The climate change symposium was held on the 28th July, 2023. It was hosted at the University of Zambia – UNZA in the MJ Kelly lecturer theater. The climate change symposium was organized by the CEJ Youth Programs Manager, Ms. Dalitso Mvula in partnership with the Environmental Education and Management Student Association – EEMSA.
The symposium started at 14:00hrs with a prayer and the national anthem, followed by welcoming remarks from CEJ Head of Programs, Mr. Haggai Nyambe who was standing in for CEJ Executive Director Ms. Maggie Mapalo Mwape. The Head of Programs Mr. Nyambe gave a brief introduction about Center for Environment Justice and their interest in working with the youth. He highlighted opportunities that youths could find in being part of the Youth Environmental Defenders – YED team. He also talked about how youths do volunteer and find opportunities during the Environmental Protection Dialogue – EPD.
The first speaker Mr. Mehluli Malisa Batakathi is an Advocate of the Superior Courts in Zambia, currently a partner at a multi-disciplinary law firm based in Lusaka. He is also the Co-founder of Conservation Advocates Zambia, a not-for-profit organization that seeks to use the law as a tool for environmental conservation and climate justice. Mr. Mehluli dived into the role of the law in environmental protection and how the youths can participate in environmental protection through the law. He highly emphasized on youths reading and understanding the laws of Zambia around environmental management and protection.
The second speaker Mr. Simpilo Syabwanta, a climate change educator, activist, young champion and youth negotiator at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – UNFCCC. He spoke about international youth opportunities and his personal experiences attending the Conference of the Parties – COP 27. He encouraged the youths to apply for international opportunities and offered himself for guidance if anyone needed help.
The third speaker Ms. Angela Kolala, a student from UNZA Ridgway Campus. She is currently serving as the Public health student association president and the deputy speaker of the student representative council. She is an enthusiastic climate change advocate and for this reason, she serves as the climate change ambassador for planetary health alliance. Ms. Kolala addressed the issues of climate change in relation to health. Ms. Kolala emphasized on the role of young people keeping their environment clean and enhancing the beauty of our environment.
The fourth speaker Mr. Mathious Kapusa, Projects Coordinator for the Environmental Education Association, came in to explain about the role of the association in the school. He further highlighted the ‘UNZA Keep clean campaign’ that is held every Friday and he encouraged his fellow students to participate.
Finally, the last speaker Ms. Mvula, CEJ Youth Programs Manager, addressed the issues of scoring opportunities in the climate space as a youth. She talked about the importance of personal branding and volunteerism in the environmental space and its benefit. She also highlighted that she was an alumni of the association in her school days and she emphasized on the importance of active participation in school activities.
Thereafter, was a question-and-answer session where Ms. Jennifer Mwanangombe, CEJ Research Assistant, addressed the question in relation to the Environmental Protection Dialogue – EPD and how youth can benefit from the event.
The association president officially closed the climate change symposium with some closing remarks and a vote of thanks to the Youth Programs Manager and the Centre for Environment Justice team.