20 July 2023
By Charmaine Maenzanise-ZELA Youth Network
Young people today are the leaders of tomorrow, hence the need to engage them in Corporate accountability, climate justice, and extractive sector issues because they are the beneficiaries.
Supported by the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA), young people managed to give their insights on the importance of climate justice, corporate accountability, and extractive industries, amongst other environmental issues, during a two-day workshop in Mutare.
ZELA’s Legal Expert Josephine Chiname said young people need to understand the difference between corporate social responsibility and corporate accountability so that they may be able to hold responsible authorities accountable when necessary.
In her presentation, Chiname also elaborated on the background of the binding treaty, which entails the traditional framing of human rights, globalization, and an increase in corporate power, as well as the inadequacy of the current system in creating direct obligations.
Young people have historically led the charge against environmental injustice in campaigns such as My Planet, My Rights. Therefore, there is a need to work with young people to mobilize on issues of climate justice and corporate accountability.
Hillary Mugota also shared on climate change concepts, which include loss and damage, litigation, climate resilience, and climate finance, amongst other concepts, to help youths have an appreciation of what they are advocating for.
She said, “Children and young people are the most vulnerable to climate change. Therefore, there is a great need for them to be well represented in development discussions to help bridge the gap and come up with effective policies that respond to their needs.”
Clarity Sibanda also shared how youth can utilize different online and offline platforms to advocate for climate justice and corporate accountability. In her presentation, Sibanda said young people are technologists, and they should make use of available resources such as social media platforms as accountability tools to connect with responsible authorities by tagging them on their posts with clear messages of what they are calling for.
She said young people can mobilize each other on platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter to interact and come up with long-term possible solutions that impact the world in a positive way.
During the workshop, young people got the chance to deliberate on ideas that can help push for corporate accountability at the local, regional, and international levels.
Youths said these ideas, if implemented, will promote equity, encourage duty bearers to act, and companies to respond to the needs of host communities, ensuring that future generations can live, learn, play, and work in healthy and clean environments.