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26.02.2009 General News

African Youth to Climb Kilimanjaro, Joining UN Campaign for Climate Change

By The Ghanaian Journal
African Youth to Climb Kilimanjaro, Joining UN Campaign for Climate Change

A group of young people from impoverished urban areas in Kenya, Tanzania and Ghana, will set off on a gruelling trek to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro under the United Nations banner to draw attention to the effects of climate change.

Ten underprivileged youth will join 25 other people from the private and public sectors in the fourth annual ascent to the “rooftop of Africa” organized by the Kilimanjaro Initiative, a Nairobi-based non-governmental organization (NGO), in partnership with the “Unite to Combat Climate Change” global campaign.

“This year's climb will highlight - with the melting ice of Mount Kilimanjaro as a backdrop - how global warming has a direct impact on the living conditions of individuals and communities throughout the world,” said Wilfred Lemke, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace.

“By raising awareness about the impact of global warming, including in populated urban areas, the Kilimanjaro Initiative will assist in the achievement of MDG [Millennium Development Goal] 7 of 'ensuring environmental sustainability,'” he added.

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) warned that rising temperatures, increased rainfall and extreme weather conditions will dramatically change where and how people live in cities.

The change in climate does untold damage to economic and public infrastructure and stretches the ability of urban centres to accommodate displaced populations, leading to unemployment, deteriorating educational facilities, inadequate health care systems and a possible rise in crime in urban centres, according to the agency.

At the top of Kilimanjaro, the group will use a satellite telephone to call Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, who is currently on the South African leg of a tour that will take him to Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Egypt.

Mr. Ban is also due to fly over the receding ice cap of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak, on his way to the city of Arusha to visit the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.