The Africa Climate Week (ACW2019) presented an avenue for African leaders and stakeholders to engage in thematic discussions under climate change tailored to the peculiar needs and opportunities in Africa. As part of the week-long event from18–22 March in Accra, youth representation and engagement was pivotal to the success of the event.

GAYO played significant roles during the event, including our the participation of our team as a panel at the high-level session on Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) financing and Circular Economy; moderating an Intergeneration Dialogue on Loss and Damage; as well as delivering youth position paper on climate action and NDC implementation in Africa.

GAYO also held a principal youth activity during the ACW2019, which is Power Shift 2019. The annual event is co-organized by Ghana Youth Environmental Movement (GYEM) and GAYO together with other local youth-led environmental organizations. As part of Power Shift 2019, GAYO delivered a climate action capacity building training for over 300 young people from across Africa. The training covered the basic terminologies and concepts used by scientists, policy-makers and scientists in climate change negotiations and climate action at large. Additionally, the training provided participants with the key information they need to be able to advocate for effective policy implementation while being able to demand accountability on NDC implementation.  

The event furthered with sessions from GYEM on Non-Violent Direct Action (NVDA) to train participants on how to organize non-violent advocacy campaigns in their respective countries. Following which there was a massive climate justice protest through the streets of North Ridge to the Accra International Conference Centre where government leaders and policy makers were engaged in the Africa Climate Week discussions on Thursday.

The Power Shift 2019 Climate Justice march was organized by GYEM, 350-Ghana Reducing Our Carbon (G-ROC), and Green Africa Youth Organization (GAYO) and led by Richard Pomeyie, Portia Adu Mensa and Joshua Amponsem respectively.

Once at the venue of the ACW2019, Richard Pomeyie, Coordinator of GYEM, petitioned stakeholders and called for climate justice and the provision of green jobs among other things. Joshua Amponsem, Executive Director of GAYO, stated that “it is urgent for governments to commence action on climate change adaptation and increase youth involvement in climate action processes from national to the community level. We have seen and heard of diverse strategies, it is about time we see an effective and accountable implementation of climate policies”.

The event was made possible through the partnership and participation of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) – a continental coalition of civil society organisations that mobilises civil society organisation led the Africa group; Africa Youth Initiative on Climate Change (AYICC); Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Organisational Development (CIKOD); and YOUNGO – the official youth constituency of the UNFCCC.

GAYO climaxed the ACW2019 with multiple youth engagements and pan-African partnerships on circular economy, disaster risk reduction, and clean energy partnerships.