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I Went to COP26 to Communicate Up for Africa’s Youth. I Had Massive Expectations, This Was the Actuality.

I Went to COP26 to Communicate Up for Africa’s Youth. I Had Massive Expectations, This Was the Actuality.

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Azeez Tobu Abubakar is a 23-year-old Nigerian local weather activist and a member of the International Citizen Fellowship Program, powered by BeyGOOD.

Right here he displays on his expertise rising up in a growing nation and seeing the influence of local weather change first-hand, and the way that formed his choice to grow to be a local weather change activist. He additionally displays on each his expectations and the truth of attending his first-ever UN Local weather Change Convention (COP), after travelling to Glasgow, Scotland, for this 12 months’s COP26

COP26, which ran from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12, has put local weather motion very a lot within the highlight, as an pressing international difficulty that requires quick and widespread motion. You’ll be able to be part of us in taking action here to defend the planet, by calling on governmental and company leaders to chop carbon emissions and ship local weather financing to these nations on the entrance strains of local weather change. 

You’ll be able to learn extra from the In My Personal Phrases collection here.


My title is Azeez Tobu Abubakar. I’m a gifted and resourceful 23-year-old from Nigeria with a background in civil engineering. I really like all types of art work and listening to pop music, and I imagine within the energy of younger individuals to positively change the world. 

I am notably pushed to assist probably the most susceptible teams within the local weather disaster, particularly in growing international locations throughout the African continent. For my closing 12 months thesis, I developed a sustainable design approach that redefines the best way hospital buildings are designed in Nigeria to make sure power effectivity.

In consequence, I used to be shortlisted for the BIM Africa Innovation Awards and earned a Pepperdine Faculty of Public Coverage Main Good Communities Scholarship and a US Green Building Council (USGBC) Green Associate Credential Scholarship for my work in advancing inexperienced buildings in Africa. I am additionally a part of the Global Citizen Fellowship Program, powered by BeyGOOD.

Rising up in Nigeria, the place there are numerous social points, has formed me into who I’m in the present day. Having to expertise how difficult it may be to outlive in a low-income neighborhood has made me relate extra to individuals who dwell in excessive poverty in the present day.

Shedding my dad at a really younger age was probably the most troublesome moments of my life. Though I used to be a child I felt how a lot it harm my mother. My mother turned a single dad or mum who needed to care for three different kids. It was not simple for my household, and it challenged me to make use of my abilities to create worth for myself and others. That is among the the reason why I genuinely get pleasure from lifting others from poverty via the donation of primary supplies and empowerment.

I’ve all the time been a curious and solutions-driven individual since my childhood. My mother used to say she beloved how I take advantage of Lego bricks to construct issues. I wasn’t precisely the brightest scholar at school however I requested a lot of questions and wished to be taught extra past what we had been taught at school, and I watched lots of science TV reveals as an adolescent.

5 years in the past, I used to be in a automotive with my brother. Rain was falling so closely I felt it could harm the automotive. That night, we had been caught in visitors on a bridge in Lagos State (Third Mainland bridge) when the wind obtained actually robust. The rain was torrential and it felt just like the water beneath was going to rise and flood the bridge, sweeping the automobiles and terrified individuals inside them off into the depths. 

It was horrifying. I may hear and really feel the panic of everybody stranded on the bridge, awaiting our destiny. The rain saved falling for 3 entire hours. My brother and I had been so scared. To place it merely, it was a traumatic expertise I wouldn’t need anybody to need to undergo. 

I began researching what may have triggered it, and I found it was one of many results of local weather change. It is usually evident that the local weather disaster is affecting younger individuals mentally. Local weather induced anxiousness is quickly rising, notably in probably the most susceptible communities the place individuals like myself dwell. 

IMOW_AzeezAbubakar_Nigeria_ImanTajikForGlobalCitizen-03.jpgAzeez Abubakar is photographed in Glasgow, Scotland throughout COP26 on Nov. 6, 2021.
Picture: Iman Tajik for International Citizen

Many individuals in my neighborhood, susceptible individuals who in some instances can barely put meals on the desk, and individuals who have contributed the least to inflicting local weather change, are probably the most affected. These are the individuals whose properties are broken, whose livelihoods are misplaced, triggered not simply by flooding but in addition by drought and desertification. 

But, governments of developed international locations are ignoring the size of the issue. They’ve carried out little or no to assist growing international locations that endure from climate-induced loss and harm. This isn’t honest. That is local weather injustice. As a result of this, I began advocating for ample finance for climate-induced loss and harm. Developed international locations should assist growing international locations adapt and construct resilience in opposition to the local weather disaster now!

I not too long ago attended COP26, my first time at a COP convention, in Glasgow, and I actually suppose that we maintain repeating the identical factor we have been saying for greater than twenty years now. What actually issues is the motion that world leaders take after they’ve made these commitments. 

