Over 70 young leaders from across the African continent gathered at the Movenpick Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, from August 16 to 17, 2023, for an African Youth Workshop focused on understanding the intricate interplay between migration, environment, and climate change. Representing Ghana, four dynamic and passionate youth leaders lent their voices to this crucial conversation, advocating for proactive measures to address the challenges of climate-induced mobility.
Hosted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), a key agency within the United Nations, the workshop aimed to foster greater awareness and knowledge about the migration-environment nexus. The IOM's commitment to empowering young people and involving them in policy-making decisions was evident as participants contributed to refining key messages on human mobility within the context of climate change.
The workshop was a platform to expand upon the Kampala Declaration on Migration, Environment, and Climate Change (KDMECC). Originating in the East and Horn of Africa (EHoA), the declaration was conceived to address the implications of climate-induced mobility. However, recognizing that climate challenges are not confined to a single region, the declaration was recalibrated to encompass the wider African context.
Ghana, like many other African nations, grapples with the effects of climate change on its population and environment. Extreme weather events have brought about floods, landslides, and droughts, imperilling human lives, livelihoods, and infrastructure. Such challenges have prompted rural-urban migration, creating additional strain on cities and leaving vulnerable populations behind.
Nadia Owusu, Zipporah Kyerewah Amankwah, Darius Saviour Ankamah, and Bismark Oppong were the fervent voices representing Ghana in this pivotal gathering. They eloquently conveyed the concerns and aspirations of Ghanaian youth, calling for inclusive policy formulation, implementation, and monitoring. Their plea for African leaders to heed their voices, amplify the Kampala Declaration, and engage young people at all stages of policy-making reflects the urgency of the issue.
As the workshop concluded, it was evident that the collective determination of these young leaders resonated across the African continent. Their dedication to influencing change, ensuring the well-being of vulnerable communities, and paving the way for sustainable development highlighted the vital role that youth play in shaping the future of their nations.
In a world facing unprecedented environmental challenges, the contribution of young leaders like those from Ghana serves as a beacon of hope. Their actions echo the sentiment that tackling climate change and migration demands collaboration, innovation, and meaningful engagement. As the African Youth Workshop on Climate Mobility drew to a close, it left behind not just a declaration, but also a renewed sense of purpose – a shared commitment to safeguarding our planet and its people for generations to come.