Young Fair Trade Advocate joins “Africa-Europe week” event

European leaders and African Union Member States met in Brussels for the 6th European Union – African Union summit on 17 and 18 February 2022.

In the run-up to the summit, the 1st edition of the Africa-Europe week brought together young people, civil society organizations and the private sector from Africa and Europe to discuss the aspects of the Africa-EU Partnership that matter to them the most.

Under this framework, on the 14th February the European Commission hosted an event called “Next Generation of Farmers leading against climate change” organised by Fairtrade Africa (FTA) based in Kenya in partnership with Fairtrade International (FI) and the Fair Trade Advocacy Office.

The goal of the session was to increase participants’ knowledge and abilities in changing and developing climate resilient food systems. Through an interactive panel discussion with intergenerational climate experts, it highlighted climate-smart farming and household initiatives in Africa. It also discussed a variety of topics, including the role of youth in climate change mitigation, meaningful youth engagement in agriculture value chains, and their contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals.

Speakers included the “Young Fair Trade Advocate” (YFTA) Ombeline Le Bret (Belgium)  , Nyagoy Nyong’o (Global CEO Fairtrade International), Tito Arunga (Head of Inclusive Value Chains, FAO), Richard Boamah Addai (Young farmer and member of Kuapa Kokoo Farmers Union, Ghana), Millicent Opetu (Flower producer, Eco Roses) and Leonard Mizzi (DG INTPA, European Commission).

Ombeline made several key arguments during the debate stressing the importance of including the European and African Youth in advocacy work and political decision-making. She explained  the Young Fair Trade Advocates work on local actions to promote awareness and campaign for fair trade in their respective countries. When asked what message she would send to politicians, she emphasized the importance of delivering sufficient financial support to young farmers in Europe and Africa in sustainable agriculture on the one hand, and the need for businesses to talk about climate change ownership rather than putting all of the burden on farmers on the other.

“It was a good opportunity taking part to this debate and amplifying youth voices”, stated Ombeline. She would have wished more time for the discussion with other speakers.

Link for the recording of the event: