“Let me first of all congratulate all of you, the youths of Africa represented here and particularly those of you engaged in this noble course of doing something about climate change.
“Your persistence to be heard and catered for is exemplary, and gives us hope that the devastating impacts of climate change on future generations can be ameliorated.”
This was said by the Youth and Sports Minister, Hon. Alieu K. Jammeh, who was speaking at the African Youth Day at COP21, held in Paris, France, on 11 December 2015.
He continued: “I therefore encourage you to keep up with the momentum, and ask that duty bearers/policy makers/leaders, wherever they are and at whatever level they may be, continue to provide for and protect the welfare of the youths.
“We see requests of the youths and hear their voices crying out loudly that artificial factors leading our world to certain catastrophe be reversed.
“In fact, all of us, the rich and the poor, the developed and developing countries, are living the realities of climate change.
“For example, the water shortage in Namibia, drought in Zimbabwe, floods in Bangladesh, salt water intrusion in Marshall Islands and the likelihood of its entire submersion by rising sea levels, crop failures due to irregular rains in our countries, heat waves in Australia, deafening hurricanes in America, the political upheavals in our countries, the migration crisis, threat to our coastal cities, etc, are all correlated to climate change variability, directly or indirectly caused by the actions of man and sometimes as a result of our insatiable greed for more wealth, and more wealth at the expense of others.
“However, not all is lost as every now and then the world comes together to prescribe solutions.
“This year we hope, here in Paris, answers to the difficult questions of climate financing for adaptation and livelihood enhancement and meaningful emission reduction can be provided.
“In The Gambia, we have rolled out innovative platforms in agriculture and through a demonstration scheme that is harnessing solar energy with the intention to minimised the negative impacts of climate change on our environment, as well as providing opportunities for entrepreneurship for youth empowerment.
For example, this year, the government came up with an initiative called “The Gambia Songhai Initiative”, to address the triple challenges of youth employment, climate change and food security.
The initiative was designed as a broad, multi-partnership programme to promote access to youths, but also men and women, to appropriate agribusiness entrepreneurial, leadership and management skills required for effective participation in the creation of wealth.
“Furthermore, the government through the Ministry of Youth, continues to position the youths in the middle of our discourse on development, in recognition of their demographic weight and ever-increasing ingenuity inclined to spurring innovation and creativity.
”In effect, we are called upon to intensify efforts on understanding climate change, mitigation and adaptation strategies, demystify the notion of climate change and make people understand its linkages to food insecurity, disaster, unemployment and poverty.”