Young lawyers for climate change

The UNFCCC negotiation process has been noted as a long and arduous process that demands profound understanding of legal issues and clauses in the negotiating texts. Although African negotiators have made significant strides in buttressing their negotiating capacity, legal advice by climate change experts is still indispensable on the negotiating table. This indeed is even truer considering that national governments change their representatives from time to time.

In recognition of the foregoing support need, the ACPC established the young lawyers for climate change forum, with a view to building a cohort of young lawyers that are well versed with not only the legal issues pertinent to the UNFCCC process, but also the vulnerabilities and challenges the African communities and governments bear in building resilience and adequately responding to climate change.

This programme is hosted at the ACPC and welcomes applications from young African lawyers. To join the network, get in touch with the ACPC via

ClimDev-Africa youth programme

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time. If it is not properly managed there is a huge potential for the intergenerational transfer of the risks associated with it. The transfer of the burden across generations creates an immense issue of equity and fosters a sense of injustice by young and future generations as they stand to inherit the full burden of climate change issues, even though they were not fully responsibility for its creation.

Therefore, climate change solutions must be framed in a manner that outlines short, medium and long-term solutions which cater for present and future risks, thus narrowing the potential for risk transfer. Such a method requires an innovative approach, particularly regarding the composition of actors. Unfortunately, youths are currently sidelined in existing discussions on climate change responses at all levels of the process. While gender balance is timidly gaining recognition, similar considerations of youth issues have not yet manifested at any level of the discourse. This excludes not only an important clientele group, but also important actors.

The current structure of African demographic distribution leans towards a heavily youthful population, with those below the age of 30 constituting approximately 60% of the population. This provides Africa with a huge demographic dividend. If properly harnessed the youth are a critical human resource base, and an important tool in the resolution of Africa‟s climate change challenges. Capitalizing on the comparative advantages of African youths in terms of their skills, abilities and energy require their active engagement in critical programmes.

The Climate for Development in Africa (ClimDev-Africa) Programme was established following the request by African governments and Heads of State, with the mission to provide climate information services for climate change responses in Africa. Reaching out to all stakeholder groups is crucial for ClimDev-Africa in fulfilling its mandate. As indicated previously, African youths represent a critical demographic constituency to partner with. They are an important clientele group whose participation in climate solutions will have strong results in ensuring long-term sustainability.

African Union leaders solidified their commitment to Africa‟s youth participation in addressing climate change in 2014. At the 23rd African Union Summit of Heads of State, under the Malabo Declaration decision number Assembly/AU/Dec. 538(XXII), African Member States requested the following:

“Elaborate on the implementation of the Coordinator of the committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) Youth Programme on Climate Change (CYPCC) including Youth participation in climate change negotiations; and continental wide youth competition on climate change aspects to enhance youth engagement in climate change actions”.

The African Climate Policy Centre is organizing a workshop that will bring together exceptionally qualified and enthusiastic young Africans working in the area of climate change and sustainable development to establish the ClimDev-Africa Youth Platform (ACLYP). The Platform seeks to be a unique, transformative, intellectual and social platform that seeks to inspire and connect African youths to act against climate change. ACLYP aims to attract African youth from across the continent and the Diaspora and to partner with global youth groups as well as supporters and champions of youth programmes.

Through active participation in instructive dialogues, diplomatic negotiations, skills-development workshops and cultural exchanges, the platforms aims to integrate African youth into national and international climate negotiations and policy discussions. ACLYP hopes to cultivate and strengthen a new generation of principled and thoughtful leaders and agents of change for Africa and the world at large. The workshop will provide the opportunity to brainstorm on how African youth can meaningfully engage in climate change and sustainable development issues, through active involvement in the decision-making space.