By Kristin Engel
Cape Town – Three young students from South Africa concerned about climate change and the environment are heading to Milan to participate in the Youth4Climate Driving Ambition event from September 28 to 30.
The trio will put forward ideas and concrete proposals on some of the most pressing issues on the climate agenda.
UCT students Koaile Monaheng and Sibusiso Mazomba, together with Wits student Sandisile Mkhonza, left for Milan ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (Cop26) in Glasgow later this year.
Mazomba said South Africa was widely known as one the most unequal countries in the world and climate change threatened to exacerbate the socio-economic issues that it currently faced.
It was thus essential to look at climate change through an intersectional lens to foster climate resilience in communities and ensure that poor and marginalised groups did not become more marginalised by climate change.
“My aim is to bring voices of grassroots and marginalised communities to the decision-making table at Cop. Marginalised communities such as young people and women in the global south will bear the brunt of the impacts of climate change if we do not act with greater urgency fostered by inclusive and intersectional climate discourse,” said Mazomba.
Hailing from Lesotho, Monaheng said his Master’s focus was on climate governance and he looked forward to making meaningful contributions and connections during this event, especially since developed countries in the north often dominated the climate conversation – despite contributing the most towards global warming – while those in the south contributed the least but were most affected by this crisis.
Mkhonza said one of the key issues they would be discussing at the summit was the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions – especially for South Africa as it was heavily reliant on coal-climate adaptation and climate finance (where Mkhosa’s expertise lies).
The group said they looked forward to engaging with other youth climate advocates, hearing about the work they do and finding out how it could possibly be implemented in the South African context.