Caribbean and Japanese Youth Confront Climate Issues

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Some of the Japanese and Caribbean youth who have offered governments recommendations to make the region climate-smart.

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Monday October 30, 2017 – More than 600 Caribbean and Japanese youth have put forward their recommendations for climate-smart actions for the region following intense dialogue earlier this month at the third Youth Climate Change Conference in Jamaica.

The recommendations out of the two-day event themed ‘Our Climate, Our Voice, Our Change – Advancing Partnerships for Global Impact, which have been collated into a youth statement, addressed research, capacity building, youth activism, policy and legal/regulatory framework needs. Those include: incentivizing programmes to promote youth interest and involvement, particularly through educational opportunities; youth involvement in ongoing respective country research as required by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); active participation of youth in policy decision making, establishment of youth arm in ministries with specific responsibility for climate change, developing a social audit toolkit to assess the social and ethical performance of initiatives in tackling climate change; advocating that infrastructure and building codes mandate the use of sustainable and renewable sources of energy, such as the use of solar power, wind power, and geothermal power, with tax exemptions for those who comply, and mandatory fines for those that do not comply, by 2020.

“It is conferences like this one that equip young people with the facts they need to champion the cause of combating climate change,” said Shanielle Allen, a member of the Jamaica delegation, in her reflection of the proceedings.

“After both days, I left empowered and inspired to be a part of the change the world needs to see. I believe I speak on behalf of all youth delegates when I say it was a fulfilling experience and we are now ready to vehemently put forth our proposals to our governments and Heads of State.”

Shanika John of the St Vincent and the Grenadines delegation expressed similar sentiments. She noted that the next step is for each delegation to convey information to relevant stakeholders and authorities.

John said she now has a greater understanding of regional negotiations but maintained that there’s a need for consistency and determination so that results are realized.

The conference was a joint initiative between the USAID-funded Jamaica Rural Economy and Ecosystems Adapting to Climate Change II (Ja REEACH II) Project, the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Japan-Caribbean Climate Change Partnership (J-CCCP) Project and the Government of Jamaica.

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