Youth Forum Raises Awareness about Climate Change and Desertification in Niger

Published Date: 
Fri, 09/06/2019 - 20:00
Country: 
Niger

Niamey – Between 28 and 30 August, an international youth forum on desertification was organized in Niamey by the Youth Association for Environment and Civic Education in Niger (AJEEC - Niger), the National Agency of the Great Green Wall (ANGMV) and the Réseau Sahel Désertification, with support from IOM thanks to the Danish International Development Agency (Danida).

“The link between migration and environment is a historical one, and we must thus explicitly consider it at an institutional level,” said Barbara Rijks, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Niger, during her opening remarks. “All partners need to be involved in this arduous fight against desertification in Niger if we want to make a change.”

According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC), in 2017 alone, 189,000 people were internally displaced within Niger due to natural disasters, mainly caused by floods. However, these figures do not take into account the people who have been pushed from their homes for reasons such as desertification or groundwater salinization.

The two-day forum was a chance for various government counterparts involved in the fight against desertification and climate change to advocate for the inclusion of Niger onto the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

During the event, the stakeholders referred to the African initiative “The Great Green Wall” that aims to combat the adverse effects of climate change, land degradation and desertification that currently affect the Sahel region. The project aims to reforest a large area spanning from Dakar to Djibouti, measuring more than 7,000 km long and 15 km wide.

IOM’s mission in Niger intervened to present its initiatives related to climate resilience, sustainable development and migration. The speakers recalled the audience that environmental migration is the result of a variety of factors, ranging from socio-economic to demographic.

Several of the mission’s activities were presented, including the project “Initiatives for the Development of the Enterprise” (IDEE) which aims to helps sensitize youth on the creation of local work opportunities and entrepreneurial activities as alternatives to irregular migration, with support from the Italian Agency for Cooperation and Development (AICS).

The mission also presented its vocational trainings under the project funded by United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in Agadez, in the frame of IOM’s Migrant Resource and Response Mechanism. Through the project, migrants in transit and community members receive agricultural trainings.

A Niamey-based youth association dedicated to dealing with climate change and desertification took the stage and intervened during the discussions. “Youth are not only victims of desertification, but also key actors in the fight against it,” said Abdoulaye. “We need to foster youth engagement and invest in awareness-raising.”

As part of the forum’s activities, accomplished young business leaders engaged in activities related to green economy came to present their initiatives and argued for a central place for youth in green and sustainable enterprises.

At the end of the two days, the organizers invited all the participants on a field visit to the site of Sakey Koira Tegui in the region of Niamey, to show them the evolution of a site which had in previous years been threatened by desertification, but has now been reforested through the Great Green Wall programme.

For more information, please contact Monica Chiriac at IOM Niger at Tel: +227 8931 8764, Email: mchiriac@iom.int.