Youths Commit to Action on Climate Change

More than 70 young people from Guyana and St. Lucia will be calling on their governments to recognise that their countries are already facing a changing climate, and ask that counter measures be taken while raising awareness about the conversation and management of energy and water.

The young people met in Guyana on May 21-23, 2014 for the Caribbean Development Bank’s 2014 VYBZING Guyana Youth Forum held under the theme, ‘Youth Voices for Climate Change.’

During the Forum participants engaged in exercises aimed at increasing their knowledge of the impact of climate change on the small island developing states of the Caribbean and its mainland territories. They also learnt about measures being adopted regionally to address climate change, as well as negotiations taking place at the level of the United Nations, under the Framework Convention on Climate Change. The importance of engaging in adaptation measures at the community level and how youths can be the driving force in their communities were also focal points. In addition, participants engaged in exercises designed to improve their ability to manage projects, to enable them to successfully implement projects in their communities.

The three-day forum held at Grand Coastal Hotel in Georgetown, just meters away from the Atlantic Ocean, saw  the youth participants; some of them from Guyana’s vast hinterland, preparing a declaration calling on their Governments to “facilitate behavioral change through the implementation of stronger educational and awareness based environmental activities.” A call was also made for the provision of “resources to vulnerable communities with minority groups, particularly those in urban communities, people with disabilities and Hinterland youth to encourage innovation and creativity in adapting to climate change.”

The Declaration titled, ‘Empowering Youth to take Action on Climate Change,’ also committed participants to; practicing proper waste management which includes composting, reducing, recycling and reusing, as well as energy and water conservation. The youth also pledged to keep themselves informed of local and international climate change issues, and to share knowledge with peers, family and the community at large.

At the Forum’s official opening on Wednesday, May 21, Yvette Lemonias Seale, CDB’s Vice-President (Corporate Services) and Bank Secretary, pledged the Bank’s commitment to supporting young people through the provision of funding for community-based Climate Change projects that are “youth led and youth developed.”

As part of this, Guyana’s youth have been encouraged to develop and submit to CDB a proposal to address a climate change issue in their community. The Bank will award a USD10,000 grant for the design and implementation of the project. It will also provide a team to work with the youths on the project’s development.

Onika A. Stellingburg of the Caribbean Youth Environment Network praised the Forum. “It allowed us, young people to meet and present ideas that will lead to adaptive measures being implemented by our communities” she said.

A delegation from the VYBZING Guyana Youth Forum officially presented the Youth Declaration on Climate Change during the Closing Ceremony of the 44th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of CDB on May 29, 2014.

Forum Presentations