We representatives of the Youth in Natural Resources and Environmental Governance (Youth-NREG) Platform;
- Having reflected on the governance of the natural resources and environment sector from the youth perspective;
- Acknowledging the importance of natural resources in our national development;
- Inspired by important role of young people in the governance of the natural resources and environmental sector
- At our general meeting in December 2019 in Accra discussed and agreed to issue a communique to share our views.
The National Youth Policy of Ghana has provision to undertake the following practical approaches:
· make the youth active participants in the protection, preservation, and improvement of the environment;
· provide alternative livelihood programs for the youth who engage in negative practices that affect the environment.
· provide regular rewards for young people whose ideas and activities ensure better understanding, appreciation and preservation of their local environment.
Government admits in the policy that “the Youth all over the world have been acknowledged as an important human resource with the potential to contribute significantly to national development and therefore must be accorded such recognition and be involved in national development by government and other stakeholders”.
While we commend government for the efforts made so far, we note that, there still remain key challenges that need to be addressed such as incomplete governance structure, fragmented youth-oriented interventions and limited youth participation in the decision making process in the governance of the NRE sector in spite of national and international obligations. Indeed, there is no Legislative Instrument to operationalise the National Youth Authority Act, 2016 (ACT 939) aside just making provision for the creation of a Youth Federation at district, regional and national levels. The incomplete governance structure arguably explains why the various national environmental policies and programmes have very little space or provision for active youth participation in the conceptualization, planning and implementation processes.
We are therefore reminding the National Youth Authority (NYA) of its mission to wit, “we exist to provide relevant and conducive environment that defines and supports the implementation of effective frontline youth empowerment practices, focusing on young people’s participation in socio-economic and political development whilst facilitating private and third sector provider investments in youth empowerment”. Ultimately, we also call upon President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo being the Co-chair of the Eminent Group of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Advocates to exemplify leadership in the adherence of Leave No One Behind principle of Agenda 2030 by prioritising and fast-tracking actions for active youth inclusion in the governance of the NRE sector. Indeed, the objective for youth development under the medium term national development policy framework (2018-2021) is to create opportunities for effective and positive youth participation in national socio-economic development and political governance as noted in Ghana’s Voluntary National Review (VNR) on the SDGs.
Therefore, as a youth platform focused on NRE issues, we are submitting the following actions within the NRE thematic areas to help address the situation.
· While we applaud the Youth in Afforestation programme, we are however worried about the unpaid or delays in paying the youth promptly for their services.
· Government should fast track the tree tenure benefit sharing reforms to serve as incentives for Youth in Agriculture programme to nurture and keep trees on their farms
· Redirect the energies of young people engaged in illegal mining into a well regulated Community Mining project.
· Organise a community dialogue to engage the youth on appropriate ways of dealing with mining problems.
· Provide lucrative alternative source of livelihood for the youth affected by the galamsey crises where skills development should be community specific.
· Formalised youth inclusion in national climate programmes such as Ghana’s Nationally Determined Contributions (Gh-NDCs) and National Adaptation Plan (NAP).
· In line with climate finance, it is important to provide financial support to young entrepreneurs and youth groups with climate innovative ideas.
Water and Sanitation Sector
· Provide the enabling environment for young people to pursue recycling as a business venture.
· Build the capacity of young people to help protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes in line with SDG 6.
· Provide adequate sanitation and hygiene particularly in schools so as to cut down on the incidence of absenteeism among girls.
· Urgently work towards achievement of SDG 14 indicator 14.4: To contribute to by the end of 2020; effectively regulate harvesting, and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and destructive fishing practices. This will sustain the livelihood of Young fishers
· Build the capacity of young people as relevant actors in sustainable management and protecting of marine and coastal ecosystems as well as reduction in marine pollution of all kinds.
Oil and Gas Sector
· Make provision for youth inclusion in the work of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) as interested parties in the management of the oil revenues.
· Review the Free Senior High School policy annually to ensure that quality is not sacrificed for the sheer numbers.
· Build the skills capacity of young people to enable their active participation in the oil and gas sector.
We commit as a youth platform to:
· Mobilise and support state and other non-state actors with our abilities towards the governance of the NRE sector.
· Share ideas to inform and enrich policy development and/or reviews of relevant policies in the NRE sector.
The Youth in Natural Resources and Environmental Governance (Youth-NREG) Platform provides space for learning and sharing among young people working on different environmental actions as well as create opportunity for joint advocacy. The ultimate aim is to promote youth inclusion in the governance of the Natural Resources and Environmental sector.
The Platform is convened by the Strategic Youth Network for Development (SYND).
Platform Lead: Chibeze Ezekiel
Mobile #: +233244967931
Email address: [email protected]
Communications Lead: Evelyn Addor
Email: [email protected]