SACAN is part of the Climate Action Network (CAN), a worldwide network of over 1300 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in over 130 countries / Blog  / 2023  / Youth Climate Champions Position Paper: 

Youth Climate Champions Position Paper:

Exploring Meaningful Youth Engagement in South African Climate Policy 


The Climate Ambition to Accountability Project is a partnership between WWF South Africa, Institute for Economic Justice and Climate Action Network South Africa.The project aims to build a solid cross-cutting civil society organisations (CSO) community and enhance South African CSOs and youth’s capacity, enabling them to effectively participate in climate change governance to ensure enhanced climate policy ambition, implementation, and accountability. This position paper has been led by the project’s Youth Climate Champions programme.

The Youth Climate Champions (YCC) Programme is a platform that seeks to capacitate, support, and facilitate collaboration amongst youth and youth organisations in South Africa addressing climate change. Through sector-wide activities, guided-by youth, YCC prioritises partnerships amongst youth and youth organisations for the common cause of climate action. The outcome of this programme will be youth who are better positioned to influence and make material contributions towards South Africa’s climate policy and processes. The YCC programme established a theme of moving “Beyond tokenism” at their inaugural Intergenerational Dialogue in 2022, aiming to address the marginalisation of young people in climate policy spaces. This theme served as the foundation for the programme’s work throughout the year. The program’s initiatives in 2022, such as a podcast, a boot camp, and internships, were designed to enhance youth participation and capacity-building in climate action, ultimately striving to improve climate policy and ambition in South Africa.

This position paper is a living document. It is a combination of inputs from the 2022 YCC Bootcamp delegates who are lead authors, and the inputs received from a workshop which was held in February 2023 to establish the calls to action.

By raising questions about overcoming the challenges that hinder youth engagement, the paper advocates for a more inclusive and equitable decision-making process that reflects the diverse needs and concerns of all those in South Africa, including youth. Ultimately, this paper aims to foster a conversation about prioritising youth engagement in climate policy processes and empowering young people to play a significant role in shaping the future of our planet.

Publisher: The Climate Ambition to Accountability Project
Lead Authors: Nathma Samie, Fani Miya, Ziyanda Makalo, Vümboni Msimango, Mashie Mphahlele, Boikanyo Gopane, Kaisha Mokwatlo, Zodumo Radebe
Project Lead: Moliehi Mafantiri
Project Support: Ivanna Katz
Editors: Youth Climate Champions Programme Secretariat
Innocentia Modau, Hlengiwe Radebe, Ivanna Katz, Pato Kelesitse, Andrew Bennie, Yasirah Madhi, Moliehi Mafantiri
Reviewed by: Courtney Morgan


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