The youth of East Africa, through the Tanzania Youth Vision Association and the East African Community Students Union, held the first East African Regional Youth Summit on Climate Change from 25-27th July 2014, in Mwanza, Tanzania. With the support of the EAC Secretariat, the conference brought together over 100 participants mostly from secondary schools and institutions of higher learning.
East African Region Youth Summit is a platform that brings together young people from different parts of East African to address various challenges. The youth meet once every year to discuss issues such as the East African Community integration and how to take advantage of the opportunities that the integration presents. The summit started convening in August 2011.
The youth called for active engagement of young people in the EAC integration, and in climate change initiatives. At the end of the summit the youth resolved to hold the East African Community Green Day by planting tree seedlings in all Partner States annually. The youth believe the Green Day would increase connection and interaction amongst people in the region by addressing the challenge of climate change on the same day. The East African region is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change which include declining crops yields and increasing food insecurity, increased frequency and intensity of droughts and floods, among other problems.
In December 2014 the EAC Secretariat held the 1st EAC Youth Conference to bring the youth to the forefront in the EAC integration process and to address issues that limit their meaningful participation. In his speech, the Secretary General, Dr. Richard Sezibera said that as the leaders of tomorrow, “It is important for young people to be involved and to participate in the issues that will form an integral part of the future of this region.”
“It is important for young people to be involved and to participate in the issues that will form an integral part of the future of this region.” Dr. Richard Sezibera
With the support of Partner States and development partners, the EAC Secretariat will work with the youth to make the EAC Green Day and other innovative ideas a reality.