by Chinwe Oluwatoyin Adindu
This is a guest feature by Chinwe Oluwatoyin Adindu, a young negotiator from the Climate Youth Negotiators Programme under the Youth Negotiators Academy.
Chinwe (left) with colleagues at the SB58 Plenary session in Bonn, 2023
How do you explain trying to catch up defending environmental injustice in a world where time and tide waits for no man? I have enjoyed the opportunity of pioneering as Nigeria’s climate youth negotiator, building on the principle of ensuring no one is left behind. I am currently a Senior Scientific Officer with the National Council on Climate Change (NCCC), having garnered well over 6 years’ experience on Environment, Climate Change, Carbon Finance and Forestry issues under the Federal Ministry of Environment.
As a youth negotiator in training, I play a meaningful role in Nigeria’s party delegation with a negotiation mandate in climate finance issues. We all acknowledge that the primary negotiation style is quite competitive, especially viewing it from a developing country party perspective. From my musing, it felt like they were the trees in the famous Turkish proverb, that says, “The forest was shrinking, but the trees kept voting for the axe; for the axe was clever and convinced the trees that because his handle was made of wood, he was one of them”. Therefore, in a bid to ensure that as developing country parties, we don’t act against our own interest, and work towards building trust for future generations, my role as a youth negotiator becomes imperative.
How I started getting involved in climate policy
Driven by an intrinsic motivation and vision to deal with drivers of environmental degradation, I obtained a first degree in Animal and Environmental Biology from the University of Port Harcourt, and a Masters degree in Carbon Finance, now known as Climate Change, Finance and Investment from the University of Edinburgh,Scotland. However, my ambitious involvement in climate policy was made possible through a Presidential award, 8 years ago, that granted me automatic employment into the Federal Civil Service of Nigeria for community development and empowerment of 20 youths and women at the time in Taraba State, Nigeria.
My experience as a Young Negotiator so far
It is such a delight to be a young negotiator at a time where youth inclusiveness is being delivered as a pilot project. I would like to express my gratitude to the Director General, National Council on Climate Change and the ACE Focal Point, Mrs Sa’adatu Gambo Madaki, for trusting in my ability to lead in youth negotiating capacity and nominating me for this seasoned training. My first attendance at COP as a Country delegate and youth negotiator was both strategic and overwhelming. COP27 at Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt was the beginning of a learning curve that brought to bear the complexities of ideas, the trials of emotions, the integrity of multi-tasking and ability to stay resilient. Interestingly, being a part of the Climate Youth Negotiators Programme (CYNP) team made engagement easy, as logistic issues were not among the challenges and integrating fun activities such as dinner nights and meeting with the Elders were some of the highlights.
My first entry into a negotiation room on the Standing Committee on Finance left me with the burning hunger to read up and understand. I felt lost in the discussions yet developed a mastery of the art of listening. However, my attendance at SB58 in Bonn, Germany in June 2023 was much better than this initial experience as I had better preparation through discussions with senior in-country negotiators, extensive reading of documents on the thematic area, and attendance at the plenary opening session. After SB58, I was able to provide a comprehensive report to the UNFCCC Focal Point for Nigeria.
My expectations for COP28
I look forward to the modalities and agreements on the Loss and Damage Fund, the agreements related to the New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG), and , most importantly, an agreed methodology for the Global Stocktake on climate action. I am also hopeful of being able to contribute to regional coordination and contact group meetings as a means to further build my capacity and that of the Nigerian delegation team.To this end, I would like to thank the CYNP team for such a great initiative which seeks to empower young people to occupy seats at the negotiating table to ensure intergenerational solutions.
ABOUT THE YOUTH NEGOTIATORS ACADEMY
YNA is the umbrella initiative under which the Climate Youth Negotiators Programme is being delivered as its first major programme. The YNA is a global, intergenerational initiative aimed at redressing the systemic under-representation of young people in decision making by empowering and enabling young people to become climate change negotiators for their countries. See here for more information.