Youth Rally for Enhanced Adaptation Finance in Africa: A Call to Secure the Future

Nairobi, Kenya, 4th September 2023 -  Former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, now the chairperson of the Global Center on Adaptation, opened a high-level intergenerational dialogue  focused on driving climate adaptation solutions and job creation in Africa. This event, a part of the ongoing Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi, took place at the Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies, uniting young activists from across the continent under the banner Youth4Adaptation. 

Ban Ki-moon, underscored the global importance of Africa's youth climate leadership. He emphasized that giving young people real influence in global affairs will pave the way for a better future, as they are the ones bearing the brunt of climate change

Professor Kiama, Vice Chancellor warmly welcomed participants to the Africa Intergenerational Dialogue, emphasizing the critical importance of involving youth voices in addressing the climate crisis. He cited the proverb, "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together," and recognized the youth as active contributors and agents of change. Furthermore, he announced an exciting partnership with the University of Groningen on climate adaptation governance and called for collaboration to empower youth as change-makers in mitigating and adapting to climate change.

The leaders present including Graça Michel -Former First Lady of South Africa discussed the significance of nurturing youth leadership, creating adaptation-related job opportunities, and integrating climate adaptation education and training into mainstream curricula.

Professor Patrick Verkooijen, CEO of the Global Center on Adaptation, stressed that the adaptation agenda is intrinsically linked to job creation and can protect communities from climate change impacts when executed correctly. He revealed that research indicates a tenfold increase in climate adaptation finance to Africa, reaching over US$100 billion per year by 2035. At a minimum, countries must fulfill the promise made at COP26 to double adaptation finance, transforming climate adaptation into a new growth agenda for the continent.

In response to this call, Dr. Adesina Akinwumi, President of the African Development Bank, announced a substantial investment of USD$1 billion into the YouthAdapt program. YouthAdapt is an annual competition and awards program aimed at supporting youth-led enterprises, with a focus on women-led ventures, to foster sustainable job creation through innovation in climate change adaptation and resilience.

Highlighting the vital role of education and capacity-building in adaptation action, Ban Ki-moon and Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, Norway's Minister of International Development, launched the Toolkit for Youth on Adaptation & Leadership. This toolkit, developed by GCA and the CARE Climate Justice Center, equips young people with the knowledge and skills needed for climate adaptation policy engagement and advocacy. The Toolkit, created in collaboration with 40 youth organizations across multiple African nations, is available in English, French, and Arabic, with plans for wider distribution.

Moreover, Professor Patrick Verkooijen inaugurated the first Kenyan Masterclass on Climate Resilient Public-Private Partnership Infrastructure, in partnership with the University of Nairobi. This initiative aims to enhance the capacity of infrastructure practitioners in Kenya and supports the National Roadmap for Infrastructure Resilience, a critical component of the Government of Kenya National Adaptation Plan.

The Intergenerational Dialogue stressed the significance of adopting a whole-of-society approach, emphasizing the importance of locally-led adaptation. Peris Saleh, representing the community from Mukuru, an informal settlement in Nairobi, called on leaders to prioritize the needs of the poor and collaborate to implement their community's adaptation plan to combat heatwaves and floods.