Hope in innovation – addressing climate action through the entrepreneurial ambition of our youth

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Poverty, unemployment, and inequality are some of the greatest  challenges of our time. This is exacerbated by the additional threat posed by climate change. “At  Indalo Inclusive South Africa NPC we firmly believe that there can be no neutral position when it  comes to climate action. No one can stand on the sidelines or remain impassive before this issue, hence Indalo’s mandate to support green, inclusive, and responsible entrepreneurship. We also believe that the solution to these problems is to empower and support local youth entrepreneurial innovations,” said Rest Kanju, Director and Head of Operations of Indalo Inclusive, in the lead-up to the Conference of Parties (COP26).

The COP26 event will be hosted by the United Kingdom in Glasgow from 31 October to 12 November, bringing together leaders, negotiators, climate  experts, civil society, companies and people on the frontline of climate change to adopt harmonised action for tackling the global climate crisis. It will also be the first COP meeting to be held since the coronavirus pandemic began, and the largest gathering of world leaders ever hosted by the United Kingdom. 

Indalo Inclusive partnered with the British High Commission South Africa Country Office and the Mail & Guardian as official media partner to host a first of its kind, The South African Youth Climate Innovation Awards (SAYCIA). The awards programme aims to identify 26 innovative solutions brought forward by the youths of South Africa and will be focusing on the thematic areas of water, energy, agriculture, waste, and ecosystem restoration. 

The SAYCIA awards programme will be launched on 29 October 2021 and the call for applications will close  on 12 November. The awards programme will provide a platform to profile these 26 entrepreneurs and their innovations that provide solutions to the adoption of climate action within their communities and, ultimately, the broader South African population.  

The programme will also provide a platform for constructive dialogue among South African youths to raise their voices about the impact of climate change. “If we are to meet our climate  change objectives then we must ensure that all voices are heard; we cannot achieve  transformation without them,” said Kanju. 

Youth inclusivity is an integral element in progressively propelling our world towards a more  sustainable and greener way of life. The youth is at the forefront of these climate change  challenges; and therefore, carry the responsibility of finding solutions for the actions of past  generations. 

It is encouraging to see that the private sector and government departments are beginning to  prioritise youth entrepreneurship within their respective portfolios. For example, The Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment (DFFE) has Minister Barbara Creecy’s directed  project, Youth Driving Force for Change, and Indalo has been privileged to be its technical  partner in its inaugural year. This, plus many more increased efforts, could help generate the  needed momentum that could lead South Africa to effective reconstruction and recovery through  youth entrepreneurship. 

What is the UN Climate Change Conference or COP 26? 

Aside from the salient goal of capping global temperature increase to below 1.5 degrees, COP26 has several targets for countries to achieve: 

Secure global net zero by mid-century. Countries will need to accelerate the phasing out of coal, curtail deforestation, accelerate transition towards electric vehicles, and  encourage investment in renewables. 

Protect communities and natural habitats. This will require building resilient  infrastructure and agriculture and setting up efficient warning systems. 

Mobilise finance. Developed countries need to mobilise at least $100-billion in climate  finance per year by 2030.

International collaboration. Countries must work together to accelerate action to tackle  the climate crisis through collaboration between governments, businesses, and civil  society, as well as finalise the Paris Rulebook. 

The climate change conference follows the damning Intergovernmental Panel on  Climate Change (IPCC) report. The authors warn of a “code red for humanity”, thus the agreements made and pledged at COP 26 will be the world’s response. 

British High Commissioner to South Africa, Antony  Phillipson, said: “The UK sees a key role for younger generations in shaping and driving conversations around  the greater ambition we need to see from all countries, if we are to meet the Paris Commitments and limit global warming to 1.5 degrees to help secure a sustainable  future for them. They are also driving the innovation necessary to design and deliver our net zero future. The British High Commission has supported several youth programmes in South Africa, from Minister Creecy’s Youth Driving Force for Change and the work of SAIIA Youth on the youth climate action charter. I am delighted that, through Indalo, we are able to support this latest  initiative.”  

The partnership between BHC and Indalo seeks to build upon these already existing  efforts by various sectors of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in South Africa. Consequently, we  encourage youth between the ages of 18-35 across South Africa to join their voices, put forward the  potential enterprise solutions you may have and be a part of encouraging sustainable change and  ensure a green economy and sustainable society that leads global change by joining the  upcoming dialogue sessions and participating in the South African Youth Climate Innovation  Awards.  — Rest Kanju

About Indalo Inclusive South Africa NPC 

Indalo Inclusive South Africa is a not-for-profit company established with a mandate to support and  promote social, green, inclusive, and responsible entrepreneurship in South Africa. Indalo boasts a  portfolio of projects that are supported in grant funding by various entities including, The Government  of Flanders, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Development  Programme (UNDP), The European Union (EU), GIZ, Old Mutual Foundation and Nedbank.  

In addition, Indalo has contractual relationships with entities such as SANParks, iSimangaliso Wetland  Park and the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) that are focused on implementing  projects geared towards, among others, supporting land claimants’ communities living adjacent to protected and wildlife areas such as the Kruger National Park (KNP) through structured entrepreneurship support and dialogue among themselves as well as identifying and supporting entrepreneurs in the eco and inclusive sector.  

Indalo further hosts various global climate smart and green entrepreneurship programmes that include  SEED South Africa (inaugural hosts between 2017 – March 2021) the Climate Launchpad  (https://climatelaunchpad.org/) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO)’s Sustaining  Competitive and Responsible Enterprises (SCORE). www.indaloinclusive.org.za

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