The historic and memorable beginning of the journey of Youth Advisory Board of the Great Green Wall Initiative (GGWI)
By Abdulhamid Tahir Hamid (CEO of GECCI)
Environmental degradation and climate change are one of the critical defining issues of our time. Africa is one of the most vulnerable continents in terms of sustainable land management, restoration, and climate change, necessitating immediate action to mitigate the effects of environmental and climate change to ensure that the environment continues to benefit both the present and future generations.
By 2030, the ambition of the GGW Initiative is to restore 100 Million HA of Current degraded land, sequester 250 Million Tons of Carbon and create 10 million green jobs.
The GGW activities brought a range of environmental and socio-economic benefits, including carbon sequestration and GHG emissions savings, as well as revenue from income-generating activities and job creation.
Therefore, the Youth Advisory Board (YAB) is envisioned to be an inclusive, open, and transparent platform for African youths to engage in the implementation of the GGWI at all levels, including policy design, implementation, follow-up and review.
The YAB would champion youth-sensitive policy design, implementation, monitoring and review within the implementation of the GGWI at all levels.
It shall strive to create and nurture a network between African youths, youth-led and focused organizations and decision-makers in order to reinforce AUC’s mission of meaningful engagement of young people in sensitizing communities on sustainable land management, restoration and climate change resilience in the dry lands. The regional representation of youths reflects the desire to enhance youth involvement.
I will make significant contributions to the GGWI through my accumulated wealth of experience which I have gathered over a decade through my community initiative project, called GECCI (Global Environmental and Climate Change Initiative), which has remarkable global spread, especially in Africa. This can be realized in the following ways:
Youth Mobilization: Effective mobilization of youths across the five regions of Africa towards the attainment of the noble objectives of the GGWI.
Capacity Building Workshops: Facilitating intergenerational capacity building between youth practitioners and experienced SLM & R practitioners at different levels of engagement; and create avenues for the interaction of youths and youth organizations on GGWI to interact on relevant critical thematic areas such as Disaster Risk Reduction, Climate Change, Urbanization, and Sustainable Development, that are geared towards realizing the lofty objectives of the GGWI.
Public Awareness: Creating public awareness about the GGW across the world with a view to inspiring a global popular movement to deliver this urgent African-led dream by 2063.
Public Sensitization: Sensitization and mobilization of the public for the protection of humanity’s most precious natural assets, including fertile land, economic opportunities for the world’s youngest population, and food security. For example in the past 10 years, under my initiative, GECCI has been actively involved in creating awareness, engaging world youths in the sensitization and mobilization of the public on the imperatives of positive actions to reverse environmental pollution and global climate change towards achieving a net zero GHG emissions. We have been working with a number of partners across the globe including the United Nations (UN), especially on achieving SDGs related to environmental and climate change.
Inspiration of the Youths: We are hoping that the implementation of the AU YABGGWI would help to inspire world youths and demonstrate that the African Union Commission is serious about tackling environmental and climate change to protect the earth for future generations.
The AU YABGGWI provides for the establishment of the coordinators (Male and Female) in five regions of the African continent. I believe that this is a good development which will help to ensure the effective mobilization of CSOs, NGOs, and youths across five regions to achieve the noble goals of the GGWI.
We believe that this will also help to raise public awareness of the GGWI throughout the world, inspiring a global popular movement to bring about this urgent implementation. The next phase will be grassroots advocacy, sensitization, and mobilization of people in the rural communities through town hall meetings, dialogues, core theater presentations, and focus group discussions.
Finally, we believe that by working under the GGWI, we will be able to improve the much-desired synergies in the implementation of sustainable land Management, environmental and climate change on the African continent through the promotion of common understanding of the issues, coordination, and sharing of ideas among the various stakeholders.
May this noble initiative be prosperous and positively impactful on our great continent, Africa.