I anticipated to see extra bold and daring commitments and pledges. I wished to see extra motion on climate-induced loss and harm, which has up to now not been prioritised in negotiations. I wished to see a larger sense of accountability and a collective mindset. I wished to see extra actions on recognising the best to a wholesome setting for everybody, in every single place. I wished to see extra motion taken to make sure a simply and inclusive transition to internet zero emissions that creates extra inexperienced jobs for probably the most susceptible individuals affected by the local weather disaster. 

I do know a number of activists main local weather motion in native communities from growing international locations in Africa who could not make it to COP26 for one motive or one other. A few of them had visa points whereas some others didn’t get accreditation and/or the funding to attend the summit. I really feel that COP26 was not inclusive sufficient. For COP to be inclusive, younger individuals of all backgrounds, particularly these affected by the local weather disaster should be supported to successfully take part within the summit.

Azeez Abubakar

Azeez Abubakar
Azeez Abuakar speaks to fellow contributors participating within the International Day of Motion for Local weather Justice in Glasgow, Scotland throughout COP26 on Nov. 6, 2021.

Iman Tajik for International Citizen

Azeez Abubakar

Azeez Abubakar
Members march within the International Day of Motion for Local weather Justice in Glasgow, Scotland throughout COP26 on Nov. 6, 2021.

Iman Tajik for International Citizen

Azeez Abubakar

Azeez Abubakar
Members march within the International Day of Motion for Local weather Justice in Glasgow, Scotland throughout COP26 on Nov. 6, 2021.

Iman Tajik for International Citizen

Azeez Abubakar

Azeez Abubakar
Members march within the International Day of Motion for Local weather Justice in Glasgow, Scotland throughout COP26 on Nov. 6, 2021.

Iman Tajik for International Citizen

Azeez Abubakar

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Azeez Abubakar
Azeez Abubakar contributors within the International Day of Motion for Local weather Justice in Glasgow, Scotland throughout COP26 on Nov. 6, 2021.

Iman Tajik for International Citizen

I need to see younger individuals have negotiating energy in UN Local weather Change Conferences. The selections world leaders make at these may imply make or break for a lot of communities in my nation and throughout Africa. That is our future! We should be the technology to dwell the impacts of local weather change if quick motion isn’t taken to handle it. Younger individuals particularly these residing in susceptible communities like myself are the worst affected by local weather change impacts. We perceive how difficult it’s and we’re higher positioned to proffer sustainable options throughout decision-making and policy-making.

For my continent, Africa, loss and harm is already costing tons of of billions of {dollars} annually, and in all International South international locations is anticipated to succeed in $300-600 billion yearly by 2030. Delivering a trillion {dollars} over 5 years would assist international locations within the International South to handle loss and harm on the present and future scale of the necessity. 

Rich governments should pledge new and extra public finance within the type of grants, not loans and never growth funds, as this isn’t a charity and it should attain affected international locations and communities as quickly as they’re impacted. Loss and harm finance should come along with adaptation and mitigation local weather finance already in place.

Moreover, the industries and firms most accountable for inflicting the local weather disaster should pay up for loss and harm. As a part of a simply transition away from fossil fuels, governments should tax fossil gas firms on each unit of fossil gas extracted, and use this cash to pay for loss and harm. Frontline communities dealing with the worst climate-induced loss and harm impacts should recuperate from the harm huge polluters have triggered and proceed to trigger in the present day.

Establishing a loss and harm financing facility that features new and further loss and harm financing is an effective start line.

I believe that everybody has a important function to play within the struggle in opposition to the local weather disaster. The latest IPCC report has confirmed that some modifications within the system can’t be reversed. Due to this fact, we should work collectively to finish this disaster. 

I imagine within the energy of strategic partnerships and significant collaboration. Leveraging the 4P (Folks, Personal, Public, Partnership) method creates a terrific alternative to holistically handle local weather change points. 

IMOW_AzeezAbubakar_Nigeria_ImanTajikForGlobalCitizen-18 copy.jpg“I imagine no motion is just too small to make a distinction,” writes Azeez Abubakar.
Picture: Iman Tajik for International Citizen

The federal government wants to make sure that individuals can rapidly recuperate from local weather change impacts by serving to them construct resilience and adaptation mechanisms. Massive firms could be helpful in offering funding within the type of grants to youth-led local weather initiatives. They will help create inexperienced jobs to make sure a simply and inclusive power transition for all. Small companies with assist from huge firms and the federal government can undertake clear power applied sciences resembling photo voltaic and biomass options. 

I imagine no motion is just too small to make a distinction. Due to this fact, people have an necessary function to play on this struggle. It begins by making extra eco-friendly life-style selections. People must rethink their life-style selections resembling consuming much less meat, utilizing a paper bag as a substitute of a plastic bag or biking to work within the morning as a substitute of boarding a taxi. All these actions may go a great distance in decreasing our carbon footprint.


Should you’re a author, activist, or simply have one thing to say, you may make submissions to International Citizen’s Contributing Writers Program by reaching out to contributors@globalcitizen.org.



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