The VYBZING Guyana 2014 Youth Forum ended today, May 23 in Georgetown with participants issuing a declaration of their commitment to address the challenges brought on by climate change.
The Declaration from the youths notes that, “as vulnerable Small Island Developing States (SIDS), it is imperative that we be involved in all aspects of deliberation, consultations, negotiations and policy making that address the importance of sustainable development to our future as Guyanese and Caribbean youths.
We recognise that we are faced with challenges such as a lack of adequate representation at all levels and vulnerability to flooding and other climate change related disasters, a lack of awareness in relation to youth related actions that are needed to adapt to and mitigate the actions of climate change, and lack of engagement with policy makers.”
In addressing the role of youth in fighting climate change, the 2014 Youth Forum participants committed to; “Practicing proper waste management which includes composting, reducing, recycling and where necessary reuse our waste in addition to energy and water conservation, keeping ourselves informed on current issues relating to climate change internationally and locally, sharing on knowledge to peers, family and the community at large.”
The youth Declaration calls on governments of the Region to; “Promote and incentivise the use of clean, green and sustainable technologies, translate existing policies into community based actions, facilitate behavioural change through the implementation of stronger educational and awareness based environmental activities, provide 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 came as a result of a special session on project management geared at helping the participants understand how to create and activate a project. The participants were privy to vital information on how to manage possible projects they may want to pursue, doing appraisals and fostering partnerships.
To bolster the participants’ interest, two members of the Choiseul Youth and Sports Council of St. Lucia made a presentation on their Road Safety Community-based Project launched following last year’s VYBZING St. Lucia Youth Forum.
The Youth Group was awarded a USD10,000 grant by Caribbean Development Bank in 2013 to execute community-based road safety project. The focus of the group was to complete a project close to members’ hearts and one which was needed within their communities. An accident that claimed the lives of 17 people played a huge factor in the youth’s eagerness to undertake the project as they felt they were haunted by several narrow roads and sharp bends.
Starting in July 2013, the Youth Group was able to erect road signs, and most importantly, much needed protective barriers in Sab Wisha, Tou Mac and Choiseul as part their project.
They didn’t stop there, there was also a Choiseul Youth and Sports Council Road Safety Awareness Programme which reached out to schools and the public to promote safer road use.
Jeny Gaillard, General Secretary and Kina Nicholas, Assistant Treasurer of the Council used the opportunity presented by VYBZING Guyana Youth Forum to enlighten their Guyanese counterparts about their challenges, advising them to consider pooling their resources, to remain focus, plan and strategise, and to collaborate to ensure a successful project.
VYBZING Guyana 2014 was an eye-opening and rewarding experience for many of the Guyanese youth.
Youth Officer in the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport, Omeshwar Sirikishun who travelled from Region 6, felt that the forum “created a quality impact” on his life.
Marlon Joseph of Region 3 said that he was able to grasp a better understanding of climate change during the three days. “I was inspired to examine myself and make adjustments, what stuck with me most is the end result of climate change, so we must ask ourselves when are we going to make a difference,” Joseph said.
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 explained.
VYBZING Guyana 2014 ended with a tour of the one of the Mangrove Restoration Project sites along the Coast.
Credit: Caribbean Development Bank