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EJS Center / News / Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Voices Support for Youth Activists Calling for Climate Justice

Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Voices Support for Youth Activists Calling for Climate Justice

Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has emphasized the critical role that young women play in advocating for climate justice across the African continent. 

At the forefront of the movement calling for action against climate change are women like Nisreen Elsaim, a Sudanese youth activist who is also Chair of the UN Secretary-General’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change. Using her platform, Ms. Elsaim advocates for a more comprehensive approach to combating climate change that takes socio-economic concerns, gender, nationality, and age into account. 

A recent instalment of The Elders’ Intergenerational Climate Blog Series 2021 features an introduction written by Madam Sirleaf, in which she commends Ms. Elsaim’s activism and calls on more leaders to listen to young people:

“Nisreen Elsaim makes a valuable point in calling for climate action and system change that meaningfully involves youth. Young people from every community have the right to be taken seriously, especially on issues that profoundly affect their future and the planet they are inheriting from previous generations.”

Touching on the importance of climate justice for young African women in particular, Ms. Elsaim explained: 

“[Climate justice] means we will feel safe within our communities, without the risk of always anticipating a conflict occurring over scarce natural resources, that can force us to migrate from our own homes to another area. It means we will have equal access to services like education and healthcare, [and] we will have hospitals to deliver our kids in healthy environments.” 

In conclusion, Ms. Elsaim urged today’s leaders to take young people’s innovative ideas seriously, empowering them to build a more just, sustainable, and climate-conscious future:

“We need to be treated honestly…We need to develop ourselves, build our capacity, find green jobs that will fulfil the needs of our economy, and be financed to implement our ideas and solutions.”

Read the blog here.