By Charity Phoebe Kilei
Climate change poses a significant global challenge with discussion and preparations for the conference of parties COP 28 which be taking place in the United Arab Emirates
This comes at a time when a considerable portion of the Kenyan population, particularly marginalized communities, struggle to comprehend the intricacies and benefits of these discussions.
Even though public participation is promoted by stakeholders to involve younger generations who are often excluded from negotiation tables, the majority of the youth find it challenging to engage in such conversations allaying fears over technical terms and jargon related to climate change.
The marginalized communities have constantly felt that these discussions primarily target the elite, who they say understand the climate adaptation and resilience complexities.
Beatrice Akinyi, a resident of Nairobi, expressed her perspective, stating, “I’m not very interested in climate change discussion because I feel lost in the conversation.”
Although she noted that she genuinely cares about the climate and the environment because of its resultant effects.
“I am affected by it in some way, but the entire discussion is too complex.” She averred.
Akinyi is however hopeful that the leaders and representatives will utilize the COP 28 conference to lobby for greater support towards combating the adverse resultant effects of climate change.
Brian Maube- another resident of Nairobi- on his part, shares similar sentiments.
He believes that many people avoid participating for fear that their input could turn out to be insignificant.
He is equally hopeful that their fate will be properly handled by the few representatives, whom he fearlessly reiterated may not effectively lobby in the much-awaited conference.
Maube emphasizes the importance of greater representation of young people in these discussion and decision-making
“I believe that once we have enough representation as marginalized groups, youths included, then all our problems will not remain unresolved. We need to be incorporated into those negotiation lobbies going forward,” Maube said.
According to him, the youths are part of the larger group affected by climate change issues.
This comes even as various private sectors and government organizations are lobbying on various inclusion principles to cater to minority groups.
Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) Kenya, has rolled out efforts to educate and sensitize marginalized communities through conferences and training pre-COP28.
The outstanding, all-inclusive organization working in partnership with Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung (FES) Kenya, Dorcas Aid International – Kenya, Africa Youth Initiative on Climate Change and Hivos; through the Voices for Just Climate Action project (VCA), believes that there is still a significant gap in including the marginalized in governance, leadership, policy-making, and regulatory processes.