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Shaping Africa’s climate future by nurturing young leaders for global action

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The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), Regional Programme Energy Security and Climate Change in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), in collaboration with Strathmore University, is proud to announce the 4th edition of the Climate Diplomacy Academy (CDA) conference in Nairobi, Kenya. This event is set to empower 80 young and aspiring climate change diplomats, negotiators, and policymakers from 21 countries across SSA, equipping them with essential skills and knowledge to drive effective climate action through diplomacy and international cooperation.

Empowering Africa’s Future Climate Leaders

The CDA is designed to deepen participants’ understanding of the multifaceted impacts of climate change and the pivotal role of climate diplomacy in addressing these challenges. By focusing on the interconnectivity between climate change, economy, migration, and human security, the Academy aims to prepare a new generation of leaders capable of navigating complex global negotiations and advocating for Africa’s unique needs and circumstances. Talented young individuals from across sub-Saharan Africa are given an opportunity to enhance their careers and gain insights into the intersection of climate science, policy processes, and practical application. This program enables participants to develop independent careers and gain exposure to various decision-making environments within the climate change framework, positioning them as future leaders.

At the launch ceremony, Dr. Eng. Festus K. Ng’eno, Principal Secretary, State Department for Environment and Climate Change, Kenya, called upon non-state actors and development partners to support learning and facilitate regional engagements to strengthen capacities on the critical role of climate diplomacy and international cooperation on climate action. Highlighting Kenya’s leadership in Africa’s climate diplomacy, Dr. Ng’eno emphasized the need for a common joint African position as expressed in the African Leaders’ Nairobi Declaration and Call to Action.

Ms. Anja Berretta, Head of Programme, KAS-Regional Programme Energy Security and Climate Change, emphasized the urgency of international cooperation to address the impacts of climate change. “The consequences of climate change can be felt everywhere. Due to a low level of resilience and economic reliance on rainfed agriculture in most sub-Saharan countries, the continent is especially vulnerable to unpredictable and extreme weather events. The fulfilment of the Paris Agreement to reduce global warming requires international cooperation, and every country needs to demonstrate its strong political commitment to honour the agreement.”

Prof. Izael Da Silva, Deputy Vice Chancellor – Research and Innovation at Strathmore University and the UNESCO Chair for Climate Change Resilience and Sustainability, expressed his support for establishing a network of future leaders. He highlighted the role of sustained policy-making and diplomatic relations across Sub-Saharan Africa in fostering these new leaders. “The participation of young individuals in the Climate Diplomacy Academy marks a significant step forward. I am proud that Strathmore University is a key partner in this initiative,” said Prof. Da Silva.

Addressing the Challenges of Climate Diplomacy

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) serves as the primary global policy framework addressing climate change. However, Africa faces significant challenges due to its limited capacity to engage effectively in international climate policy discussions, hindering the advancement of climate actions at both regional and national levels. The realm of climate diplomacy and negotiations is highly technical and complex, making it difficult for new negotiators to understand the intricate details of the process, even after several years of involvement. The Climate Diplomacy Academy serves to help bridge this gap, ensuring Africa’s future leaders are well-equipped to lead climate action initiatives globally.

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