We know that many of the solutions to combating climate change involve using climate restorative technologies, improving climate and environmental literacy, promoting citizen science, and ensuring equity and social justice. Central to achieving this is ensuring that local and national policies address the climate crisis and that action plans are in place down to the local level.
Last year, Youth@SAIIA worked with the Global Change Institute and the City of Johannesburg to develop a Johannesburg Youth Climate Action Plan (JYCAP), a policy and action-plan document that aims to inspire local climate action that is equitable, relevant and founded in intersectionality. Despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 global health pandemic, young people participated in virtual workshops and numerous youth-led drafting and writing sessions to create a document that was fully written and developed by young people between the ages of 13-25 from across the City. We are excited to announce that the Joburg YCAP is now being included in the City of Johannesburg’s Climate Action Plan (CAP), set to be released soon.
Building on this outcome, hundreds of young people from all over South Africa and representing various organisations, schools, university groups and communities are now working to develop a National Youth Climate Action Plan, that can serve as a framework to inspire youth-led action across the country. The National YCAP will serve as a guide for youth, decision-makers, civil society, business, academia, and other stakeholders. It is also our goal to expand networks of people contributing to a sustainable, just, inclusive and climate resilient future for all. This youth-driven process aims to unite young people to consolidate their ideas into a unique living document that will include policy recommendations, an implementation plan, youth-led research, and stories. By engaging in this important process, not only are we making the voices of young people heard in the decision-making hallways, we are also building the capacity of a new generation to assume policymaking and leadership roles.
We invite all youth organisations, schools, clubs, societies, and individual South African youth between the ages of 13-25 to do something meaningful this Earth Day by contributing to the National YCAP process. We have the capacity to shape and inform the policies of our government – don’t miss out on this opportunity to make your voice heard.