Stories of COP28 youth- Patricia Odeibea Bekoe

Are you a climate activist who’s heard about COP28 and are curious about what it’s all about and the youth behind the negotiations? Here’s a spotlight on the youth of COP28, starting with Patricia Bekoe (she/her) from Ghana. Her passion for environmental sustainability and climate justice advocacy started 10 years ago while in school and has made her a wonderful contributor to Ghana’s campaigns and events.

Her social media accounts:

LinkedIn Facebook Instagram @patricia.bekoe Twitter @patriciabekoe Tik Tok @miss_noble1

She holds leadership roles in both the nonprofit sector and the business world, such as being the founder and the executive director for Odeibea Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advocating at the intersection of climate justice, reproductive health, and women’s empowerment. She is also a leader with 350 Ghana Reducing our Carbon (G-ROC), and part of networks such as Africa Coal Network, Africa Climate Movement of Movements, Coalition of Air Management, African Feminist Task Force Platform, Global Grassroots Climate Leaders Network, Women in Climate Action Network, Renew Watts Technologies, and Don’t Gas Africa Platform.

Her foundation social media: Facebook Instagram @odeibeafoundation Twitter @odeifoundation Tik Tok

She enrolled as a youth negotiator through the youth climate council Ghana’s youth governance and diplomacy program and underwent a 4 days intensive training on climate negotiations. She got her badge from the Government through YCC Ghana, and her trip to COP28 was funded by Africa coal network, an NGO based in South Africa.

Her motivation for being present at the conference stemmed from her dedication as a climate, women, health, and renewable energy advocate. She made a difference by ensuring that negotiations addressed the intersectionality of climate issues, gender equity, public health, and sustainable energy. Her presence was important to bring a youth perspective and advocate for holistic solutions at the grassroots level.

In her words

“These interconnected issues require comprehensive approaches and hence her involvement in the capacity building and gender negotiations at COP28 aimed to influence policies that promote sustainability, inclusivity, and resilience.”

Patricia’s key priorities at COP28 were pushing for gender-responsive climate action, prioritization of public health, and promoting renewable energy solutions by actively looking for financial partnerships for Renew Watts product commercialization and the Odeibea Foundation’s Eco Fish project and Blossom initiative.

When asked about what was celebratory at the conference, she said

“The pledges made by parties into the loss and damage fund as well as tripling of renewable energy sources is a positive thing to celebrate. This means that vulnerable countries will now be able to have access to funding in mitigating and adapting to their climate impacts. The tripling of renewable energy will put women-led initiatives in the renewable energy industry like that of the solar lamp from Renew Watt’s technologies in the limelight and help make its way into not just the African markets but internationally.”

At COP28, there was a notable concern regarding the gradual commitment to phasing out fossil fuels, as simply tripling renewables does not address the root problem of carbon emissions. The emphasis on building renewable plants rather than compelling companies to transition their energy sources could potentially limit the actual impact. Additionally, the absence of binding policies to ensure countries meet their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) is a significant issue, hindering the collective effort to combat climate change.

COP28 concluded without a clear strategic plan or implementation framework for distributing the loss and damage fund, which is further exacerbated by the fund’s inadequacy to fully address the incurred losses. Major polluters contributed disproportionately less to the loss and damage fund, raising questions about the fairness and effectiveness of the financial mechanisms in place to address climate-related impacts. This underscores the need for more robust and equitable strategies to tackle both mitigation and adaptation challenges on a global scale.

When asked about inclusivity, she explained

“I acknowledge the importance of inclusivity at COP28 and appreciates any strides made towards ensuring diverse voices including those of youth and marginalized groups in the negotiations and I wish to replicate such methods to enhance inclusivity at the grassroots mobilization work that I do with Renew Watts, 350 Ghana and Odeibea Foundation recognizing its significance in addressing global climate challenges comprehensively.”

COP28 was a rich tapestry of negotiations, learnings and collaborative efforts. Patricia’s engagement in SBI17 and SBI18 tracks provided valuable insights into the complexities of capacity building and gender considerations within the global climate discourse. Despite witnessing a slow commitment to phasing out fossil fuels and a lack of binding policies, the draft capacity building text is looking at building capacity at the grassroots levels and as she reflects on this experience, it is hoped that the knowledge gained will contribute to her continued impactful participation in the future climate negotiations.

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