Youth tipped on fight against climate change

Minister Germaine Kamayirese. / Courtesy

The Minister for Emergency Management (MINEMA), Germaine Kamayirese, has urged youth to play a central role in the move to fight climate change.

This was said on Monday, during the 8th Social Good Summit (SGS) that was held under the theme; “We only have one planet. At SGS, we’ll rally to save it”.

The summit organised by UNDP in partnership with MINEMA and Mount Kenya University Rwanda, attracted about 500 people mainly university students, and academia, leaders, technology experts, activists and members of the civil society among others.

According to EICV3 (Third Integrated Household Living Conditions Survey) by National Institute of Statistics Rwanda, the youth constitute 39 per cent of the entire population, making them the largest segment.

“As the youth, you are the strength of this nation. We expect your role in finding solutions to climate change, the government alone can’t accomplish anything without your efforts,” Kamayirese said in her opening remarks.

Minister Kamayirese noted that: "the youth should use technology, and innovate new methods of tackling climate change, which they can propose to the government for implementation."

Who faces the consequences?

“Everyone is subject to negative effects of climate change, those in Rwanda and elsewhere. So keep pushing for us to be climate resilient,” Kamayirese added.

The Resident Representative for UNDP Rwanda, Stephen Rodriques, also emphasized that Rwanda is not excluded in countries affected by climate change.

“Many people think that Brazil and its neighbouring states are the only ones affected. We can be far away from most affected countries, but with time we will also face the consequences if no measures are taken,” he told the youth.

How alarming is climate change in Rwanda?

As said by Kamayirese, climate change has led to wide-ranging impacts such as: severe flooding, landslides, windstorms and thunderstorms.

MINEMA’s statistics show that disasters killed 234 people between January to October, 2018.

In addition, 268 were injured, 15,264 houses were affected, 9,412 ha of crops destroyed and 797 livestock dead.

Assessment conducted by the MINEMA in 15 most affected districts, showed that these damages are worth more than Rwf 204 billion.

Youth pledge to join the race

“I and many others used to ignore climate change and its effects on mankind. From this summit, I’m going to be an eye of my community and start doing my part to curb climate change,” Thomas Mwesigye, a university student, told The New Times.

Mwesigye added that he is going to individually start applying small things in his ability, noting that this will make others follow the lead as well.

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