the young leaders in case they intend to participate at the COP 26.
Malawi Scotland Partnership organized and financed the meeting which brought together about forty climate change young leaders from across the country.
The young leaders, who implement interventions that support vulnerable communities adapt to effects of climate change, claim they know the real issues on the ground-hence their voices must be heard either through direct or indirect representation at COP 26.
"We are never included whenever consultations about climate change are being conducted. We are now saying it is high time our concerns are heard. The incoming COP 26 offers that opportunity," said Mwaiwawo Chitsamba, from Area 36 in Lilongwe.
And Temwani Kaponda, from Rumphi, concurred with Chitsamba, adding that the COP 26 must not just be a mere talk show on climate change issues.
"Our actions on the ground may not be popularly known. But we are contributing alot to the safety of communities and the environment," said Kaponda, who is also leading an organization known as Vision Cleaners Association.
The COP 26, postponed this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic, will be hosted by the United Kingdom (UK) in Glasgow on 1-12 November, 2021.
The summit will bring parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Reacting to the demands of the climate change young leaders, the Chief Environmental Officer in the Ministry of Forestry and Natural Ressources, Evance Njewa, said the youths are raising genuine concerns.
Njewa, who is also one of the climate change negotiators for Malawi, added that the presence of climate change young leaders is a good start towards involvement of young people in advancement of climate change issues.
"For our future and planet to be safe, we need to consider intergenerational equity. The youths must be involved from the start of everything to do with climate change. For example, we must engage the youths in solving the climate crisis or climate emergency, now.
"After all, they have already shown that they are Keen, have goals and wish to work with government in advancing climate change issues. We need to empower these youths to enable them support vulnerable communities with adaptation measures so that they are able to have food and nutrition security, water and other necessities," said Njewa, who was the main speaker at the Lilongwe meeting.