Sunday, 11 September 2011

Youth and Climate Change for livelihood sustainability

A large percentage of the world’s population today comprises of young people with about 2.2 billion people being less than 18 years old. In this era of global climate change, 85% of these 2.2 billion young people are a resource that can be used to change the society towards reduction of climate change for sustainability. Furthermore, the young people can play a key role in dealing with all the difficulties that are facing humanity.

One thing that sets the young people apart from the rest of the population is their enthusiasm, imagination, talent and energy. The young people are more likely to get involved in local actions, play the role of effective communicators within their communities and participate in international actions against climate change and un-sustainability. For this reason FAO and other international organizations have been working together to come up with activities and mechanisms that enhance awareness, and access to relevant knowledge and information among the youth. The main aim of these efforts is to encourage participation of young people in actions relating to environmental sustainability and social development issues such as global warming.

The Red Cross and Red Crescent has for a long time been on the forefront in involving the young people in dealing with the humanitarian consequences of global warming for sustainability.  For instance in 2009, the Red Cross organized the Youth on the Move convention in Solferino which had climate change as one of the main themes. During the convention, a large number of youth and teenagers received training from climate change experts encouraging livelihoods sustainability. Since the conclusion of this convention, there has been evidence of increased youth involvement in activities relating to climate change and sustainability.

In strategy 2020, the Red Cross reaffirms that it is committed to address climate change impacts on human livelihoods especially the young people who make up the larger proportion of the population and the hope of tomorrow. Strategic aim of strategy 2020 is geared towards ensuring that the public adopts an environmentally sustainable lifestyle. This will lead to reduction of green house gases emissions. Similarly, in Strategy 2020, the IFRC reaffirms its commitment to ensuring that youth continue to volunteer and develop strong Red Cross and Red Crescent societies.  This will build a strong culture of voluntary service among the youth encouraging sustainability and youth participation in community and national affairs.