Liberia: Youth Groups Hold Public Engagement At CEOI On Climate Justice and Electoral Accountability

Monrovia — Outside of the usual formal or white-collar approaches of discussing issues affecting the environment at big international and local conferences in finding ways to mitigate the trigger down effect of a damaged ozone layer, a local group has adopted an approach that involves local community's dwellers.

Under this approach, the young people themselves are taking matters of climate change into their own hands through communities' engagements. On Wednesday, May 5th, 2021, a local youth organization under the banner "The Potential Leaders for Sustainable future" (PLSF) held a one of its many planned engagement at the Center for Intellectual Exchange of Ideas (CEOI).

CEOI is popular for hosting some of the top provoking intellectual political debates. It's a center located in Central Monrovia. It's a place that has been visited by almost all of the Liberian top politicians including Liberia's current president George.

Janet Ricks is the is the head of the group and according to her the public engagement by her organization to help speak to a gathering of majority young people who play significant roles in protecting the environment for the benefit of their generation and future generations.

She believes a community approach will help experts come face-to-face with the people to address some of their concerns and questions about the environment which would give them a firsthand information about why is it important to protect the environment and the risks and benefits.

According to her, the objective of the event was to interact and shape public discourse on climate justice and public accountability and raise public awareness to promote climate justice actions and public accountability.

She said, it was also intended for young people and people living with disabilities and the general public to be aware of climate change, its effect and how to hold public official accountable.

"The dialogue will set the stage for young people to interact and discuss issues bordering around climate change, youth approach and involvement to the fight against climate change, youth understanding on the national climate change approach document of Liberia (NDC), provide the opportunities for young people especially young women to discuss climate and environmental related issues,

"In order for us to take actions in achieving our ambitious framework on climate change (NDCs,), citizens have to be aware and educated on the science of climate change," Ms. Risk stated.

At the event, Mr. Arthur Becker Project Manager, Environmental Agreements, at the environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cautioned young people about taking advantage into acquiring professional knowledge in Environmental science because according to him, it's a profession that has a large benefits on sustainable livelihood.

He also cautioned young people about the danger that comes with a destroyed ozone layer and the protection of the wet land. "Wet lands are beneficiary to the environment stop polluting them with solid waste especially plastic."

This project therefore seeks to empower young people and their movements, alliances and organizations in building and strengthening sustainable youth led alternatives for citizen engagement in driving participatory governance and accountability for inclusive and sustainable development in Liberia; sensitizing and empowering young people and their movements to engage with duty bearers at local level (in Montserrado and Bong Counties), influence elections manifestos and specific electoral commitments on critical youth issues (access to education and decent work) and timely mobilization and escalation of climate justice issues specifically on local and national budgets to support Commitments on the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs in alignment with the Agenda 2030 and Paris Agreement), National Adaptation Plans and Voluntary National Review on the Implementation Status of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

"PLSF and other implementing partners is working with different youth groups, people with disabilities (Deaf, Blind and physically challenged) conducting training and raising awareness on climate justice, Public accountability, Digital campaigning and COVID-19 safety and preventive messages using sign language, and Braille for the Visually impaired and Deaf and with sign language interpreters at all of our awareness and training programs.

"Today's dialogue will focus on Climate Change because climate change is a sensitive issue that needs to be taken seriously and adequately address by everyone. It is a serious threat to the existence of life especially in least-developed countries like Liberia. But climate change issues have not been discuss across the country sufficiently; significant portion of the population are not aware of the threat posed by climate change especially the sector with the highest portion of our demography (Youth).

About The Youth group

Potential Leaders for Sustainable Future is a youth driven local NGO established 2018 with the aim of empowering and elevating young people especially young women and girls, and people with disabilities from poverty through basic skills training, community engagement, peace building and volunteerism initiatives as well as promoting productive health for peer youth in Liberia.

The group is also into advocacy for women and girls' rights, gender base violence issues and bridging the gap between youth and people with disabilities.

"Since our establishment, we have been working with youth, people with disabilities, young women and girls, creating the platform where young women and people living with disabilities can interact and discuss issues that affects them directly.

"In our efforts to continue our work in serving humanity, we were privilege to be one of the implementing partners of Action Aid Liberia, with support from Action aid Denmark on a Youth pilot project title" Youth Buzz, with focus on three thematic areas: Climate Justice, Public Accountability and Digital Campaigning. The project was launched in October 2020."

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