Nigeria

COP26: Young people must have a seat in all policy debates – Senator Saraki

[File] Nigeria's Senate leader, Bukola Saraki, announces that he would stand to become the main opposition candidate in 2019's presidential elections in Abuja, Nigeria, August 30, 2018. REUTERS-Afolabi Sotunde

Against the backdrop of the recently concluded United Nations Climate Change Conference, commonly referred to as #COP26, in Glasgow, Scotland, a former President of the Senate, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has emphasised the importance of young people contributions to crucial policy debates and discussions.

While receiving 28-year old international development campaigner and climate change advocate, Mr Abideen Olasupo, whose attendance of COP26 was supported through Saraki’s Abubakar Bukola Saraki Foundation, the former governor of Kwara State emphasised that important discussions like the climate change debate required the input of more young people because they are the ones that have the ideas and innovative approaches to confront the issue.

Saraki in a statement signed by his Digital Communications Aide, Olu Onemola, on Wednesday, said: “Climate change is happening now, but it is also about the future of our nation and the world. This is why, if it is about the future that young people will inherit, then, it goes without saying that more young people must be part of the conversation.

“More young people like yourself should have attended COP26 to contribute to the discussions. However, I am happy that our foundation was able to support your advocacy efforts.

“Moving forward, we need to do more on climate education. People need to understand that this is a real issue that is affecting the lives of ordinary people.

“This is why policymakers across the nation and the world need to sit down and make realistic decisions that will combat this problem here in Nigeria. A lot of the pronouncements need to be supported by policy and legislation here at home. If you remember, in the 8th Senate, we passed a Climate Change Bill that was never signed into law,” Saraki, who served as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology said.

“We need to start looking at political parties including driving manifestos to address issues of climate change,” Olasupo, who is an International Development Consultant and Global Goals Youth Power Panel Member with Restless Development and Project Everyone in the United Kingdom said, “Young people need to start asking the right questions.”

Saraki, who alongside world leaders like Hillary Clinton and former UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, served on the Leadership Council of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves in the 7th National Assembly, has over the years campaigned for clean and efficient energy solutions to reduce Nigeria’s carbon levels and create a thriving local market for clean and efficient household cooking solutions.

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