Kenyan Youth Lead Discussion on Climate Change Amendments Bill, 2023, Advocating for Youth-Centric Provisions and Enhanced Public Participation
Kenyan youth actively engaged in the field of climate change recently organized a roundtable discussion centered around the Climate Change Amendments Bill, 2023. The Government of Kenya issued a call for comments, proposals, and recommendations from the public and interest groups regarding the amendments to the Climate Change Act of 2016, which is an ongoing process. Youth Senate Kenya (YSK), as the downstream implementing partner for the African Youth Commission (AYC) within the African Activists for Climate Justice (AACJ) Project, played a key role in organizing this roundtable. The event took place on May 4, 2023, at the Royal Tulips Canaan Hotel, and aimed to gather a diverse group of young individuals who share a common interest in addressing climate change. Participants included youth organization founders and individuals involved in the Carbon market, specifically invited to provide guidance on the proposed amendments to the Carbon Markets section.
During the discussion, several important issues were raised. One of the key concerns highlighted was the lack of clauses specifically addressing the interests of the youth, except for the proposal to include them in the climate change council. Although this idea was well-received, there was a notable absence of clear criteria for selecting youth representatives based on their capacity, which sparked considerable interest among attendees. Another significant topic focused on the inclusion of youth-specific provisions within the proposed amendments concerning carbon markets. Given that young people constitute a significant portion of those actively engaged in climate response work in Kenya, it was deemed crucial to clearly outline how their interests would be taken into account.
Another area of discussion revolved around the distinction between the roles of community, county, and national governments in addressing climate change. Participants felt that the proposals put forth by the Climate Change Amendment Bill of 2023 lacked clarity in terms of how the interests of local communities would be safeguarded. Of particular concern was the proposed deletion of the schedule involving public participation, as the youth voiced opposition to this change. They highlighted that public participation is explicitly enshrined in the Constitution of Kenya 2010 and should be upheld.
Looking ahead, the meeting reached a consensus to establish a small team tasked with finalizing the recommendations generated during the roundtable. This team will work closely with legal experts while welcoming additional input from youth who were unable to attend the meeting. The outcome will be a memorandum presenting the collective viewpoints, prepared in a format and language acceptable to the government, which will be submitted to the ministry for consideration. Furthermore, the participants agreed to sustain their engagement by forming a WhatsApp group, enabling them to maintain the momentum and continue collaborating effectively.