PreCOP26: AVSI and RES4Africa offer African youth the opportunity to have their say on innovation for the environment

Date 01.10.2021

A privileged channel for dialogue and awareness between African young innovators and high-level representatives was created by RES4Africa Foundation and AVSI Foundation, with the organizations of two side events in the framework of the PreCOP26 youth All4Climate Italy 2021- driving Ambition. Focused on renewables, climate change and the continent’s energy transition, the gatherings benefitted from the support of Enel Green Power, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Sustainable Energy for All (SEforAll).

The first event “African youth-led Summit: Climate Change and Renewable Energy”, held on the 28th of September, consisted in a joint discussion among young representatives of youth newtwork (Irena, Sea4all, Alliance for Rural Electrification, Aweef, SdG7 Youth Constituency, European Youth Energy Network, Technical Solidarity, Ethiopian Women in Energy, Rete Giovani, Open Africa Power Programme’ Alumni by Enel Foundation), aimed at offering an opportunity of mutual learning and exchange of ideas on hot topics related to the energy transition in Africa.

The results of the discussion were elaborated and modelled into a Final Youth Agenda (soon available on RES4Africa website), which was then introduced to high-level representatives from public and private sector on occasion of the second event, "Driving a just energy transition - leaving no youth behind", held today. Key recommendations from youth were centered around widening the access to quality education, democratizing clean energy markets, increasing youth's involvement in sustainable policies, enhancing inclusive strategy formulation while promoting policies that enable the stimulation of incubators’ growth, innovation hubs and access to facilitated financing.

In addition to the organising and supporting partners, the events benefitted from the participation of prestigious entities from the private and public sectors such as, among others, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the European Investment Bank, Intesa Sanpaolo, Siemens Gamesa, Enel Foundation, Schneider Electric, the Italian Embassy in Zambia, Uganda and Ethiopia, Nedbank, the European Commission Directorate-General for International Partnerships, Strathmore University and PwC.

"Today’s youth is called to undertake an unprecedented revolution, making real the energy transition and its positive outcomes in terms of jobs, wealth, health and equality. Giving young changemakers access to capacity building, policy dialogue and bottom-up initiatives is the only way to truly make them owners of their future." said Salvatore Bernabei, CEO of Enel Green Power and President of RES4Africa Foundation.

"Women’s empowerment and leadership in the energy sector could help accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy by promoting clean energy and more efficient energy use, as well as help to tackle energy poverty." stated Meseret Teklemariam Zemedkun, Head of the Energy Unit at the United Nations Environment Programme "The “just transition” should also include a gender perspective, to guarantee equal opportunities for both men and women in the workforce."

Finally Giampaolo Silvestri, Secretary General of AVSI Foundation, commented: "In order to tackle climate change, we must move jointly, as no stand-alone action will have an effective impact. We are called to reason in a new way and to think as a global «us», not anymore as single entities".