I was fortunate to take part in the 25th assembly of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP25) in Madrid, Spain from 2nd-13th December 2019. Together with my colleagues from CYNESA, Lucia from Cameroon, Alphonse from Kenya and our Executive Director, Allen Ottaro, we were among the over 27,000 climate activists, including organizations and Government representatives coming from all over the world to discuss key climate change actions that could be made towards the 1.5ºC temperature goal of the Paris Agreement.
We attended plenary events, participated in the Climate change strike as well as the Interfaith meeting which emphasized on the role of faith communities and faith based organizations/movements in influencing change in the society and climate action. I believe that Laudato Si’ should be taught to everyone because it gives a clear and understandable message on how people can cooperate with our mother nature and have a win-win situation for everyone. We are all under the same sky, and pollution from a single person no matter where they are affects us all.
We also spent time with Catholic youth from Europe and the Southern America which was a good experience as we shared how climate change is affecting our respective countries. In a number of developed countries, many people are not aware of what is happening in other parts of the world with regards to climate change and other environmental problems. Young people should therefore be included in decision making processes and especially youth coming from developing countries so as not to be left behind.
The COP25 President reminded the youth that they are needed to continue to put pressure on governments and policy makers and help in the implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) within their home countries as well as create awareness about the climate crisis and risk. This is the time for action and everyone has to engage in his/her own unique way, a way that is safe and effective.
“Waste recycling shall be the first to be considered, no waste shall be wasted, the tree you plant today isn’t the one you take shade under it, this earth is not our parents heritage, it is a loan from our children, it’s small thing that make difference, act for our people to be proud of our success”. These are the words full of wisdom that we got from the Rwandan Minister of Environment, Dr. Mujawamariya Jeanne d’Arc, to all Rwandan delegates that had attended COP25. She also reminded us that the Eastern part of Africa is currently facing heavy rains, flooding and landslides that caused deaths and displaced many other from their properties.
This being my first COP, it was good experience and opportunity to interact with other people from different parts of the world, sharing the same thoughts on climate change action, sharing experiences and networking.
Ntivuguruzwa Nuwuwanjye Olive,
CYNESA Rwanda Finance Manager.