Sat | Oct 21, 2017

Youth to get voice in climate change debate

Published:Thursday | September 17, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Participants at the inaugural Youth Climate Change Conference in 2014.

An expected 1,000 dynamic youth from high schools, tertiary institutions, and community groups across the island are expected to converge at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston on Septem-ber 25 for the second Youth Climate Change Conference (YCCC).

The first YCCC conference, held last year, gave a clear indication of the potential of young people to lead the charge for climate change resilience building and adaptation.

The YCCC, conceptualised by the USAID-funded Jamaica Rural Economy and Ecosystems Adapting to Climate Change (Ja REEACH) project, with overwhelming support from the Ministry of Water, Land, Envi-ronment and Climate Change; the Ministry of Youth and Culture; the Ministry of Edu-cation; and the corporate community saw more than 800 youth participate in the climate-change dialogue.

The conference embraced a whole new dimension of climate-change awareness through various activities, including a riveting debate section, which saw Munro College, Westwood High School, Charlemont High School, and Bustamante High School go head-to-head as they argued the use of water among key socioeconomic sectors.

The intellectual volley concluded, with Munro College emerging as the victor as they successfully defended their position for the adequate supply and use of water for the health sector.

The conference further facilitated the creative expression of climate-change issues and impacts through both visual and performing arts.

As the coordinators of the YCCC get ready to extend the success of last year's feat, the foundation has been established to incorporate the voice of the island's youth at the highest level.

The anchor activity of this year's event is a United Nations-styled Conference of Parties, which will see high schools form negotiating teams and make submissions to be drafted into a first-of-its-kind Climate Change Action Framework for schools in Jamaica, which will be incorporated into the national climate change framework policy.

awareness & adaptation

The outcome of the 2015 YCCC will afford young people the opportunity to be involved at the pinnacle of national decision making. The continued implementation of youth-focused initiatives aimed at improving awareness and adaptation to climate change will enable the next generation to create formidable responses to safeguard the quality of life for all.

The Ja REEACH project is a three-year initiative funded by the USAID and implemented by ACDI/VOCA.

Through a range of interventions, Ja REEACH works with the Government, civil society, and farmers to increase awareness and application of practical actions that help Jamaicans to become more resilient to the impacts of climate change.