On 24th September 2015, the Catholic Youth Network for Environmental Sustainability in Africa (CYNESA) joined other organizations and citizens around the world in the #LightTheWay celebrations to mark the introduction of the Sustainable Development Goals as Global Goals.
#LightTheWay is an initiative of Action/2015, a movement bringing together hundreds of organizations around the world. Citizens around the world came together to #LightTheWay and call on world leaders to take serious action that would result to change with the uptake of the Sustainable Development goals (SDGs). This event took place just one day before the leaders’ meeting in New York during which the SDGs were to be adopted as the new Global Goals.
Action 2015/Kenya which CYNESA is a member of, is a campaign bringing together the government, various development partners, artists, representatives of different organizations and societies and other citizens to address issues of climate change, poverty and inequalities in Kenya. 2015 is a pivotal year in development, considering that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) timeline ends in 2015 giving way to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are to guide the global development agenda moving forward. By coming together on the days just before the UN General Assembly (UNGA), the Action 2015 team showed the world leaders just how many people want action so as to push for them to make bold commitments at the UNGA to implement the Goals. The leaders were also urged to use the COP21 later in Paris to start to turn these plans into a reality.
In Nairobi, the #LightTheWay Event was held at the symbolic Freedom Corner in Uhuru Park. Part of the day’s celebrations included a march by participants to and from parliament, carrying banners with messages about our planet, a call to action for sustainable development and symbols of light. Back at Uhuru Park, there was also lots of entertainment from various artistes for the participants to learn from and have fun while at it. A number of community and national champions talked about the importance of the Global Goals to Kenya.
CYNESA was represented at the event by two members, Leila Butoyi (the CYNESA Burundi country Coordinator and the Coordinator for the GCCM Campaigns Coordinator for Africa and France) and Wangechi Mugo, a core team member of CYNESA Kenya. The members had two agendas at the event: to represent CYNESA at the #LightTheWay celebrations and to collect signatures for the GCCM petition.
While the celebrations went on, the CYNESA team mingled extensively with participants, explaining the reason for the petition drive and collecting signatures from them. The GCCM network is seeking 1 million signatures to present to world leaders in December at the Paris climate negotiations, where they are expected to finalize and sign a potential agreement for international action to address climate change. The petition will be delivered to world calls who it asks to address climate change and cut carbon emissions. The event’s emcee made an announcement introducing CYNESA’s members and asking the participants to sign the petition as the event progressed. By 7 pm, a total of 250 signatures had been signed.
The evening ended with a dazzling light show during which participants led by representatives of different ACTION 2015 member organizations lit candles and then lit up the symbolic ‘GLOBAL GOALS’. CYNESA was represented on stage by Leila. CYNESA looks forward to further cooperation with development partners in order to make the global goals an achievable reality going forth!
Leila Butoyi and Wangechi Mugo, CYNESA.