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Earth Today | Young Jamaican to speak at UN forum

Published:Thursday | April 8, 2021 | 12:19 AM
Jhannel Tomlinson
Jhannel Tomlinson

Jhannel Tomlinson, co-founder of Young People for Action on Climate Change, will join other youth speakers from the Caribbean at this year’s United Nations (UN) Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum.

The forum, which has as its focus at the Caribbean session this year ‘Sustainable and Resilient Recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic’, is convened annually by the president of UN ECOSOC and is co-organised by several UN agencies that focus on youth.

It provides a global platform for candid dialogue among UN member states and young leaders from around the world to deliberate on solutions to challenges affecting youth well-being. It also serves, among other things, to provide youth perspectives on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Other regional participants at this year’s event come from Barbados, Belize, the Dominican Republic, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.

“The ECOSOC Youth Forum will be held virtually and aims to identify critical challenges, solutions and opportunities for youth in a context of COVID-19. The Caribbean session, guided by the speakers, will contribute to this aim by making contributions from the region’s unique perspective,” said a release from the Caribbean Regional Youth Council, a collective voice of national youth councils and a strategic youth governance and advocacy movement working towards regional representation, integration, and co-operation as a platform for youth development.

“Ms Tomlinson, along with the other youth leaders who will attend the forum, will elaborate on a set of recommendations for UN member states. This gives the youth an opportunity to positively influence the policies that will be implemented at the UN level and in countries such as Jamaica. In fact, by having Ms Tomlinson present in the forum, Jamaican youth will be well represented in this policy-making process,” it added.


Tomlinson, a PhD candidate doing research on community-based adaptations to climate change, has long been a voice for youth in the climate-change arena. At today’s forum, she is to give a youth perspective on the environmental issues that affect the Caribbean.

For her part, Tomlinson said this year’s forum is critical given prevailing climate-change realities.

“Young people are being called to serve as stewards of the environment, agents of change and fighters for young peoples’ individual and collective futures,” she said.

“Climate-change advocacy is necessary at the highest levels, and youth owe it to themselves and the future generation,” added Tomlinson, who serves as a member of the Caribbean Youth Environmental Network, Jamaica Chapter;and as adviser to the Next Generation Climate Board.