Chibeze Ezekiel is the Founder and Executive Coordinator of the Strategic Youth Network for Development (SYND), a youth-oriented NGO that promotes youth inclusion in the governance of our Natural Resources and Environmental sector. He is a strong advocate on Climate Change and Renewable Energy. He is a certified Youth Master Trainer on Climate Change, National SDGs Champion, Climate Reality Leader and serves on the Board of 350.org. He recently got appointed as Panel Member of International Experts on the Environment of Peace 2022 (EP 2022) project.
He chairs the Youth in Natural Resources and Environmental Governance (Youth-NREG) Platform; a platform that provides space for knowledge learning and sharing among young people working on different environmental actions as well as creating opportunity for joint advocacy in a concerted manner.
His first introduction to the concept of climate change was in 2009 through a joint training programme by the World Bank Institute and British Council after which he and his fellow participants were certified as Youth Master Trainers on Climate Change. This training created the desire to reach out and sensitize other young people and rural communities on climate coping or adaptation strategies. In 2013, he again had another opportunity to participate in the Global Power Shift conference under the auspices of 350.org in Istanbul, Turkey where about 500 young people from different parts of the world converged for capacity building on climate actions. He was among seven (7) young Ghanaians who participated in the conference. Upon returning to Ghana, they formed 350 Ghana Reducing our Carbon (GROC), a movement made up of individuals and organisations formed with the aim of mobilizing and empowering young people to actively champion the need to reduce our carbon emissions and promote renewable energy system as a key effort in combating climate change.
GROC’s flagship campaign was in 2015 when the government of Ghana announced plans to establish a 700MW super-critical coal plant as measure to deal with the energy crises that was confronting the nation at that time. This triggered an intensive advocacy campaign employing a number of strategies such as leveraging on the people’s power, critiquing policy incoherence, building allies (at the national, regional and global levels), media engagement and non-violence actions, which eventually led to a halting of the intended plan. While the group was campaigning against the coal plant establishment, it was simultaneously promoting renewables as better alternatives. The group continues to promote renewables and currently engaging a few district assemblies to mainstream renewables into their respective Medium Term Development Plans (MTDPs).
“The Goldman Environmental Prize award came as a very big surprise! It has stirred up a stronger desire to keep supporting efforts towards attaining the goal of environmental sustainability” according to Chibeze. Already at SYND, they have established the Youth in Renewable Energy Movement campaign with the aim of increasing advocacy on the development and utilization of renewables as well as strengthening their youth platform (Youth-NREG) as the youth voice positively influencing Renewable Energy policy, legislation or regulations and programming in Ghana. In 2019, SYND commenced an initiative dubbed, Children for Climate Action (C4C) campaign, which seeks to increase climate change awareness among children, provide opportunity for them to make their voices heard and empower them as change agents in the fight against climate change in their homes, communities and among peers. More than 200 children have been engaged so far through this initiative.
Through the support of the French Embassy in Ghana, they are building the capacity of young people on Ghana’s National Adaptation Plan (NAP) development and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) review and implementation processes. The project also includes the development of a Youth Strategy on Climate Actions, a framework to determine how young people want to be engaged on climate change interventions at all levels in Ghana.
His ultimate aim is to mobilize an army of young people and build their capacity as Green Champions or Climate Activists with a commitment to protecting the environment and safeguarding the integrity of nature. The future belongs to young people thus the need for them to secure their future.
In Action (Video)
Chibeze Ezekiel is the recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize 2020 for his courage in leading a grassroots movement to vigorously campaign against the government of Ghana’s intention to build a coal-plant, while promoting renewables as better alternatives.
In Ghana, the Strategic Youth Network for Development (SYND) and 350 Ghana Reducing Our Carbon (GROC) are actively mobilizing young people to hold the government accountable through the Youth in Renewable Energy Movement, Youth in Climate Action and Children for Climate Action (C4C) initiatives.
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