Chief Executive Officer of the National Youth Authority (NYA), Nelson Owusu Ansah is optimistic that the revised 2010 National Youth Policy will help tackle the issue of climate change.
According to Mr Owusu Ansah, major stakeholders that will help to integrate the policy into actual programs and projects have been identified, as the authority seeks to ensure that opinions of the youth reflect in the government’s decision.
“In the revised 2010 National Youth Policy, a very strong thematic area that will address the issue of environment and climate issues will be a major issue of concern in the policy,” he said.
He made the submission at a ‘Youth in Renewable Energy’ workshop on the theme, “Promoting youth in renewable energy businesses: A catalyst to attaining Ghana’s climate ambitions” organized by Strategic Youth Network for Development.
He advised that “young entrepreneurs need to contextualize the issue of green business within the challenges of unemployment [because] that is very crucial.”
However, Mr Owusu Ansah admitted that providing the youth with job opportunities will help improve the discussion on climate change since the focus for the unemployed youth is employment and not how to save the environment.
“To a large extent, to succeed in the effort of ensuring that young people really understand the language and [are] ready to support it, we need to think about sustaining such efforts such as finding them livelihoods.
“The young people we come across on a daily basis do not really care about what they eat and buy. All they are interested in [is] getting their bread and butter. For them, if you’re talking about ‘green economy’, telling them that the shirt you’re wearing is a recycled shirt, they don’t care. That is not the language that you must speak to a hungry young person,” he explained.
For him, the lack of financial resources empowers many to go for the conventional form of energy and not the renewable form of energy that comes at a higher cost.
The workshop, organized by SYND hosted a group of young entrepreneurs in the green economy and stakeholders to deliberate on the procedures in advancing green jobs in the country.
In attendance at the workshop were representatives from the Ghana Revenue Authority, World Bank, Energy Commission, green entrepreneurs and other youth-led organizations.
Executive Director of Strategic Youth Network for Development, Chibeze Ezekiel, spoke about how policies have been drafted to empower the youth in the area of climate change, biodiversity, water and sanitation and energy.
He also used the platform to entreat entrepreneurs to take advantage of the tax incentives for young entrepreneurs by government to survey the many opportunities in the green economy.