In the context of the Italy - UK partnership for the organization of COP26 (Glasgow, 1st -12th November 2021), on 14th September the Embassy of Italy in Pretoria hosted, at the Residence of the Italian Ambassador Paolo Cuculi, the seminar “Towards Milan and Glasgow, voices of South African Youths before COP26”, organized in collaboration with the British High Commission and the think tank “South African Institute of International Affairs”.
The event provided for the opportunity to hear, and better understand, the opinions of the three university students (Sandisile Mkhonza, Sibusiso Mazomba and Koaile Monaheng) who will represent South Africa and Lesotho at the “Youth4Climate” Conference, to be held in Milan from 28th until 30th September, at the end of which 400 young activists will be able to forward concrete proposals to fight climate change to the Ministers participating to the Milan preparatory meeting of COP26, Pre-COP.
Introducing the discussions, Ambassador Cuculi underlined the absolute relevance for Italy of young generations as crucial stakeholders in climate diplomacy, and the very innovative approach of “Youth4Climate”. In light of the alarming picture provided for in the latest UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, it is necessary for the International Community to undertake ambitious commitments to reach “climate neutrality” and net zero emission by 2050 – continued Ambassador Cuculi – recalling the action put in place by our Country, both domestically and in the multilateral fora, concerning Italian G20 Presidency’s priorities: environment, fight against climate change, energetic transition and “green finance”.
To fully involve young people in climate-change related policy making; to define an “African agenda” on climate and energy able to combine innovation and local traditions; to raise awareness on local communities that are more vulnerable and exposed to extreme events, such as drought, desertification and floods; to promote renewable sources while outdoing inefficient and polluting systems still based on coal-fired power plants; to support the use of new sustainable finance instruments, such as “green bonds”: these are some of the most interesting ideas which came up during the young activists’ presentations and the animated discussion that followed, which ended with the participants’ common appreciation for Italy’s choice to put young generations at the core of the international debate and of the process leading to COP26.