Within the framework of the African Climate Week 2023, that was held in Nairobi from 4-8 September, Impulsouth initiative convened the workshop “Exploring the power of south-south collaboration to enhance Capacities and Empowerment of Youth for Climate Action”. 

The event brought together a diverse range of partners and allies in Africa, with the aim of strengthening capacities on climate change, especially focused on universities, researchers and youth. The consultation served as a space for reflection and collaboration to identify key challenges and opportunities.

The activity was attended by more than twenty participants, including the Ugandan Ministry of Water and Environment, Agnes, IDRC, Jocob’s ladder Africa, UNFCCC, Planet Adapt, South-south north, ACTS, Cullinan Edge.

The consultation workshop highlighted several key challenges and opportunities  of efforts to develop and strengthen capacity for action and leadership in the face of the climate crisis. Some key points are highlighted below: 

Duplication of efforts vs. strategic collaboration:
Challenge: there is a growing supply of resources and capacity building programmes that often leads to duplication of efforts, with multiple actors focusing on the same target population.
Opportunity: Collaboration between organisations can create complementary programmes, avoiding repetition of core content and allowing for scalable learning.

Linking research with NDC implementation:
Challenge: the lack of connection between research and implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) weakens their relevance and access to financial resources.
Opportunity: Strengthen capacities for research and projects to align with NDCs and monitor their implementation, fostering the creation of NDC delivery laboratories as good practices.

Creating spaces for dialogue and collaboration:
Challenge: lack of networks and platforms for youth, universities and negotiators to dialogue and share projects and research.
Opportunity: Establish a network of universities offering climate training programmes for young people and organise regular events that encourage the exchange of ideas and experiences, fostering effective collaboration. 

Facilitating Access to Research for Entrepreneurs:
Challenge: the difficulty of accessing and understanding climate research and data for young entrepreneurs.
Opportunity: create platforms and university courses that not only provide information, but also teach how to use it to foster innovative solutions.

Clear goals and sustainability in spaces for dialogue:
Challenge: lack of clear objectives and lack of sustainability in dialogue spaces.
Opportunity: Establishing self-management mechanisms from the outset, along with the creation of training spaces in specific skills, such as climate finance, to maintain a strong and clear focus.

The workshop highlighted the relevance of South-South collaboration as a driver for capacity building and exchange of experiences and learning across continents. The identification of common challenges allowed, at the same time, to explore existing windows of opportunity to strengthen the capacities of youth and universities to influence the climate change agenda in Africa and Latin America.